Monday, May 06, 2013

For Mother's Day


We could let Mother's Day pass with a card and a call, or we could spend some time reflecting on what it means to cherish and honor our mothers.

Spurgeon would have us do the latter, and so would our dear Lord. Reading the following will leave us all smitten with a measure of grief. How much needless pain have we caused our dear mothers? How little real return have we given to their love and sacrifice? The following will smite us if it should; if it should, then we should thank God. It would be better to be grieved now, when we have the opportunity for change, than come upon a day where the only thing we can do is grieve. There's coming a time when we will have no mother to send a mother's day card. There's coming a time when we will live, either with grief, or joy, for the rest of our days, until Christ wipes away every tear, over the treatment of our mothers. Let's weep more now so we may weep less then.

But, you say, you are bringing me down on Mother's Day. I am bringing you down so that you may repent, and rise up. If you should feel sorrow, I hope you will feel sorrow: the kind of sorrow that leads to transformation. Here's the problem with Mother's day: it is possible to honor your mother just enough on this day to quell all the ways you dishonor her the rest of the year. As for holidays, I'm with the puritans: they are mostly superstitious, and an excuse for materialism and false shows of piety. They do more harm than good for 99% of the population. Mother's Day is no different; it lets us put our conscience to rest if we have mistreated our mothers; we have a holiday one day a year for Mother's so that we don't have to think about them the rest of the year. We have a holiday for someone else 1 day a year so we can have a holiday for our conscience for 364 days a year. God calls us to something different: to a life of repentance: not just to an occasional sorrowful thought, but a whole life of repentance. I'm glad, this Mother's Day, to have one more chance to repent, and try and do better. I'm glad God has granted me a mother on earth for another year. He is a good God; he gave me a good mother; I want to be a better son.

Without further ado:

The anxieties of parents are very great, and some young people do not sufficiently reflect upon them, or they would be more grateful, and would not so often increase them by their thoughtless conduct. I am persuaded that there are many sons and daughters who would not willingly cost their parents sorrow, who, nevertheless, do flood their lives with great grief. It cannot always be innocently that they do this: there must be a measure of wanton wrong about it in many cases where young people clearly foresee the result of their conduct upon their friends. There are some young men, especially, who in the indulgence of what they call their freedom trample on the tender feelings of her that bare them, and frequently cause sleepless nights and crushing troubles to both their parents. This is a crime to be answered for before the bar of God, who has given a special promise to dutiful children, and reserves a special curse for rebellious ones. All parents must have anxieties. There is never a babe dropped into a mother's bosom but it brings care, labor, grief, and anxiety with it. There is a joy in the parental relationship, but there must necessarily be a vast amount of anxious care with it throughout those tender years of infancy in which the frail cockle-shell boat of life seems likely to be swamped by a thousand waves which sweep harmlessly over stronger barques. The newly-lit candle is so readily blown out that mothers nurse and watch with a care which frequently saps the parental life. But our children, perhaps, do not give us most anxiety when they are infants, nor when we have them at school, when we can put them to bed and give them a good-night's kiss and feel that all is safe; the heavy care comes afterwards—afterwards when they have broken through our control, when they are running alone, and on their own account, when they are away from our home, when they are out of the reach of our rebuke, and do not now feel as once they did the power of our authority, and hardly of our love. It is then to many parents that the time of severe trial begins, and, doubtless, many a grey head has been brought with sorrow to the grave by having to cry, "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." Many a father and many a mother die, murdered, not with knife or poison, but by unkind words and cruel deeds of their own children.

Charles Spurgeon, An Anxious Inquiry For A Beloved Son.

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