The kids were all up in my grill as I scrambled to cook dinner and grade papers simultaneously.
“She took my batman toy!”
“I did not – he gave it to me!”
“Mommy, they won’t let me play with them!”
“Tell her to stop!”
Of course, my gut response was to freak out and let everybody have it. Don’t say you haven’t been there too.
Often we think there’s nothing practical in Scripture that could possibly relate to stressful motherhood. But Jesus encountered this same scenario – a “He said, she said” situation. Christ set a pattern of one way to react when “kids” (ahem – immature adults) accuse each other.
The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
Now dealing with kids is a lot different than dealing with adults. But I believe Christ paused not because He was afraid he’d blow His top or needed to gather His wits.
I think He paused to give the accusers time to think.
Remember, I was actually trying to get stuff done. The kids were annoying me with their pesky problems.
Christ was also working to accomplish His Father’s will.
Christ’s reactions to the tattle-tales while working
Jesus had arrived at the temple early in the morning to teach the crowds. Right in the middle of his sermon, the “important guys” decided to insert themselves (another tactic to lose Christ’s favor with the people).
This woman was guilty – there was no question. She’d been caught in the very act of adultery. If that weren’t embarrassing enough, they placed her in between themselves and the people. Front and center.
Christ knew what they were up to! He discerned their motives.
As the crowd waited expectantly for Christ to blast her with His scroll, he did something completely unexpected. Follow Christ’s actions through verses 6-12.
- He used neutral body language (But Jesus stooped down)
- He remained silent (and wrote on the ground with His finger)
- He gave them time to think (as though He did not hear)
- He changed positions to face them (So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up)
- He asked a thought-provoking question (and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”)
- He paused again, assuming the neutral position (And again He stooped down)
- He was not in a hurry (and wrote on the ground.)
- He didn’t outright condemn (Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience)
- He pointed out that everyone sins (went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last)
- He waited to be alone with the accused (And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.)
- He changed positions, facing them (When Jesus had raised Himself up)
- He assessed the situation (and saw no one but the woman)
- He pointed out that no one else had a right to accuse her but Himself (He said to her “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”)
- He waited for an answer (She said, “No one, Lord.)
- He forgave the repentant guilty party (And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you;)
- He gave a blueprint for how to overcome sin (go and sin no more.”)
- He addressed potential accusers (Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”)
I’m not you so I don’t know your kids, and I’m not sure what Christ meant in each little nuance of His actions. But the clear message – something to remember the next time you’re interrupted from your important stuff – is:
Christ paused from His duties because He recognized the interruption as an assignment.
I know kids are needy. They push the limits. They ask and whine and beg and tattle while you’re trying to indirectly care for them in a million different ways.
But the correction of these eternal souls is the mission; not the afterthought.
Dear mom, Christ is in the movements of your days. Proverbs 16:33 says
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
The happenstances of your day aren’t by chance. And here’s an interesting side note – the preceding verse in Proverbs (32) says,
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
It’s important to God for us to [rule our spirits]. Those interruptions?
They’re all part of the sanctification process.
Next time you field a squabble, remember Christ’s reaction in His busy day. Pause, catch your breath, and give everyone (and yourself) time to think before you react. Just try it and see!
Let Scripture transform the way you parent!
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Ruthie Gray is a wife, mom of four, Gigi, and caregiver, living in the sandwich generation and blogging to keep her sanity. When she’s not snacking on plastic drumsticks with The Tiny Tornado or snuggling Baby Cakes (her grandbabies), you can find her coaching young moms to capture joy in parenting at RearReleaseRegroup.com. Ruthie is also the author of Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger.