Mothering of Smothering?

Jon Burgess


“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew‬ ‭23:37‬


Just previous to these heart felt heart rending words Jesus had delivered a scathing correction to the religious leaders of His day. As any good parent Jesus said what needed to be said and not what they wanted to hear. He wasn't making any friends, but that wasn't what He was here to do. He was calling people to Himself, but He wouldn't force them. He brought correction, conviction, and then consolation, but they wouldn't have it... And it broke His heart. You can hear the ache in His words as sees how many refuse to come to Him, refuse to come home. It's the ache of every parent whose corrections have been ignored and whose affections have been rejected. Jesus was showing us all- true love can't be forced. True love is a choice.


As I read of the strong will and hard hearts of the Pharisees I'm reminded of how I treated my Mom the same way. I would argue, I would stubbornly refuse, I would demand my way. She would correct. She would stand her ground. She would pray that my heart would be broken by Holy Spirit conviction. When her words were ignored she trusted God's Words to get through. Like Jesus, her heart broke as she watched my rebellion. Like Jesus, she never gave up on me. She mothered me, but she didn't smother me. She made clear the path back to right standing but didn't force me to walk it. For someone with such a strong will, to be forced to turn rather then left to choose would have turned me away even more so. As parents Cyndi & I know this exasperation. When we see our boys making wrong choices we just want to reach inside of their heads, shake their brains around a bit and make them understand. For some reason we have ended up with a house of strong willed boys. Go figure. Smothering them towards God doesn't work any better with them then it would have with me when I was there age. We have to make clear that God's arms are always open and waiting to gather them up and bring them close. No matter how far away they have walked, it's only one step back through repentance in Jesus Christ. Smothering is forcing. Mothering is freeing. Smothering is controlling. Mothering is caring enough to bring what's needed in the moment- no more, no less and trusting God with the rest.


Lord, thank you for a mother who didn't smother me but covered me in prayer when I chose to walk away. Thank you for my wife who loves and cares for my boys in such a way that they want to run back into Your loving arms. Thank you for my mother-in-law who taught Cyndi from early age of the loving arms of God that have been holding her all of these years.

Devotions for May 06

2 Samuel 11,12
Psalms 51
Matthew 23

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