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Romans 8:1-2 (New International Version)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

In studying Craig Hill’s book, “Bar Barakah,” I see that I must learn to separate identity from behavior. Who a person is is not necessarily what (s)he does. I can do great things and be morally bankrupt. Likewise I can be a great person with a well-intentioned heart, who consistently fails.

As a mother, I have the unique and unenviable job of molding human souls. If I know nothing else, I know that my children are destined for greatness. They are amazing, beautiful, gifted people, FULL of promise. When their behavior contradicts this truth, I must do something about it, namely correct it, but how? If I confuse their identity with their behavior, I might either condone bad behavior out of my love for them, which is the essence of permissiveness, or risk condemning them out of my obligation to discipline.

I understand better how God in the Old Testament could be so patient with the “stiff-necked” Israelites (and by extension with me) and why for those in Christ, there is no condemnation, despite the fact that we fail – a lot, and often very publicly. The light bulb has just now flickered. True, it may be only 5 watts, but I am grateful for the revelation. I hunger for more.

When his/her behavior is poor, undesirable, bad…I must discipline my child. What I must not do, however, is crossover into condemnation. I must not berate, belittle, malign, or impose guilt upon the child, or I will certainly damage the heart and warp the mind. I can affirm the child, a gift from God Himself, while expressing disapproval and issuing consequences for said undesirable behavior. I can go a step further to ensure that my child understands the principle behind the consequences received, and to assure him/her that I take the time to correct and discipline because of his/her value to me. “Why does Mommy discipline you?” comes the question. “Because you love me,” should be the automatic answer. And I might add, “And because I don’t want you to grow up to be a jerk.” The world has way too many.

Because I love my God I must endeavor to correct my child His way. The applications are endless. Now I can affirm the spouse, relative, friend, parent, neighbor (celebrity batterer), co-worker, brother or sister-in-the-Lord, or anyone who offends/harms/hurts me or another, while expressing my disapproval of the hurtful behavior. Once I no longer equate identity with behavior, I will truly be free to love lavishly. When I become convinced that God already sees my identity apart from my behavior, I will leave works behind and be about the business of extending grace instead of nursing bitterness! Nice words, I know.  Now, if I could only live them!

Be blessed Family!

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