“Catch the foxes for us, 
 little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, 
While our
 vineyards are in blossom.”
Song of Solomon 2:15

More often than I’d care to admit, I’ve faced a child’s sin head on, only to realize that he or she was modeling my own sinful attitudes and actions. Sound familiar?

If you’re like me, the initial shock of this realization was certainly enough to cause me to block it out and convince myself that I really didn’t see what I thought I saw! But the truth is… children shine a light on what’s going on in our own lives by reflecting and magnifying our subtle sins so that we can no longer ignore what we hadn’t seen in ourselves (or wouldn’t!).

The little foxes that Jerry Bridges calls “respectable sins” aren’t the big offenses we ditched long ago, but rather those understated transgressions which we justify as being acceptable because _________________. (You fill in the blank).  We have devised all kinds of reasons to justify these sins. Maybe your reasons sound something like this…

I’m talking in this tone of voice because no one takes me seriously! The real issue? Anger, feelings of self righteousness, impatience, lack of love – what?! But I love my child! Try reading I Corinthians 13 again this week and think of an irritated tone of voice as you do.

I snapped at (name of child) because I’ve told him the same thing 20 timesTODAY! What’s actually in my heart? Impatience (along with lack of follow through on consequences.)

You get the idea. But wait… there’s more!

How’s the routine in your home? Chores getting done well and in a timely manner on a regular basis? And what about sibling rivalry?

We’re quick to search out all kinds of ways to organize our home or create better systems to delegate chores and administer consequences. And how many books are stacked by our bedside to teach us how to get our kids to be kind one to another? If we took the time to dig below the surface of our own life, would we find laziness? How about a lack of self discipline? Or perhaps selfishness and pride? Oh, the children are definitely learning! But probably not the lessons we had hoped to instill.

We need to call these socially “acceptable” little foxes what they really are: SIN. Yes, they may be small in comparison to out right lying, stealing, and cheating, but they’re just as ugly and even more insidious.

How so? In the Song of Solomon, the little foxes would run into the vineyard along with the big foxes, but because they couldn’t reach the grapes, they would gnaw at the base of the vine, and over a period of time, the damage would kill the vine itself. This kind of attack was far worse than the initial loss of a few grapes from the bigger foxes!

If we refuse to recognize the little foxes for what they are, we may wake up one day to find they’ve done serious injury to our precious vines. To let them go unchecked is to let them destroy our families. So if we really want to “raise up the next generation” to be godly homemakers, then we need to regularly do some serious introspection and when we find those little foxes, repent!

I’m in this with you, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work! The vineyard is waiting!


(For further reading: Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, by Jerry Bridges, NavPress; 1St Edition edition [August 21, 2007])


Amy Walker

Amy Walker is a pastor’s wife and mother to three future homemakers. Her blog, Homestead Revival, is a glimpse into her journey to reclaim the home as a place of ministry to the family while encouraging women of all ages to join her in that endeavor. Amy’s passion is to see the next generation embrace being keepers of the home by living a simple life closer to the land (Titus 2:4-5; Thess. 4:11).

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Kate February 13, 2012

Amazing. I am guilty of this, even warned through prayer about hypocrisy this weekend. I know that I was led here and I am so grateful for your words.

Chelsey S. February 13, 2012

Very well said! I know that this is something I must work on. I do tend to make excuses instead of searching out the problem that is causing my sin. I guess if I am striving to make my children better I must repent and move away from my excusues for sin. Thank you for this lesson this morning!

Arabah Joy February 13, 2012

Amy, thank you for this well said, much needed post! You are spot on and until I call sin sin, change is beyond my reach. By calling it sin and knowing that God is for me, I am enabled to catch those foxes and see transformation from the inside out. Thank you so much for the reminder and the encouragement!!! It has given me great perspective for my day!

DAWN February 13, 2012

This was so good, I had to repost it. I noticed this very thing this weekend, not from my children, but from my spouse. A behavior uncharacteristic for him, but learned from me. It was ugly, and I realized when he did it how I have been looking and coming across most of my life. We all pick up the habits of those we spend the most time with.

mali February 13, 2012

very interesting reading. Thanx for helping us to open our eyes 🙂

tascha.piatt February 13, 2012

been finding some of those little foxes recently.
thank you for this post encouraging us that it is not hopeless! and our change can help our children change! God is so good to show us where we have erred. as hard as it is to admit, correcting the problem is worth it in the end!

Sarah February 13, 2012

CONVICTION! Argh! But I feel like I can’t keep up with it all! it’s too much – trying to deal with myself (my little foxes) and keep up on the housework and train the children (in the Bible, in Godly character, in peacemaking, in responsibility, the list goes on)…!

Heather :) :) :) February 13, 2012

Great post!!! I could identify with the one on being “impatient”. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

sara's art house February 13, 2012

Oh my goodness! This is where I am at with my kids!!! Wow. Just the other day I had to sit down with my 10 year old and talk and cry with him and tell him I’m sorry because I have not been a good example in certain areas. Thanks for the reminders.

Amy Doeun February 14, 2012

So my problem is dealing with my own sins. I have had 30 years of comfortable sinning going on and it is so hard to constantly be on my guard against my sin. But then I feel like it is hard to discipline my children for say impatience when I have just exhibited. So I know what I need to do but it is moment by moment so hard to change.

Leah O February 14, 2012

“If we refuse to recognize the little foxes for what they are, we may wake up one day to find they’ve done serious injury to our precious vines.” Exactly! Thanks for this.


The Homestylemom February 14, 2012

Bullseye! What a convicting post. That was a great suggestion to read through I Cor. 13 with my tone of voice in mind. Ouch!! What a wonderful mirror we have in God’s Word. Now, will I behold myself and walk away unchanged?

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