Many mythical characters are a composite of various creatures. The centaur has a human torso on the body of a horse. The minotaur has the head of a bull on the body of a man. I hadn’t really given this much thought until recently I noticed that my three year old has the face of an angel and the behavior of an imp. One side of him loves to snuggle and give me bear hugs, and the other side acts like a bear in a china shop.
I remember breathing a sigh of relief when Nate turned three. We had survived the terrible twos, and clearly things would start getting easier. Apparently Nate didn’t get the memo. His saucer-like baby blues expanded to the size of dinner plates, further increasing his resemblance of an angelic being, but his capability for mischief rose exponentially.
One day I was working at my desk with my head buried in paperwork. I didn’t even notice my little hybrid slip into the room, until his faint voice delivered a disturbing question in the same way that a distant rumble of thunder can portend a tornado.
“Mommy, can I use these for Tinker Toys?” If his voice could have been any sweeter, I could have served him for dessert.
I sensed imminent disaster before I even looked up. I heard the clinking of dishes and turned to see him holding a white box. No, please don’t let it be that box.
“Wwwwhat…is…that?” I stammered. But I already knew. My fine china was now in ruins, and every wave of emotion washed over me. Anger for his outrageous behavior. Guilt for leaving the box within his reach. Despair for the loss of something special. Sorrow for his shame. Amusement for his wanting to use the shards for Tinker Toys.
How did I handle this situation? Well, I did what any self-respecting adult would do. I burst into tears right in front of Nate, and that alone was sufficient for his punishment. I know that my greatest punishment for wrongdoing is the sense that I have made God cry.
Have you ever destroyed something that belongs to God? Most of us do it all the time without even realizing it. When we trample on His Word. When we insult or hurt His children. Even when we hurt ourselves.
When King David committed adultery, he hurt himself and Bathsheba. Not to mention her husband, whom he had killed, which I’m guessing hurt a lot. David’s soul was tortured by how much he had hurt God. He cried out, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight“(Ps. 51:4).
He didn’t waste time with petty excuses. He knew what he did, and he knew what God required.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
God looked at David’s heart, which was now in pieces like Tinker Toys in a box, and He helped put it back together again. I wish it were easier for us to do this for each other. Many times when others sin and earnestly repent from a broken heart, we inflict punishment on them that is too intense for one to tolerate. Judgment and condemnation are the heaviest weights the heart can bear.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
The punishment inflicted on him…is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
I looked at my distraught son before me, and I wasn’t sure which was more shattered, the china or his heart. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” he bawled, and I knew what I had to do. I pulled him close and loved him the way God has loved me. And when the dust had settled on the issue, I considered moving all of my breakables to an off-site storage facility until my kids leave for college.