If you read my post about teaching our kids to lie, then you know we’ve been struggling with lying among some of the children in the house. After doing a little bit of praying and searching, I decided that we would start studying the book of Jonah in school. It was interesting because when we reach chapter one, there were a few lessons for the kids that I anticipated, but also a few lessons I didn’t.
Disobedience is an action, not necessarily words
When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, he didn’t flat out tell God that he wasn’t going to go, he just ran away. He disobeyed God and refused to go to Ninevah without ever having to say a word. This is something that we’ve battled the kids with frequently. We’ve told them several times that by not doing their school work when we tell them to they are basically telling us no with their actions, even if they do not say no with their words.
Disobedience has consequences
The moment that Jonah ran away from God the consequences for those actions were set into motion. Disobeying God ALWAYS has consequences. One of the things we explained to the kids is God says children are to obey their parents. Even though that is a huge umbrella, there are still consequences for disobedience to us and to God. It was also a good reminder for me. Even though grace and love are important, there still must be consequences or disobedience.
Disobedience affects everyone around you
When Jonah chose to run from Ninevah, he left the people in Ninevah to fend for themselves against consequences from God they didn’t even know were coming. The people of Ninevah had nothing to do with Jonah’s disobedience, but they were going to pay the consequences.
Then, when Jonah boarded the ship in the Mediterranean Sea, he didn’t think anything about how that would affect those on board. When the consequences of his actions came raining down (literally), everyone in proximity to him were faced with the same consequences. The phrase, “guilty by association,” comes to mind.
We’ve tried to explain to our kids that sometimes it’s not what you did wrong, it’s what others did wrong while you were there that can get you into trouble. If you’re with someone that commits murder, if you don’t turn them in you’re officially an accessory to murder.
Your disobedience forces others to take action
When the terrified crew members of the ship realized their troubles were because of Jonah, they had to take some drastic action. As I was reading the NIrV to my children it said that when Jonah told the crew to throw him into the sea, the crew didn’t want to and tried to save the ship without throwing him over. When they realized that wouldn’t work, they threw Jonah overboard.
Whether it be natural consequences, or consequences from us as the parents, sometimes our children’s actions or the actions of others force us to do things we don’t always want to do.