As a parent of a child with Autism, my son makes frequent social mistakes. Sometimes terribly personal social mistakes. D frequently walks down the middle of a hallway, forcing others to jump to the wall to avoid running into him. He has no filter and at times calls people “fat” or “old.” As his parent I have to call him on his mistakes, autism or no autism and I do. I explain why his behavior is wrong. I tell him he needs to apologize. Most people are kind people. Frequently, they say the words, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” Probably thinking they are doing us a favor.
They are not.
Since his behavior wasn’t socially acceptable, then it wasn’t “okay.” By giving him an out you discount the cost of his behavior and make it more difficult for me to teach him appropriate ways of dealing with the world. D is like all of us and would much rather have an excuse for his current behavior than change.
This mama doesn’t give excuses.
I’m not in the excuse-making business. Not even for myself. I got pregnant with D on purpose and without his father’s consent. I almost lost the relationship as a result. I didn’t, but there’s always, always a cost to sin. And I don’t mean on judgement day. There’s a real, personal cost to sin. For all of us.
For D, discounting the cost of his poor judgement means it’s more difficult to make connections with people. His ability to make connections with others is crucial. It’s generally the reason we are successful at business, have friends, and stay in long-term relationships. My dream for him is that he finds someone that loves him as much as I do. That dream is lost if he doesn’t understand his mistakes and doesn’t try harder. So no, It’s really not “okay.”
There’s always a cost to sin. The cost to D is loss of a dream and a good job. The cost to me was the loss of trust in my relationship to his father. If I discount the cost, then I’m in danger of repeating the sin. We always want to make everything okay, but it encourages us to sin when we do that. We WANT to believe that we live in a gray world, but God sees sin as black and white.
Sometimes the cost of our sin is manifested in others. Choosing poorly in relationships can mean absent fathers and broken-hearted children. Sometimes it means bitter fights and custody battles. The sin of poor choices affects ALL of us at one point in time or another. We ALL make poor choices at times in our lives. But, I believe, that if we acknowledge our sin then the chance of repeating that sin is lessened. The problem is that it’s easier to discount it. Make excuses. Blame genetics. Make it about someone else.
Don’t make excuses. Don’t discount the cost. Acknowledge the full weight of sin. Count ALL the cost of it. So that we can grow in our faith and encourage each other.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/122594368@N03/14828527245″>3 Keys for a Healthy Conversation</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>