“The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, God I thank Thee that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this taxgatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.” (Luke 18:11-12 NASB)
This morning was rough on many levels. It started with my older son telling my younger son that he didn’t know what the word legitimate meant because he went to public school. He was suggesting that the public school was substandard and that certainly if his brother went to the private school he attended, he would know what that word meant. For those of you that know Nathan, you are just as shocked at his cocky attitude as I was. Where did he get such arrogance? How could he be so heartless to put his brother down? This is very uncharacteristic of him, but he is a teenager.
As shocked as I was at Nathan’s attitude, I was equally as surprised at my own. I started to cry. I explained to Nathan that his brother and sister attend public school because we can’t afford to put them in private school. I further explained that he was the fortunate one here and since he was older, we felt it was important to send him there. To be completely honest, it made me feel like a rotten parent. It made me feel like I was failing my younger kids. But then I remembered that I really felt led by the Lord to put Jonah and Karoline in public school. I could have homeschooled them but I really felt like God wanted them where they are.
I think the most convicting thing about this morning and Nathan’s attitude is that it has been my attitude at times too. I have looked down on people that send their kids to public school and considered that education to be less than acceptable. I’ve even considered those that attended to be less spiritual. They can’t pray out loud in school. They can’t even mention the name of Jesus. Since when did those things make people spiritual? When did it become more godly to stay in our little bubble rather than step out into the world?
I think I have come to realize my own arrogance today. I have often thought that surrounding my kids with Christian influences gives them the best chance to grow up and be Christ-like. What I’m learning is that it’s easy to act like your group. What’s hard is acting like Jesus in a world that doesn’t recognize Him. My twins face that every day. But through this experience, they have learned to recognize other Christians. Honestly, it warms my heart when they go into the cafeteria in their public school and the workers are listening to Christian music. It blesses me to know that Christian teachers that aren’t allowed to say Jesus learn new ways to point kids to Christ. My kids pick up on the subtle but apparent clues that show them that Jesus surrounds them even though He isn’t preached. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Shouldn’t we be in the world preaching Jesus to people who don’t know Him?
Today, I will pray and ask God to forgive me for my prideful attitude. I’ve obviously passed that on to my son. And when he comes home this afternoon, we will have a discussion about our incident this morning. I will remind him that sometimes God calls us to do the hard things. Letting go and letting God take care of Jonah and Karoline has been one of the hardest things I have done. I will remind him of our calling in this life. I hope he understands. But I’ll leave that part up to Christ. I’ve learned so much about myself through my kids, I should write a book!