Growing up, my mom was beyond loyal to us. My brother and I were wild kids. Consistently, we found trouble and trouble found us. In the midst of our atrocious behavior in public, strangers would sometimes try to discipline us. No matter what we did, a ferociousness arose in my mom. When someone made the mistake of laying a hand on us, my mom laid a hand on them. While public was for fiercely defending her children, private was for disciplining the shit out of us. In the midst of it all, she often repeated, “I’m going to defend you even when you’re wrong.” Back then, I never fully appreciated these words…I do now.
Last week, my wife left on a trip. While she took our daughter with her, our four boys stayed with me. With ages ranging from two to four, they are a handful to say the least. For seven days, I did my best to fill their days with as much fun as I could. On a few occasions, someone tried to publicly discipline our passionate and free children. Often, what they saw as bad behavior, I saw as ingenuity. Over the last few days, my mom’s words returned. When anyone even got close to disciplining my children, a ferociousness rose up inside of me and I made sure that they better not even breathe near my kids again. The one person who tried to physically pick my child up and move them, was the recipient of an out of body experience from me. I promise that they nor anyone in the near vicinity will ever even think about touching my child again. I’m not saying they aren’t wild. I’m just saying that the wildness of my children is something for me to engage. No stranger is ever going to discipline my child. As these moments played out, I repeatedly told my children the same thing my mom told me, “I’m going to defend you even when you’re wrong.”
Over the years, I’ve always been taught to see God as a loving parent. My mom taught me what parental love in public looks like. When God’s children are disciplined, I have no doubt that God responds with a ferociousness. “God defends us even when we’re wrong.” Honestly, I don’t know that there is a greater love than a ferocious reckless abandonment for the sake of someone else. In word and deed, Jesus agreed. May we go and do likewise.