Our two-year-old granddaughter, whom I call Glitter, sparkles.
Hers is a world of Lift-the-Flap books, bubbles, and baby dolls she covers with Band-Aids.
(Her grandmother is one of her chief suppliers.)
Glitter enjoys good health and a keen intelligence that are gifts from God.
Her parents love her unconditionally and provide for her everything she needs.
They give her many things, but not everything, she wants.
I was at her house the other day when she said, “Grandma, I want some of the c-word.”
“What?” I said.
“She wants candy,” her older brother said.
“We didn’t want her to know when we were talking about candy, so we started calling it the c-word. Now she calls candy the c-word too.”
The candy in their house is on a high shelf, out of Glitter’s reach.
Sometimes her parents give her candy, but sometimes they say no.
A parent who never says no is not a good parent.
As Glitter grows, her parents will continue saying no to many of her c-word requests:
No, you can’t . . .
- Color on the living room wall.
- Cross the street by yourself.
- Cut your own hair.
Later they will say, No, you can’t . . .
- Cook on the stove when you’re home alone.
- Copy your term paper from the Internet.
- Consume alcohol when you’re in middle school.
After that they will say, No, you can’t . . .
- Consume alcohol when you’re in high school.
- Cheat on your SAT.
- Continue living in our basement until you’re 35.
They will say no to many other things.
But one day, Glitter will decide for herself what she can do.
Her parents pray she will say no to herself, when no is the appropriate response.
Some adults never develop an inner voice that tells them no.
With no outer voice telling them no, they become self-indulgent junkies, living for the next fix.
Junkies abuse, steal, and even kill to get what they crave.
And they crave the very things that made them the sick people they are.
God anticipated this tendency in people.
That is why His Word emphasizes the importance of developing and practicing self-control.
Consider the pain suffered by these self-indulgent Bible characters, and the pain they inflicted upon other people in their lives.
- Adam and Eve
- King David
With that epic last example, I will stop, though more names could be added.
I confess to having damaged myself and others through a lack of self-control.
You probably have too.
Don’t succumb to Satan’s temptation to be self-indulgent.
Learn to tell yourself no.