A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who now has adult children shared something with me that she used to do with her kids. As often as she could, she would tell them “yes” when they asked something of her. This may not seem novel or shocking to tell your children “yes”, but as I have experienced, children ask a lot of questions that often leave tired parents wanting to say “no!”
Sometimes, it’s because we don’t want to bother, but often it’s pure fatigue that keeps us from going outside again, reading another book, pushing them on the swing, or getting ice cream before dinner. No wait, that last one just might be called “wisdom”.
Well, I decided to try this out at my house like a little experiment and found that surprisingly, I even benefited from it. I felt happier knowing that as long as it was fairly reasonable, I was going to answer with a kind “yes”. Instead of a tired and sometimes bothered response, I found myself saying “yes”, “yes”, “yes” with a smile on my face, all day long. My children were happier too. Go figure! I can’t always answer with a yes, but as long as I can, I want to. As my friend explained, as my children grow, they will begin to understand that unless there is good reason, their mom doesn’t just say “no”, so they can trust her answer. I loved this piece of advice and I plan to make it a staple in our home.
The following week, I read a passage of scripture that reminded me of a parent saying “yes”. In Luke 5, just after Jesus had called his first disciples, he was in a town that we’re not told the name of. A leper came up to Jesus desiring healing. Surely, this man had heard about Jesus from others who had seen his miracles. Word was spreading fast and possibly by the very ones whose lives had been so dramatically changed. Lepers were often cast out of the city gates and were not allowed to go to the Temple to worship. They lost their family and all of their friends. While the emotional trauma would seem to be enough, lepers would also lose sensation and often incur further injury, because they couldn’t feel their disfigured limbs.
A leper coming to Jesus would have come with hope, but probably some fear as well. Life had not been kind to this man and Jesus was his only hope.
The leper walked up to Jesus and said, “Jesus, if you are willing, will you make me clean?”
Jesus answered him, “I want to.”
Jesus answered this man (in so many words) with a big fat “YES”!
Answering, “I want to” washed this vulnerable man with love and concern, like a loving parent, wanting to do whatever they can for their child.
It reminded me of a time when Jesus said “I want to” to me. God sent Jesus to die, so that his blood could be the perfect sacrifice needed to pay for our sins. Jesus’ willing death on the cross was horrible and feels completely unfair to me. But, it was necessary for forgiveness of my sins and reconciliation to Himself, as I, and millions of others have called on the name of Jesus to be saved.
But then, Jesus didn’t stay dead, did he? After three days in a tomb, he rose again and now sits at the place of honor-at the right hand of God in heaven and intercedes on my behalf!
All I can say to that is, “Thank you for wanting to! That selfless act has changed my life and given me hope! I don’t live in defeat, because you wanted to! I experience peace, because you give differently than the world gives. I can give grace, because you gave it to me. I can love those special people you’ve entrusted to me, because you set the greatest example of love. I believe in your power, because you’ve allowed me to be touched by it. Our very lives are walking proof that you “wanted to”. Thank you Jesus!”