He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
As we walked through the produce department the other day, my son asked for a peach. When we went over to the peaches, however, they were hard as rocks. While I don’t typically eat peaches, I do know too hard or too soft is not the way to go. Too hard indicates they are not ripe yet, and thus not very tasty nor juicy. Too soft means they are overripe, and thus losing flavor and becoming mealy. Good peaches, on the other hand, are just right: firm, with a little give.
Since all the peaches were hard that day, we walked away without a peach, but I did not walk away without a life lesson, for as I was later reflecting on the events of the day, God reminded me of how those peaches relate to my life.
As a ripe peach is firm with a little give, so too I must live my life in obedience to God yet with grace for those around me. I must be firm in what I believe. I must not give in to every little temptation. Nevertheless, I should not be legalistic either. I must remember no one is perfect, including myself. I must cling to what is good while forgiving as I have been forgiven. I must do all things decently and in order while understanding not every situation will fit perfectly into the established order.
When it comes to being a parent and a teacher, I again must be firm with a little give. Raising a child with no standards produces a rotten peach–mushy, mealy, and not good for much, if anything. Yet raising a child without grace produces a peach too hard to penetrate. As a parent and a teacher, I cannot be afraid to teach my children to live righteously–I cannot be afraid to give them consequences for their actions—yet I also must remember that no one is perfect; sometimes a little grace goes a long way.
Living life as God intended requires balance. Therefore, I encourage you today to join me in asking God to help us be similar to a perfect peach: firm, with a little give. Join me in choosing to follow Christ’s lead and Christ’s command. Let us together commit to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (be firm). And let’s love our neighbor as ourselves (with a little give). For “on these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV).