writing for children

“As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else…” 

“As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else… why not?” 

That’s the philosophy we use as human beings to justify doing the things that we want to do. If it feels good… and isn’t hurting anyone… we can find a reason to continue doing whatever it is that makes us “feel good”.

 

But just because something “feels good” doesn’t mean it is good for us, physically, spiritually, or mentally. And just because it’s not hurting us or someone else at that moment doesn’t mean it won’t down the road. Lots of things can feel good that aren’t good for us in the long run. And when we keep going down those roads that bring us a temporary “feel good” moment, we can become entangled and enslaved to those things, running further and further down the road away from freedom. We keep chasing them, looking for the next “high”. Unfortunately, those “highs” are just mirages.

 

Thankfully, God does NOT stop pursuing us. He doesn’t leave us in the holes we dig for ourselves. He doesn’t turn his back on us, even when we’ve turned our back on Him. And He doesn’t wait for us to get things “right” before He loves us. Hear that again… He doesn’t wait for us to get “cleaned up” and “right” before He loves. He loves us… period. Right where we are. He loved us before we even knew He existed… and continues to reach out to us, call us, whispering in the quiet moments that are so hard for most of us… waiting for us to accept his love. For it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance…

 

One of the hardest things is looking at where we are and admitting that it is not the right place. Admitting that we need to change direction. Admitting that we are running from the ONE who wants to help us get home. Because staying where we are and running in the same old direction is easier than turning around and admitting we need to stop and ask for different directions. Admitting we need help and admitting we are wrong can hurt. But only for a little while. It’s like pulling out a splinter or putting our broken bones in a cast. It hurts like crazy to begin with — but then, in time, healing comes.

 

Doing what we want feels good… but only for a while. It’s like riding around with no direction, no rules, nobody telling us what to do. It’s fun for a little bit. We can go where we want, do what we want, with seemingly no consequences… until we run out of gas and realize we’ve been riding around broken and lost and torn ourselves apart in the process.

 

But… God. He isn’t waiting for us to “get it right”. He makes us right. When we break down on the side of our “road”, God is right there, ready to help. He is long-suffering. He is patient. He is kind. He forgives and doesn’t throw it back in our faces. He is pursuing us, even when we are running from Him. He always knows where we are and does not give up in His love for us. He knows every thought… every word… every deed… and He loves us. He wants to give us LIFE. The good stuff. The REAL good stuff. He wants to take us on an endless road trip with Him, letting HIM be in the driver’s seat. Letting HIM fill up our gas tanks. Letting HIM be our guide and keeping us on the road that brings us LIFE.

 

Are you running? God is right there with you. He’s never left you. But maybe today is the day you stop running away from God… and run into His arms.

Luke 15:11-32 The Message (MSG)

The Story of the Lost Son

11-12 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’

12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

25-27 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’

28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’

31-32 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

Excerpts from Romans 7:15- 20 and 8:1-39 The Message (MSG)
I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

Romans 8: Life Through the Spirit

1)Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c]And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

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