Please make me win If you don’t I would not pay you. This is what my daughter wrote on the envelope for her competition entry.
The language is clumsy but it is supposed to be a threat because she thought that then she would then be more likely to win. This sort of hostility is something that has been a part of her life for many years but encouragingly we are seeing it a lot less than we were. What made me laugh about what she had written was the way that she had signed her name with the word love next to it and she had drawn hearts next to it. Talk about mixed messages!
My daughter just says whatever she is feeling and she has no inhibitions about expressing her love or her hatred towards something. When she came to live with us (just before her first birthday) she was fairly blank and expressionless. The first time we met her we took her to the park and as we pushed her in the swing she just stared into space. She has come a long way after not having the best start in life and we continue to do our best as her adoptive parents and pray for her as she grows up.
We all have the capacity for good and evil. The Bible says we were created in God’s likeness and because God is love and God is good then there must be those things within each of us. The Bible also says that we all have a sinful nature (even though that was not what God wanted for us) and this gives us the capacity to do things that are wrong.
Paul who wrote most of the New Testament talked about the conflict of these two things within him (Romans 7.14-25). He desired to do what was right but often he did things that he regretted and hated and because of this he describes himself as a wretched or miserable person. The good news is that life doesn’t have to stay that way, Paul reminds himself (and us as well) that Jesus wants to set us free. There is a conflict in each of us between good and evil but we can call on God to work in us so that we would be changed and set free from sin in our lives. In a battle, the side that wins will usually be the side that has the most reinforcements arriving. In the battle within me I want to reinforce what is good and take away from my wrong choices and actions.
My daughter’s behaviour can be extreme. She can be angelic or full of hatred but we are encouraging her towards the good. She is choosing to love God and she prays for people sometimes and she also is very angry sometimes as well. Paul chose to consistently turn to God when he got things wrong and my prayer is that my daughter does the same and that we would continue to see the change in her.
What is in your heart? When we do things that are wrong or hurtful to others do we care? If we are Christians, do we take the attitude that because God will forgive us that it doesn’t matter how much we sin? The Bible makes it clear this is the wrong attitude. In the battle between good and bad in each of us we need to choose the good and call on God to help and to transform us. As he works in us, we need to align ourselves with his will.
How can we do good today?
How can we become more like God in the way we treat people?
Just in case you are wondering, we didn’t post the letter, but don’t tell my daughter.