Once, when my son Cole was three, I talked to him about stranger-danger. I told him that there are strangers who drive through neighborhoods like ours, looking for little boys to steal. I said that even if someone offered him candy, he must always stay away from strangers.
Cole listened with big, serious eyes.
Then, I decided to test him. I said, “Ok, Cole. Let’s say a man pulls over and says, ‘If you get in my car, I’ll give you candy!’ What will you say?”
Cole thought about this for a moment, then with all the earnestness he could muster, he told me, “Well…. I would say…., ‘Can I have the whole bag?’”
I told him that’s exactly why he needed to stay beside me for the next five years!
Three-year-old Cole didn’t think it was possible for one of the bad guys to offer candy. Good guys give candy. Not bad guys! I used to shudder, picturing him riding out of town in somebody’s back seat with a big ‘ole bag of candy in his lap!
The child just didn’t know what was good for him. But he was convinced he did.
Oh, how I can relate to that. In the moment, I'm so convinced that it's going to be ok if I ignore God's warnings about indiscipline, worldly entertainment, gossip, complaining, or a short fuse. How could the bad guy possibly be offering these sweet options? But when I ignore the warnings of my Father, I'm setting myself up for deception and entrapment.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways.