I should have realized that I would be called upon to give a spiritual book report more than once this week. It just seems that when God starts working on you, He doesn't stop until He's made His point and YOU'VE GOTTEN IT! And then He works some more.
This week at VBS we've asked the kids to bring in spare change for a mission project. We are raising money for a specific Habitat for Humanity family. All of the money we donate will go directly to this family's house. The kids have really been excited about it and they come every morning with pockets, hands and sandwich bags full of coins and, sometimes, even bills. Last night we had a "situation" with Princess concerning the offering.
Earlier in the week I gave her our large bowl full of change to bring. She was very excited to be able to bring so much change. She took it to her room and started filling her "Give" jar. (She has three jars: Spend, Save and Give. Every time she gets her allowance we instruct her how much to put in each jar.) Last night I noticed that her "Spend" jar seemed a little more full than it had at the beginning of the week. I asked her if she had taken some of the money and put it in there. At first she said (a very weak) no, but then I had her look me in the eye and I told her that I could see that it was now overflowing whereas it wasn't a few days ago. She confessed. To much protesting, I took out the excess (I knew how much she had in there on Monday) and then I told her that we needed to get her dad in on the discussion.
Hubby was disappointed in Princess' actions, obviously. He had her apologize to me and to God. We all prayed. Then brought out her Bible to show her God's words about stealing. Deuteronomy 5:19 "You shall not steal." Then Hubby turned to Acts 5.
Here is the text to Acts 5:
Ananias and Sapphira
1There was also a man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2He brought part of the money to the apostles, but he claimed it was the full amount. His wife had agreed to this deception.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us but to God."
5As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6Then some young men wrapped him in a sheet and took him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?" "Yes," she replied, "that was the price."
9And Peter said, "How could the two of you even think of doing a thing like this--conspiring together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Just outside that door are the young men who buried your husband, and they will carry you out, too."
10Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear gripped the entire church and all others who heard what had happened.
(Before I go further, I must set the environment. At this point it was about 9:15 p.m. Princess was SO tired from a full day of running and playing and crafting, etc. Hubby was equally fried. Every waking moment that he's not at work, Hubby has been studying for a training that he's going to next week. Because of all of the pressure, he hasn't been sleeping well. This environment was not optimal for having a teachable moment! But the Holy Spirit was SO in charge. Read on.)
When Hubby turned to that story in Acts, I was with him. I knew where he was going with it. God wants us to be truthful in our giving and in our hearts. That is the point of the story and that's the point we wanted to make to Princess. Hubby started reading and I guess he just got into it. He didn't stop. He and I both realized that he wasn't stopping just about the time "he fell to the floor and died" came out of his mouth.
Have you ever seen someone say something just as they realize that they weren't supposed to say it? It's almost like there is a voice balloon coming out of their mouth and they are trying to suck it back in.
Princess looked up and said, "HE DIED?" just as Hubby said, "But you're not going to die!" Hubby did some great backtracking there! He explained that this was in the early church and God had to make an example out of these two people so that others would know that He was serious about commitments that you make to the church and to Him. He also pointed out that these were two grown-ups who should know better and Princess is just a kid and she's still learning God's word. I pointed out later that the couple lied to God and did not confess or show remorse. Princess did both. Hopefully we have not scarred our daughter for life! But hopefully she will think twice about stealing again.
But wait! The drama was not over!
Then Hubby told her that her consequence was that she had to give $3 of her own money into the "Give" jar. You would have thought we told her that we were going to pull her toenails out. She screamed, cried and kicked like a banshee! When she wouldn't stop pleading for us not to take her money, Hubby gave her 10 seconds to stop or he'd take another dollar. It has been a LONG time since I saw Princess scream and writhe like that. Hubby wound up taking about $5 more from her "Spend" jar and was about to take more. The Holy Spirit worked overtime on this one! I calmly asked Hubby to come out into the hall with me. I talked with him about his rule that once a child earns something, that thing cannot be taken away as a punishment. Princess had earned all of her dollars through chores (we have a chore system - each chore she completes equals a token and 20 token equal a dollar) and he was taking them away. He was very sweet and humble and went back into Princess' room and gave her back all of her earned money - even the original $3 fine.
We decided that we should all pray one more time and then, at a later date when all are rested and cooled, we would address the issue of Princess being VERY attached to money at this particular time in her life.
Sigh. Tough night. We were trying to be good, Christian parents and use scripture to illustrate our point, and we wound up leading our kid to believe, if just for a moment, that God was going to kill her for her infraction.
At least she'll have this post to print out and bring to her therapist's office.