Continuation of Jesus the Christ Chapter 15 studies...
More and more I'm beginning to see that I was as the self-righteously pious Jews during Jesus' ministry for much of my life. Their piety was not true worship but fear of punishment. Instead of embracing the beauty and love of righteous living, I feared the penalties of falling short. I can't believe Jesus wants this. Now I understand that the commandments are there to bring freedom from the consequences of sinful behaviors and true joy. Yes, it is important to keep the Sabbath day holy, but in doing so, we must do good on the Sabbath and not simply rest from earthly labor.
This idea of true piety can be taken into so many areas. As for child rearing, you cannot force a child to do good but fear and forcefulness may push them to choose the opposite of the parent's values. Perhaps my fear that they would do wrong actually drove some of them to do just that. If I had put my energy into learning to control my own behavior, making it more Christ-like and loving, my influence would have been deep and lasting. I saw that with the last one. Although he's not perfect (and neither am I), my concerted efforts to control actions and reactions bred a strong influence as well as an outgoing but introspective adult. Maybe he would have grown up this way regardless. Nonetheless, I can't help thinking that a loving mother produces a loving child, which echoes a viewpoint of our recently departed prophet. "I have never accepted the principle of `spare the rod and spoil the child.' I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. Children don't need beating. They need love and encouragement," Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1994.
Anyway, this is a long way from keeping the Sabbath holy. However, this is the direction the Holy Spirit led me, and all commandments point to the greatest commandments. "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," Matthew 22:37-40.