Listen to Your Mother–She’s Probably Right

May 11, 2019, 11:44 am

“Be sure your sins will always find you out!” My mother used to frequently caution my brothers and me with this dire warning as we were growing up. And I hated it every time she did. As a teenager, I felt like she tried to use this warning as a behavioral control to make us follow the rules. Since I disagreed with many of the rules in our house, and didn’t consider breaking them a “sin,” it was an easy warning to discount. As an adult, I simply believed my mother was being melodramatic. 

Now, I wish I had paid a little closer attention. 

I’m sure my experience isn’t that much different than many other people who had a mother who cared about them but who still made tragic choices that violated everything they’d been taught. I guess some of us are just hard-headed and have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, when we made those tragic choices, our mothers who had tried to warn us ended up suffering the consequences of our decisions too. 

My mother is not to blame for the choices I made–I am. But she still suffers the indignity of people thinking she wasn’t an effective parent and the shame of knowing she has a son who chose to ignore her many warnings and careful instructions. And yet, she still visits me, writes me, and even manages this blog for me–which probably all earn her nothing but more criticism from people who believe she should cut me out of her life like they did.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to hold the contradictory feelings of shame and deep disappointment at the same time as the unconditional love of a mother. Yet, I know many mothers do just that. They don’t deserve criticism or judgmental thoughts and whisperings. They deserve to be learned from, for they teach us how to love radically. They teach us how to love the unlovable, even our enemies as Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount: “Love your enemies…for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matt. 5:44ff, 46 ESV). 

I might have thought my mother’s warnings were melodramatic, but she was right. In fact, she was only trying to teach me what Jesus also taught in Luke 12:2-3: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (ESV). Trust me, this is not melodramatic; it’s the truth–take it from someone who has had his dark secrets brought to light and his private whisperings shouted from the rooftops. 

Mom, I wish I had listened to you. Thank you for trying to teach me, and for loving me through even the darkest, most shameful parts of my life. 

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you.

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