What is the two-letter word that parents never have to teach their children?
A display of obstinate willfulness is typically the origin of this word’s use. The parent tells the child to obey, and the child refuses. The parent insists that the child complies, and the child insists on refusing. Why? Probably because the child is certain that they know best, or that their way of living is better.
There have been many times in my walk with God that I have played the part of the child, unwilling to release something that my Father says isn’t good for me. I give excuses, I insist that it “isn’t that bad," or I blatantly ignore His gentle prodding and claim ignorance. Like a child, I place my metaphorical fingers in my ears and attempt to tune out His warnings. And then it all blows up in my face, and I realize that He was only trying to protect me.
Admitting that we’re in the wrong and accepting the consequences of our actions isn’t fun, but it is a necessary part of maturing. People say that being oblivious is bliss, but not if what you don’t know can hurt you. So often we do ourselves more harm than good when it comes to ignoring the warnings of others. We choose ignorance over correction, and the result is our detrimental.
God isn’t the only one who tries to keep us from harmful activities. Friends and family are also capable of lovingly advising us against certain activities. Like God, they do so out of love because they want what is best for us. What if we were to listen to their advice instead tuning it out? How much better would our lives be, and how much less would our pain be?
So how do we do it? How do we fight these childish tendencies and accept the loving correction with grace and an open heart?
Open your hands.
Every good thing is a gift from God. In order to receive these gifts, we must first open our hands. Rather than clenching the gift and hiding it in your grasp, keep your hands open. Our selfish tendency is to want to keep a tight hold on the gift, but we should remember Who it came from, and Who can take it away.
Open your hands. Because God is good, and He knows what is best for you.