My angelic little boy came downstairs this morning with marker all over his shirt and legs. (Just yesterday he had gotten a spanking for drawing on the carpet with a colored pencil. Apparently he felt it was the medium that I had objected to.) Anyway, then his sister yelps, "MU-THER, Joe colored on his blanket with a MAR-KER!" I led Joe upstairs to assess the damage, grabbing the wooden spoon along the way. As soon as we got into his room, I said, "Show me where you colored on your blanket." Looking as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, my little cherub snuggles on his bed in his sheet, smiles sweetly and says, "Tell me about God." (When I relayed this story to Jeff, he suggested I might have replied, "I'm fixin' to let you meet Him!")
On a serious note, though, it was a good opportunity to reiterate what it seems I'm always telling the children. That we love them so much we cannot allow them to disobey. Not only are we commanded by God to discipline them, teach them, train them, but if they won't obey us, then they won't obey God. As parents we won't always be there to tell them what the right thing to do is. They'll need to rely on the Holy Spirit's leading and their knowledge of scripture.
Yes, God loves us and is merciful and gracious, but He is also just. Sin is a big deal! If it weren't, would God have sent His only begotten Son to take on the sin of the world? Christ's death and resurrection were the only way that we could be reconciled with the Father. If it were not, surely God would have chosen any other way than for His Son to die on a cross.