I stood my ground.
We’re on vacation, and my youngest son asked to do something contradictory to our rules for him.
I knew if I allowed it, it could set a standard for the future. I heard his argument already. “You let me do it on vacation. What’s the difference if I do it at home?”
I dug my heels in further, even though I felt alone in the decision, and ended up receiving an angry outburst, then the silent treatment from my son the rest of the day.
My heart was heavy.
We parents establish house rules because we love our children.
We try to protect them.
We want to teach them right from wrong.
As I wrap up the book of Leviticus, all I see are God’s rules for his children.
Don’t do this.
If you do this, you will die.
Rules for relationships.
613 Levitical laws.
I am not sure how the Israelites dared to leave their tents every morning.
But I know God, a loving parent, provided the rules because he cared for his children.
Some of the laws concerned scenarios we inwardly know are wrong.
Things like a man can’t marry his sister, or his mother, or his aunt.
Obvious no-nos to us because God’s law is now written on our hearts. Back then, the people needed parameters etched out on tablets.
Rules concerning diseases seemed a bit harsh. Anyone with a defiling skin disease wore torn clothes, let their hair go wild, covered the lower part of their face, and cried out, “Unclean!” “Unclean.” As long as they had the disease, they remained unclean and lived alone, outside the camp (Leviticus 13:45-46).
But we can’t judge these laws through our modern lens. The Israelites didn’t have Cortisone cream like we have today. There were no antibiotics. Their loving Father prevented an epidemic among his people. Isolation was the only way to do it.
I wonder if the Israelites ever thanked God for the boundaries he set?
“If my friend hadn’t been sent out of the camp, we could have all been sick.”
“Wow, I’m glad I didn’t marry my brother. That could have been a mess.”
“It’s a good thing we rested on the Sabbath. I’m not sure we could made it in the wilderness 40 years.”
Today, I’m speaking to parents with children at home.
It’s okay to establish rules.
You do it because you love your kids.
So stand your ground when they resist.
I know. Sometimes it’s easier to give in. It takes energy to deal with” the attitude.” But in the long run, our children will respect us more for taking a stand.
When I look back at my early years, I realize I needed more rules. I didn’t have many, because my dad died before I was born, and my mother was disengaged. If I had received more teaching about what’s right and wrong, I probably would have avoided more mistakes as a teenager. I am thankful God stepped in many times with holy discipline.
Like the time the police showed up when I tried to drink at age 13.
When a group of girlfriends and I climbed our neighborhood public swimming pool wall after hours, the police happened to be staking it out because of vandals at the pool the night before.
Like the time I was almost arrested for underage drinking at an outdoor festival. Police intercepted me before I had one sip of beer.
Bad luck? No. God knew I needed direction.
It may take a few years, but I hope my son will realize the house rules I established, originated out of love for him. After all, it was my loving Heavenly Father who set the standard.