One day, sitting on bar stools for lunch, Lindsay snuck a pretzel from five-year-old Cole’s plate. If you had known Cole at this point, you would have admired Lindsay for her bravery. But your admiration would have quickly converted to sympathy, as the pretzel snitcher got shoved off her bar stool and earned a knot on the head.
I sent Cole, who had an entire plate full of pretzels minus one, to the bathroom, where we routinely worked through his discipline. We talked about his sin. I gave him five swats for five years old. He asked the Lord to forgive him. He came out and asked Lindsay to forgive him.
Then, I set his plate before him again. We were back to the business lunch.
But something was different. Cole wasn’t eating his lunch. Seeing this, I stopped short. “You OK, Buddy?” I asked. “Are you sick?” He shook his head no, frowning. “What’s wrong then? Why aren’t you eating?” I had never seen him not eat before.
He solemnly thought for a moment, and then said, “Mommy, I have a new rule. From now on, whenever I’m going to do something bad, I’m going to think about it first!”
I almost did a backflip, right there in the kitchen. Even more exciting to me than Cole’s desire to prevent sin, was his remorse over his sin. This was new. I had never seen him deeply regret doing something.
The pretzel event came on the heals of a significant moment in Cole’s young life. Just the night before, Cole had asked me to tell him the story of Jesus, who died on the cross for his sin. Though I had told him the story many times, he listened with new intensity. And afterward, he wanted to respond by asking the Lord Jesus to not just be the Savior, but be his Savior.
What’s the connection between a story about a man who died a shameful death and a sister-shoving-pretzel-lover? The difference is life. The man who died on the cross rose to new life, and he offers that same life as a gift to little boys (and their Mommies!) who are dead in their sin. When dead people come alive, they do things they never did before. Like deciding to think about it, before doing something wrong!
Spring is a time to peek at new life, popping out of deadness. Take a moment and survey any glimpses around your house. Is there newfound remorse over sin? Does someone share when he used to shove? Rejoice over any ‘signs of life’, and feel free to share them here!