Whenever a blog topic begins rolling around in my mind, I can usually count on being attacked and failing royally either right before or right after I post the article. But that’s okay. This blog is primarily a lecture to myself, and it’s good to have documented on it what I know to be true even when I fail and must repent.
Today’s post on the Troll who torments my children was inspired by a friend’s recent status update on facebook.
“I really don’t like the unfriendly, unbending troll who takes my children to school each morning. I’ve fired her several times, but almost every morning, she shows up about 15 minutes before we leave, jangling my keys.”
Oh how I identified with my friend. And apparently so did many other friends, for that one little status update generated quite the conversation. That nagging, mean spirited troll shows up at my house all too regularly. I hate her! And she usually shows up shortly after I’ve felt some self-satisfaction at my skills at crisis management on a particular day. Then suddenly, something happens, that straw that breaks the camel’s back, and the bitch voice comes out of my mouth. I look back and think “Where did THAT come from?” But I know exactly where it came from. It came from ME. My mouth, and my heart. Often, I don’t realize the troll has appeared until my boys look at me with that crushed expression that shines a mirror on exactly who I’ve become and how I’ve hurt them. And in that moment, the self-condemnation kicks in big time. I hate her! But in reality, I know she’s just me.
The troll fades, leaving in her wake crushed spirits and much regret. And I have found only ONE salve to the devastation she leaves behind—gospel repentance. It’s not worldly sorry that only brings regret and looks for something other than Christ to make me feel better. That may work for a time, but it won’t bring real change. In that moment of sin, I have to preach the gospel to myself. In Christ, I am no longer this woman and she doesn’t have the power over me that I am giving her. I confess to my children and repair with them what I have harmed. Then I can walk forward believing in the awesome power that gospel grace has over our sins. (and I repeat that in the evening when she shows up again, and the next morning, and so forth)
I hate being that troll. But cross-centered repentance and restoration with my children is really beautiful. They are learning the gospel by watching me repent. And I see them better understanding repentance for themselves when they sin against each other. I would much rather them not learn repentance from watching me having to repent after repeated sins. But I am so thankful for the good news of all Christ has accomplished on the cross, for it alone can pick me up after another crushing defeat by the troll and turn it into something of gospel significance. And in Him, I have confidence that one day I’ll kick her butt into a place of irrelevance. Some days even now, I actually see her coming and start pelting her with gospel truths until she turns and runs for her life. Until the day that she is totally eradicated, I repent, and in light of the gospel, that alone becomes the lancing of my festering wound that begins the process of healing.
Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
2 Cor. 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.