Sunday’s sermon really hit the nail on the head. Entitled “Love’s Hard Principle,” the pastor spoke about sin and our reaction to it in other people’s lives. His key phrase was “Our goal is to get others out of trouble not into trouble.”
That led my mind to wander back to the days when the Tattle-taler lived in our home. This creature couldn’t wait to notice offenses and broadcast them loudly for all to hear. He would disguise his tattling as correction, but the tone and volume of his voice boldly declared, “MOM, DO YOU HEAR ME?”
It was a difficult tight rope act to maneuver as I struggled with the balance of, Yes, the person is doing something wrong that needs addressing, but tattling is just as wrong. I was reminded to care for the strayed heart first. Facing the tattle-taler (provided the other offense wasn’t critical) I asked the question reiterated by our pastor: “Are you trying to get your sibling in trouble or out of trouble?” In the beginning, hesitation to answer would reveal the heart of wanting to get the other into trouble. Eventually the tattler caught on to this line and knowing the right answer regardless of his intent, state, “Out of trouble.”
Be encouraged! Even as our children learn the right answer, they need further training to develop the muscle memory to DO what is right. Continually plant the same seeds deeper and deeper into the soil of the heart, removing rocks and weeds.
“We always want to help each other to stay out of trouble, because we love one another. When you announce that they are doing the wrong thing so loudly you are not lovingly helping them to do what is right, but trying to get them into trouble. You need to quietly remind them what is right. If they keep doing what is wrong you need to come to me and tell me, ‘Mom, I don’t want to get them in trouble, but I’m worried about them.’ Then we can together decide how to help them out of trouble.
Don’t falter, Dear Mother! Breath deep! This crop raising requires perseverance, consistency, and patience. Prayerfully maintain your good humor. The comedy really begins when the tattle-taling escalates and suddenly we have tattling for tattling. Take heart, your diligent work day in and day out will produce fruit. Keep your eyes on the harvest, it takes much time and constant tending, but it will come.
We found in later years our teens would, out of concern for the other, hold each other accountable for what was on their ipods, facebook pages, computer and even share advice regarding making friends and potential girl/boyfriends. The blessing was that they responded to each other without involving us. The fruits of love, trust and good-will are the sweet reward to the grueling process of weeding out harmful tattle-taling.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24