A friend of mine yesterday talked about how over the years she’s allowed more and forbidden less. The idea is that while you do have to say no, it’s especially important to make sure we’re saying yes when we are able. That makes sense, and I’ve seen it before. While we were growing up, my mom was careful to point out the advantages of doing what we were doing. She always wanted us to understand that God’s ways were better than the world’s ways. When we passed the false church with people streaming out, she’d ask us if we saw anyone smiling. Amazingly, we never could find any. That’s because people who do not know the true and living God cannot be truly happy. She made deliberate attempts to fill our lives with fun, profitable activities, because she was particularly concerned that we not be bored and lured by the attractiveness of sin. That makes sense, even with small children.
The principle of replacing evil with good is found in the Bible. The most obvious place is Ephesians, where Paul talks about putting off the old man and replacing it with the new man and gives us a list of examples. Our fight against sin isn’t complete until we replace the sin with its opposite: a thief is no longer a thief when he stops stealing and starts giving. A child who was unkind doesn’t make it right until he stops being unkind and starts showing kindness.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
It’s not a spiritual issue, but I’ve been thinking about allowing certain things that don’t matter. I’ve been compiling a list of things my children have eaten. Is it okay to eat
- pet food?
- play doh?
- leaves, sticks, and big rocks?
I’m probably odd in that if it’s non-toxic and not a choking hazard, I don’t stop a taste. Lee says dog food is nutritious, but I still wouldn’t like our children chowing down. I might redirect a child stuffing his mouth with play doh, but it tastes bad, and I figure it’s okay for him to figure it out on his own. Now, I loved to eat chapstick as a child because it tasted good. I’d probably stop the chapstick eating, but I wouldn’t feel terrible about a little taste.
Maybe I’m just a nerd mom, or at best a very scatterbrained one. Type A mothers, have patience with me; I might change someday.