I’ve gotten in the habit of reading Motherlode, a New York Times Magazine blog that frequently features stories about parenting children with disabilities. This week they included a piece written by a mother who’s daughter has been diagnosed with a hearing impairment. You can read that post here.
I would like to say that I read that post and felt nothing but compassion and hope for that mother. That would be a lie. After I finished reading it, words like ‘self-indulgent,’ ‘whiny,’ and ‘pitiful’ were what I thought about that mother, and I unfortunately lingered over those thoughts.
The reason? I was comparing my son and his disabilities with her daughter’s experiences thus far. And that comparison did me no good at all.
In fact, it did me great harm, because my self-righteous thoughts, rooted in a pride-filled attitude about what people like me ‘deserve,’ soon started me down a path of bitterness. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit helped me again and stopped where those thoughts were going. God is good to help me like that, and allowed me to confess my sin, again, when I looked away from Jesus to treasure something else, like an easier life.
The many commands in the Bible to show kindness are helpful to remember. But the opposite, demonstrating the consequences of not showing kindness, is also instructive and helpful, at least for me:
And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets.
Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.” Zechariah 7:8-14
I do not want a diamond-hard heart! And I am thankful to God that he reminded me who he is and encouraged me, again, to fight temptations that draw my eyes away from Jesus.