Preaching to the Choir

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. Luke 15:1

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Jocelyn and I were having fun playing a game the other night. After she did something she shouldn’t have, and I corrected her, she got quiet and withdrawn. I asked her why. She said that when she makes a mistake, I go on and on about it, and she absolutely hates that.

My immediate reaction was to defend myself, and explain that that was my job as her mom: to teach her a better way to react when she’s made a mistake. But I bit my tongue, apologized, and said I’d work on keeping the message short and sweet.

In that “perfect timing” way of His, the very next morning, God helped me better understand what Jocelyn meant.

The Gospel passage for that day was Luke 15:1-3,11-32. I wondered why there was such a big jump from verse 1-3 to 11-21. It turns out, it’s because Jesus told three parables in a row: The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son. It would have been overkill for us believers to reflect on all three in one sitting.

So why did Jesus tell all three parables at one time back then?

It was all about His audience. In this case, it was made up of tax collectors and sinners. They hadn’t accepted the faith yet, so it took stating the lesson three different ways to get through to them.

It was that approach that I’d adopted with my older two kids. Zack and Mason certainly aren’t tax collectors, and I don’t want to throw them under the bus as complete sinners. But they are a tougher sell. I don’t know if it’s a boy thing, but I find I do have to break things down more for them, restating my message multiple ways, for them to get the point.

What I wasn’t recognizing is: Jocelyn is a completely different kid. She gets things the first time around. There’s no need for me to rephrase, repeat, or “re” anything. Just like Jesus taught the disciples differently than He did the tax collectors and sinners, I need to teach and correct Jocelyn differently than I do her brothers. Once is enough for her, or I’ll be preaching to the choir.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Do my kids need to be corrected in different ways?
  • Have I individually tailored how I do so to match who they are?

Just like Jesus taught the disciples differently than He did the tax collectors and sinners, I need to teach and correct each of my children differently too.


2 thoughts on “Preaching to the Choir

  1. Claire, you never cease to amaze and inspire me with your wisdom that God so graciously offers you as you bring up each of your children, and it’s because of your close relationship with Christ to Whom you can bring all of your dilemmas, such as your experience with Jocelyn. What an insight He revealed to you. If all parents could live by the insight you discovered here: treating each child differently when correction is needed, then what an encouragement and trust that would provide to vulnerable young people as they struggle toward genuine maturity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As always, Jackie, thank you for your amazing insight! I have no idea how parents raise kids without God’s help. Each and every time I hit a wall, He reveals my mistake and how to fix it. I’d fear for my kids’ future without him. 🙂


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