Are we lying to ourselves? (Parable of the Dishonest Daughter)

I would submit, that many Christians are lying to themselves about what they really value. 

A girl walks up to her mom and says, “I want a clean room.” Happily surprised her mom responds, “Ok, if you want it clean, then go clean it.”

An hour passed by and the mom checks in on her daughter to see what progress she has made. Disappointed, but this time not surprised, the mom can see that no progress has been made. Stepping over laundry that is cluttering the floor, she pries off her daughter’s headphones. “What happened?” the mom asks, “I thought you wanted a clean room?”

“I do want a clean room,” the daughter replies, “I just couldn’t find the laundry basket.” Frustrated that she was interrupted, the daughter puts her headphones back on and begins to once again be distracted from what she desires.

Moments later her mom returns to the bedroom with a laundry basket. “Fill it up, put it in the laundry room and I’ll do your laundry for you.”

Another hour passed by, so the mom returns to check on her daughter once again. Her daughter is still curled up on her bed with her headphones on—consumed by a world of distractions.

A few days later the daughter invites friends over to their house and as they walk into her room she starts making excuses to her friends, “Sorry that my bedroom is such a mess. I really like a clean room, but my schedule has just been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to keep it clean.”

The mom hears her daughter from the other room and won’t have it. She walks into the room and interrupts, “no you don’t.”

The daughter is taken back and defensive, “’no I don’t’ what?”

“No you don’t really want a clean room. You are lying to yourself and your friends. You had the opportunity, but you chose to spend your time on something different. If you really wanted a clean room, you would have a clean room. You have all the opportunity in the world, but you chose not to keep your room in order. It’s not your teachers fault for assigning homework or your bosses fault for scheduling you on the weekend, it’s your decision…. but you could prove me wrong…”

The two friends are feeling very uncomfortable at this point and the daughter is angry with her mom for calling her out, she blurts out, “well you are wrong.”

The mom says, “I hope so. But I think if cleaning your room was your top priority, you would have already started cleaning.”

Many Christians are lying to themselves. Many of us are like the daughter in this story, we say that we want faith to be our top priority, but we don’t do anything to make that happen.

We continue on in our apathy, our comfortable faith that is far removed from the life of risky compassion and dangerous generosity that Jesus called us to. We keep ourselves at arms distance from the very people we are called to love and withdraw our faith to the private sphere.

I write this frustrated with my own apathy to speak God’s word with boldness and make disciples. I write this desperate to collectively shake off these chains of distraction that hold back Christians from humbly speaking the word of God to their family, friends and community.

Lord, help us overcome apathy and become people of boldness. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and guide us in how to reach those around us. Stir up a passion in parents to pass on their faith to their kids. Direct conversations among co-workers and give us clear opportunities to share our faith. Give us eyes to see how we can express your compassion to the people we bump into each day. Help us be disciples that make disciples.

Grace and peace,

Brandon Maddux