Chloe just said four words I've been dreading to hear. I knew they were coming. My friend Chris had already warned me. He said I'd hear them one day, and that I'd better be preparing myself.
While I knew he was probably right, I still didn't really believe him. Chloe wouldn't say those words. Not my baby, my beautiful princess, my sweet little girl. But she did.
I think about four words - any four words - I'd rather hear instead: "I made a mess." "I broke a window." "I shaved the dog."
I'd even rather hear her say "I have a boyfriend" than hear what she actually said.
Chloe took a toy away from Cole, causing him to cry. I asked her to give it back, but she refused. After several failed attempts at trying to get her to do the right thing of her own accord, it became clear that I was going to have to become more actively involved.
I walked over and pried the toy from her fingers, then handed it back to Cole.
That calmed him down, but it did not sit well with her. I traded one crying child for another. Her fit was equal in pitch, volume and duration to her brother's.
I tried to calm Chloe down and explain to her that Cole had the toy first, and that it was not right to take it from him.
She didn't want to hear what I had to say. She didn't like that I wasn't going to let her have her way. So she expressed her displeasure. Cruelly.
With tears streaming from her eyes she looked at me and said, "I don't like you!"
The force of her words hit me like a physical blow. I felt like I'd been crushed. I looked down, half expecting to see the handle of a knife sticking out of my chest.
"Is this what it feels like?" I asked myself. "Is this what God feels when we sin?"
James 4:4 states, "Don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
I wonder, at those when times I sin against God, choosing what the world has to offer me over what he has to offer me, if God sees me as a small child, looking up at him and defiantly declaring, "I hate you! I love the world more than I love you!"
That may sound like an extreme depiction, but is it? Is my sin any less hurtful to God than Chloe's angry declaration was to me? I doubt it.
Now, I'm sure if Chloe knew how much her words were going to hurt me, she never would have said them. Considering how much our actions may end up hurting God, will that affect some of the decisions we make in the future?
I sure hope so. I, for one, would feel awful about inflicting that kind of pain on my heavenly father.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville.