I made myself a tuna fish sandwich and added some chips on the side.
Before I sat down to officially enjoy my lunch in the quiet of the day (that is, when all the babes are napping), I snatched a chip and chomped it down. You know what occurred to me in that moment.
I had not yet prayed for my food, but that isn’t why I was thinking about shame.
I was thinking about the fact that If one of my children had taken a bite of their food before we prayed, I would have given them a stern look and said in sharp tone, “Do not eat that – we pray before we eat.”
Aside from my obvious hypocrisy, my main concern was about how many times I have made my children feel shame for sneaking in a quick bite before we prayed.
I mean, it’s not like eating a chip before you pray breaks some special thankfulness bond with God. He is not somehow less pleased with us if we do not save every bite for after prayer.*
So now I’m wondering if they will sense shame from God because I partnered my rebukes with sharp looks and a harsh tone. And if I have made them feel shame about food and prayer, what other areas have I made them feel shamed.
Man, it is so darn easy to shame others, even when we have the best of intentions. I do not want to ever shame my children (teach and train – yes, shame – no!), or anyone else for that matter.
Shame is an arrow from the enemy. Sometimes we don’t even realize that in our zeal for truth and obedience we have given him the bow from which to shoot the arrow. I seem to have a tight grip on that bow sometimes. How about you?
Are you holding a bow today?
Maybe not towards your children, but how about your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? How about towards a co-worker, or a neighbor, or an in-law? How about towards your husband?
I encourage you, lay that bow at the feet of Jesus. He will work in the heart of His saints. Our role, as brothers and sisters in Christ, is to encourage, build up, and share the truth in love.
Lay it down, friend. The enemy will not only use that arrow to shoot others, he will take his aim directly at you.
*I will continue to encourage my kiddos to pray before we eat, but not because we have to engage is a robotic act of worship, but rather because of the praise in our hearts and the overflow of sincere thanks we have for one another and our food…and it’s a great way to encourage patience!