After studying the contrast between living in the room of grace and living in the room of good intentions, my conversations with my sons have changed a lot. Here’s an example of one I had with my oldest the other day. He had been talking back to his mother, and I sat down with him and said, “Walker, buddy, I’m going to give you two roads to go down.” “Okay,” he said.
I told him, “You can continue going down the road where you disrespect us. You know what? I’ll let you take that road. But you can also go down a different road. If you want to, you can go down the road where you honor your mother and father. That’s the road where you don’t talk to mommy or daddy that way. Now down that road, son, there are much better things in store for you.
“If you take the road of disrespect, okay. You have that prerogative. That’s why I will let you choose that road. But if that’s the choice you make, understand that there will be discipline. You might lose your iPad. Maybe you won’t get to watch TV. Getting disciplined is a part of the going down that road. But I promise you this, buddy. If you choose that road, I will still love you.
“Now think about this. You can also choose to go down the road where you honor mommy and daddy. The outcome of that road will be better.”
Walker looked at me, and then he said, “Okay, Daddy, I’m sorry. I don’t want to take that road. I don’t want to go down that road of disrespecting you.”
I said, “Buddy, I really appreciate that, and I thank you for choosing the right path. I just wanted you to know that I love you, no matter which road you choose. But now, we don’t have to worry about discipline. Thanks to your decision to respect us, now we can just live the life we should be living, and we can go on and have our fun day.”
Even for adults, there’s a choice of roads. The road of good intentions turns out to be a lot like the road my son chose not to take. As an adult, if you take the road of good intentions, you’ll have a lot of stuff coming back at you.
When you live in that room of good intentions, you never get the feeling of love that comes when God walks with you through your garbage. You wear your mask and pretend you’re perfect in the hopes of creating some distance between yourself and your garbage. That way, if your garbage is exposed you can pretend to be separate from it. But when you do that, you leave God on the other side of the room. He sees you with all your junk, but He can’t even come close to you.
In the room of grace it’s different. In that room, God actually walks with you in your garbage. And then you get to bask in His love. He says, “Oh, I know you’re going to mess up. I know it. If I thought you were going to be perfect, then sending Jesus to die is a waste of His time and mine, and the pain that we put Him through was not relevant.”
That’s the power of the cross. I have more to say about this next time. See you Thursday.