Should have…

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to stand in for someone to do Sunday school. It came as a last minute request which didn’t leave me with any time to do planning. So, I decided to ‘wing it’ and took along my old standby for filling in the time…playdough. For some reason it is a great favorite with my sunday school class and can keep them happily occupied for a long time.

An idea for a lesson only came to me during worship…we sang a song about giving our burdens to Jesus because he cares for us. So I crammed a bunch of two-liters in a shopping bag and the children carried these burdens for some distance before giving it over to Jesus. We discussed the feeling of relief that came when we no longer had to carry that heavy weight ourselves, and had a great time of sharing about those things that can weigh our hearts down.

Anyhow, I digress. The playdough was a birthday gift to Jenna only a week before, so when a little girl came up to me at clean-up time asking to take some home I said no. Jenna probably wouldn’t have missed it but if I had said yes to the one piece of playdough I would have had to dole some out to everyone.

Anyhow, I was a bit taken aback to see the little girl roll the playdough up into a ball, stick it under the table, and proceed to innocently clean up until everything was packed away. When clean-up was over she retrieved the ball of playdough and marched out the door with it, thinking I hadn’t seen a thing. I regret what I did next….which was absolutely nothing. I let that little girl walk away scot free.

Why I did that, I don’t know. Everything in me was screaming to run after her and call her bluff. Her family hung around for quite a while chatting with other people after church. I was deeply  offended by the wrongness of what she had done yet the issue had taken on a new dimension…to go and confront her after all that time in front of her family might have been interpreted as having racial undertones …by then the playdough seemed a small issue and I felt that people might think I am blowing things out of proportion.

I stewed on this for quite a while afterwards. I finally decided that it was a great lesson for me. Confronting the sin straight away would have helped me and the girl. It would have released me from the sense of offense and resentment at being taken advantage of, and it would have freed her from the guilt of getting away with something she knew was wrong. It would have been a redemptive thing…for us both. I did nobody any favors by trying to avoid a scene.

I am reminded by the passage in II Cor. 7 where Paul talks about how sorry the Corinthians were after they had read his first epistle. Although it had made him sad to sadden them he rejoiced over the fruit that came out of the whole thing. He mentioned that because they had a godly sorrow over their sins, it worked such great things in their hearts:

what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation , yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Has it ever happened to you that you felt constrained to speak out against unrighteousness but you decided not to rock the boat? Sometimes rocking the boat can be a good thing. As always, I suppose we need to check our motives. If we can’t speak the truth ‘in love’ and out of a heart that desires only the best for somebody else, it is perhaps better to say nothing. It is only when mercy and truth can meet together in your confrontation, that righteousness and peace gets the opportunity to flow into the situation.

Psa 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

I should have spoken up. I robbed myself and the girl of the opportunity to see how the forgiveness and mercy of God can change something ugly into a blessing.


5 responses to “Should have…

  1. There have been several instances in the last year that I haven’t said anything…….not wanting to rock the boat.

    I am NOT a confronter.

  2. I understand what you mean about confrontation. I’d like to think that I’d stop her from leaving w/the play do but from where I am that is easy to say.

    That is a great object lesson.

    Now that girl need a lesson in disobedience, stealing, and manipulation.

  3. I am not a confronter either. I really don’t think that I could have stopped her.

    It is a great lesson learned though.

    Just know that God is watching and he knows what she did and she knows what she did.
    As my Grandmother used to say: It’ll all come out in the wash.

  4. i watched my granddaughter the other day and she stole one of Noah’s toys, I then had to tell her mom that we would like it back and of course i sugar coated it to make it less intense.

    For me I think the issue sometimes is I just don’t know where that person stands in the Lord and how well they will take being corrected. If they aren’t where I am in my faith walk then lots of hurt feelings can happen and I think that would be as bad if not worse.

    I also feel the need to keep things into some perspective, will either of these girls stop taking things/ probably not they will just get better at it. But if we say something and it is twisted around, then we are at risk of being hurt.

    Many times, things I’ve said have been twisted to suit the other person and I’m tired of it. I agree with Bobbie, let God deal with it, unless you feel that God wants you to deal with it.

  5. I am not a confronter either, but I am getting more confrontational especially with children. I probably would have said something like, “Oh, dear, I think that you walked out with a little bit of playdoh that didn’t get put away. I am really going to need to put it away.” That way you don’t have to absolutely confront her stealing, but she knows that you know.

    It is a tough situation. I want the kids to like me and confronting them with their wrongs does not help that any. ((hugs))

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