As much as my Anabelle can act like such a tomboy some times, I’m thankful that she’s still got some girly traits about her. When faced with her fears, she always calls on her Dad. Her most common call? “Eeeew! Daddy! Come! Help!” this is her cry as she comes running in my direction.
Sometime last week, as I was relaxing on the couch, I heard a shrieking sound from my two year old. She ran so fast, she would’ve beaten Hussein Bolt! As she came to me, Anabelle kept saying, “Eeeew! Bug! Eeeew! Bug!”
Here my daughter who once walked up to a group of pit bulls is terrified of an insect 10,000 times smaller than her. On the outside I was coming to her rescue; inside I was saying just step on it!
Throughout the rest of the day, Anabelle displayed an “insect paranoia,” where every spec was a bug to her. That’s when an idea came to mind.
Whenever Anabelle would go somewhere she wasn’t supposed to or do something she was told not to, I would gently tell her, “There’s a bug right there,” or “Okay, the bug is going to get you!” And you know what? It worked! I know it was mean but I was having a little bit of fun with it.
Have you ever scared or guilted someone into what you wanted them to do? Have you ever manipulated a situation to turn in your favor? If you’re honest with yourself, you would have to say along with me, “guilty!”
Parents, pastors, teachers, ministry leaders, and other people in authority need to be careful with this carnal tendency. It’s easy to scare someone into a decision. It’s can be tempting to cause some to choose based on fear. And sometimes, fear may be the way God chooses to work (see Jude 23) but for the most part decisions made with the wrong motives are hardly long lasting and effective.
I have found in my ministry as a one that works in the educational areas of the church, I have been guilty of making children obey because they fear me. I agree that they should have respect for authority but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about making sure that they obey because they fear God. After all doesn’t’ the Bible declare the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom?
I love what Joseph said when Potiphar’s wife grabbed his garment. He was definitely respectful of his master and all the responsibilities he has entrusted Joseph with. Joseph responded to her by saying, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” His motive was to please God, not Potiphar. David said something similar in Psalm 51, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned…”
I suppose I can keep telling Anabelle, “There’s a bug around the corner.” But if my daughter is motivated by her fear of insects as she obeys me, then I have failed miserably as a parent. She needs to obey because it is the right thing to do before her God. The byproduct of the right motivation is an increased respect and obedience to the authorities God has given my child.
Don’t fear the bugs; fear God!