Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I love watching the grass and trees turn green. The flowers bring pops of color among the now green lawns. It seems everything springs to life again. This winter seemed much longer than most winters, so the beauty and warmth of spring was that much more welcomed. Since we spent so much time indoors from this very frigid winter, I was sure to take the kids outside as soon as it was warm enough for me. They were excited to play outside, that is until they saw a bee (or a wasp—either way it had a stinger and that’s all my kids cared about). Suddenly my girls wanted to go back inside. This happened several days in a row and I was getting quite tired of their fear of bees. I wanted us all to be outside enjoying the weather.
One afternoon we were outside and the neighbor girl had come over to play. My daughter and the neighbor girl were discussing how much they disliked bees. One said, “I’d rather be chased by a lion than a bee.” The other replied, “Yeah, I think we could outrun the lion on our bike.” I thought to myself, I can’t believe I’m hearing this. I know they are only eight and eleven years old, but they are either giving way too much credit to the bee or they don’t realize how dangerous a lion can be. It made me think about how we, as parents, need to be sure we are giving our children the correct perspective on the dangers of life.
There were times in the Bible when the people of God neglected to tell the next generation about the Lord. They didn’t tell of His glory or His laws. As a result, people didn’t know how to treat each other. They turned from the Lord and consistently were turned over to the hands of their enemies. We, too, need to be sure to teach our children the ways of the Lord and to warn them of the dangers of sin. Some sin may feel like a bee sting. Others have consequences more like that of a hungry lion. We don’t want to buy into the lie that we are playing with a kitten, when in fact it’s a lion. The world has a way of disguising things to look more innocent than they are. Their true light often doesn’t show until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to tell our children the difference. I would go one step further and not just teach them to stay away from harmful things, but show them the way to live a fruitful life that is set apart from the ways of the world. Not just tell them to stay clear of danger, but take the higher path that is blessed with life.
I was trying to teach my kids not to be afraid of the bees, but every time I went outside with my kids to play there was a wasp (or bee) every few feet. It’s not that the air was thick with them, but every few feet there was one somewhere. It was ridiculous. We couldn’t even go out to swing. So my husband went outside to be our brave hero armed with a can of wasp spray. He was surprised to find more than six nests. They like the overhang of our house. Our brave warrior even had to buy more spray because he went through the can and still hadn’t gotten them all.
I began to think of the parallel I made earlier in a different light. My kids need to be made aware of the dangers of life because we don’t know where life will take them. However, the chances are slim to none that my kids will ever see a roaming lion in our neighborhood. On the other hand, wasps and bees are very common around here. To me, those pesky stinger flying fellows are like the things in our life that cause small problems. A new phrase I keep hearing is “respectable sins”—things like gossip, little lies (is there really such a thing), complaining, etc… Things that seem so trivial to us that we let slide into our lives. Yet, they are things the Lord doesn’t want for us because they don’t have our best interest at heart. When you let those things pile up, you can get swarms of pests settling themselves around you, increasing your fear and chances of getting stung. Letting one small seed of bitterness stay in your heart results in poison to your soul. Complaining leads to negativity and shifts your attitude towards everything in life. This is not God’s way for us. While we need to differentiate between the lion and the bee, we also need to be sure we are keeping our hearts clear of things that would be poisonous to our hearts.
As for us, our hero bought more spray and took care of our pesky problem. What a joy it is to play outside without fear of getting stung.
Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. Exodus 18:20 (NIV)
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NLT)