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Monday, January 29, 2007

Pride in Modesty

When we dress modestly, part of the motivation behind the decision is to keep from becoming prideful about our appearances. But it is possible to become prideful about dressing conservatively. We have encountered this trouble with our oldest daughter. There are times that putting on even modest dress creates a prideful attitude in her. It is at these times we observe a haughtiness of the heart and disobedience, even if it is slight and hard to detect. Something about being set apart makes her "puffed up" and that is the opposite of the goal we had in mind. The occurrence usually happens when new clothes are provided, and the problem of pride about that can happen regardless of what is worn. Other times, though, it is about wanting to be grown up, wearing longer skirts when her younger sisters do not. At these times we will find a silent rebellion, find out that she is ordering the other children around out of my hearing or that she tries to change the instructions we have given them. She walks differently, speaks differently, and constantly 'primps', smoothing wrinkles over and over while at the table or crossing her legs and pointing her nose in the air.

To many, this may seem like a trifle. But if we allow her heart to be prideful and rebellious in any little thing, it will become a habit in the big things, too. I believe many people who complain of teenage rebellion were the same ones who allowed their children to 'be kids' when younger. I fully believe there is a difference in adults and children in abilities, understanding, and endurance, but there is nothing about disobedience being the right of a child in the Holy Bible. Mistakes are just that, but blatant disregard that is ignored will breed an atmosphere of contention that will only grow until the child is of a physical and mental stature to determine to stand against the parents in every aspect.

So when these days begin, she is immediately instructed to change clothes (and she has some clothes that she has put on several times but never worn) and we discuss the sin of pride and what the Bible warns about it. Sometimes we will assign a paragraph on the dangers of pride, or ask for the definition of pride written out 10 times. Whatever is done is done with the goal of burning into her conscious now the fact that pride is never pleasing to God. To those who think this approach destroys her self-esteem, we would say that the only things worth being glad of having are of God- life, salvation, wisdom- and the Bible is full of examples of how a haughty spirit often causes Him to take these away.

Proverbs 16:18-19 "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."

James 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he said 'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.'"

Galatians 6:14 "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

2 Timothy 3:1-5 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

The same is true about the work that is given to a child to be done. Some jobs are assigned and left to the doer to determine the desired way to go about completing them. Other jobs must be done in a certain way, and when a child chooses to do that kind of job in a manner that is different than instructed, it is sin. The child is disobeying the parent AND being prideful by thinking his way is better than his parent's, or in essence that he is wiser than his parent.

Proverbs 16:2 "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD."

We have to be cautious now, because the habits our children develop will stay with them for a lifetime. It is MUCH HARDER to change when you are an adult. We can either allow our children to disobey and rebel, or teach them to follow, because our ultimate role as parents is to teach them to revere and honor God. What parent would want the wrath of God to fall upon their children?

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