All around us we see youth from Christian homes who have turned their backs on the one true God. A decent percentage of them have walked away to live lives in utter, immoral chaos. But, more often than not, most are trying to live good lives, attending church on the Christian holidays, and trying to make a decent living and raise a responsible family…all in their own power, not truly knowing the Savior who gave His life for them.
When I read Titus 2, I realize just how far we have strayed from God’s plan for who we are supposed to be. Paul, in this letter to Titus, defines what we are to look like as believers in this passage.
These words seem almost ridiculous in a culture that prides itself on staying young, partying, living for the moment, and having a good time. Here are the adjectives that should be used to describe a godly man: sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
And godly older women: reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. We read on to discover what these good things are.
Somehow, in the last five years or so, I became one of the older women. It comes to all of us at one time or another. And here is what the Bible says I am supposed to be teaching younger women: to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, and obedient to their husbands.
And let’s go on to the young men, who do not escape Paul’s descriptions. Here is what he says they are to be like: sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a]8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.[b
So, if this is what true believers are to look like, then why do so many of not look like this? Or, in the light of our imperfections, perhaps an even more important question is: why do believers not want to look like this?
Could it be that we older people have dropped the ball?
It starts in our homes, where many of us allow our toddlers to control everything from the TV to the schedules. And then it blossoms into the churches, where we have allowed the youth to determine everything from worship style to church programs. When and why did the older generation relinquish their responsibility?
Was it when we, too, became more enamored with our stuff than with our Lord?
Was it when we got scared of the accusations and name-calling (fuddy-duddy, traditionalist) and ran away?
Was it when we made ourselves our priority and stopped spending time with our adult children?
Or perhaps it was when we started listening to worldly wisdom instead of God’s Word?
I have no idea, but somewhere there has been a breakdown of godly living being passed down from one generation to the next.
May the Lord help us not to be one of those weak links! I pray that my kids and grandkids would be stronger and holier and bolder for Jesus Christ than I am! I want my family to grow stronger in the Lord, not weaker.
Yes, this takes work–the kind that never ends. It takes late nights and long phone conversations and confrontations. Sometimes it is lonely. But we have a responsibility and we need to step up to the plate and take it seriously! Let’s stand strong and encourage those who come behind us to stand strong with us!
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a]8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.[b]
~Titus 2: 1-8
This post has been shared on the Encourage One Another BlogHop :)
It all started when I decided to start running again. I began getting severe pain in my left knee, but I figured it was just because I hadn’t run in awhile, so I pushed through it. But when the pain became excruciating, I decided to use the elliptical machine for a little while to try to settle it down a bit. About a week before my scheduled Color Run (the reason I started running again), I decided to finally go see the doctor.
He looked at it, poked and prodded a bit, and then put me on an anti-inflammatory, telling me to use it as much as I was able and to come back if it doesn’t get better.
Fast forward four weeks. I took the pills, ran only about a third of the 5K and walked the rest. And then I came home and limped around for awhile. But the more I used the knee the more excruciating the pain became until I was forced to return to the doctor. He scheduled an MRI, which I had done yesterday. I am now waiting for the official results.
So why do I tell you this? I assure you that it is not to garner your pity, concern, or prayers. It’s just a knee. I can still walk and do what I have to do. I am not dying.
But here’s the thing– every time I sit down, every time I get up, every time I move that left leg, every time I bend or lift or stand or walk, I feel pain.
And I realized something. I have had over 45 years of trouble-free knees that I took completely for granted. I never thought about how well they worked or how much my life would be affected if they don’t. All of a sudden, I am calculating just how much walking a trip to the mall will be or just how long I can work in the garden without completely debilitating myself. Almost everything is now done with that painful knee in mind.
Chicago sang a song in the 80s called “Hard Habit to Break.” In that song is this line:
You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, and I found out a little too late.
That’s just so true, isn’t it? This singer is singing this song about a relationship he lost with a special girl, but we could sing these lines about many valuable blessings in our lives that were never appreciated until they were lost, couldn’t we?
~Our babies and toddlers.
~Our youthful, wrinkle-free bodies
~Our good health
~The financial means to meet our needs and many of our wants
~Our vehicle, or refrigerator, or washing machine, or dishwasher
~Our cell phone
How many of these things have we ever said thank you for? How many of them have we lost and then went on to complain about? Whether it be the death of a loved one (a BIG deal) or a broken cell phone (so minor in the scope of life, it’s hardly even worth mentioning)?
To keep myself filled with a heart of a gratitude, I started a journal about six months ago. In it, I write three things for which I am thankful. I don’t write every day or even every other day. But a few times each month, I stop for a moment to truly ponder what I am thankful for and to give whole-hearted thanks to God.
Funny how my knees never made it in on that list. I guess I will be writing “working knees” the next time.
I want to appreciate what I have while I have it, instead of missing it and realizing a little too late just how incredibly much I had been blessed.
Last Sunday was Father’s Day. What a wonderful day to celebrate the men who have shaped us and who are shaping our children. I feel indeed blessed to not only have had an exceptional father, but also to have an exceptional father for my children.
I heard this blog post read the other day and was struck by its simplicity, its truth, and its applicability (is that a word??) to both dads and moms. But before we move on to the article, we need to face a hard truth: it is a rare father that does all 21 of these things. And mine certainly didn’t. But then he (and my husband) both have their own unique personalities and good traits that aren’t listed in this article.
If we are mothers reading this, then let’s appreciate the good things that are written here and also the wonderful things that may not be included here about our fathers and husbands. Let’s apply what we can and become better mothers.
If you are a father reading this, then I present this as encouragement and inspiration–not as a source of dissatisfaction or hopelessness. Be the best, most godly father you can be with the resources you have. That is all God asks of you.
And on a personal note, in this article the author shares how his father rubbed his legs when he was suffering from growing pains as a child. His mention of this brought one of my own favorite memories of my father rushing to my memory. How well I remember him rubbing my aching legs in the middle of the night, while we talked about what heaven will be like. It is one of my fondest memories of time spent with my dad.
This was written by father and pastor, JoshMcPherson. You can find his original post here.
I don’t want to be a good dad—I want to be a great dad.
But the longer I live and more ministry I do, the more I have come to realize there are precious few examples of grace in action when it comes to fatherhood. So on this Father’s Day, I wanted to take a moment, heed Paul’s exhortation (Eph. 6:1), and honor my own father, Greg.
Was he perfect? Nope.
Did he make mistakes? Sure.
Does he wish he could do things differently? I have no idea.
But in a land where few men finish well when it comes to the daunting task of fatherhood, I’ve found myself reflecting and marveling at the grace of God in my dad’s life. He loved Jesus, repented often, and poured his life into his two sons. How much more could a boy ask for?
In your life, Dad, I have found a roadmap for my own role as father. So I wanted to take a few moments, and tell you thanks from the heart of a grateful son. Specifically, thank you for . . .
1. NEVER PUTTING ME DOWN
Not once. You never made fun of me, mocked me, or talked about me like I wasn’t there. Never was I the butt of your jokes. In everything you built me up, encouraged me, and moved me forward. You always spoke of my future with great hope. “The Lord will give you great opportunities, Josh. Jesus has great plans for you, son.” This sort of prophetic encouragement every boy needs, and I got it in bushels. Thanks, Dad.
2. RUNNING INTO MY ROOM
. . . the night I screamed in agony from growing pains. I was eight. You were half asleep. Tripping on a toy you went sprawling across the room in your underwear. We both burst out laughing. Then you rubbed my leg-cramps for an hour. I slept in the next day; you were up at 5 a.m. and out the door. You put my need to be comforted in front of your need for sleep. Thanks, Dad.
You loved Jesus passionately and it drew me in.
3. BEING THE TOUGHEST MAN I KNOW
. . . and crying in front of me often. It’s good for a boy to see both. I’ve seen you cut down trees, fix tractors, build things, and tackle gut-wrenching church conflict with unflinching courage and razor-sharp biblical clarity. I’ve also seen you listen intently, hug often, and tear up quickly when moved by someone’s pain or God’s grace. Not the helpless, whimpering, cowardly sort of tears—the genuine, earnest, heartfelt tears of a man who feels and thinks deeply. You cry easily when talking about Jesus, the gospel, redemption, and the day God called you into ministry. I love that. Thanks, Dad.
I never felt more safe and loved than when held in your arms.
4. RAISING YOUR HANDS
. . . and singing loudly with the church. I distinctly remember as a young boy looking up and seeing tears roll down your cheek during worship. I couldn’t articulate it then, but I knew that you were singing to someone who meant everything to you, who was great and big and awesome and worthy of your allegiance, and who gave you great joy. That is a gift to a young man. You didn’t tell me to love Jesus passionately—you loved Jesus passionately and it drew me in. Thanks, Dad.
5. SPANKING US, THEN HUGGING US
That is a powerful parenting combination that no child’s heart can resist. I never felt more safe and loved than when held in your arms as the sting of the spank faded and the assurance of your unshakable love filled my little heart. Redemptive discipline is a precious thing. Thanks, Dad.
6. LEAVING ME NOTES ON THE BATHROOM MIRROR
Sometimes they were a verse written out you’d read that morning, or a prayer for something big I was facing, or an apology for something said the night before. No matter the occasion, they were always encouraging, full of Scripture, and right on point. This told me you were thinking about me even when you were gone, and were vested in my success. Huge. I still have most of them to this day. Thanks, Dad.
Always you were there, Bible in hand, heart open, mind working.
7. PUTTING MY FRIENDS TO WORK
Mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, working on a project in the shop. Every time my friends came over to our house, you worked us like dogs. I could never figure out why all the guys always wanted to come to my house.
But I figured it out later: you treated them like men. And then you’d fire up the BBQ and spend the rest of the day asking us what we wanted to do with our life that would make an eternal impact. Thanks, Dad.
8. READING YOUR BIBLE EVERY MORNING
That is the biggest memory I have: you, at the kitchen table, worn Bible in front of you, studying away. Not checking Facebook. Not returning email. Not reading the paper. Soaking in the Word. Sometimes tears were running down your face. Sometimes your eyebrows were burrowed in thought. Sometimes your head was bowed in prayer. Sometimes your pen was scratching furiously in your journal. But always you were there, Bible in hand, heart open, mind working. It left an indelible imprint on the life of a young boy about how a real man starts his day. Thanks, Dad.
9. LAUGHING LOUD, LONG, AND LOTS
At the dinner table. On a hunting trip. Or just whenever. Some of the most fun memories I have include watching you slap your thigh, throw back your head, and roar with laughter. I loved hearing your laugh. Still do to this day. You took many things in life blood-earnest, but you laughed at yourself often. That is a gift that has served me well in ministry. Thanks, Dad.
10. CHARGING ME RENT
You did this the day I turned 18 and was still living in your house. All of my other friends learned to freeload. I learned to work. And it wasn’t done as a cruel punishment, but a teaching moment for taking responsibility and growing up as a man. Thanks, Dad.
You were not living life unless you’re serving others and God’s kingdom.
11. LOVING ME WITHOUT QUESTION OR HESITATION
I have questioned many things in my life, doubted many things, faced many unknowns. But there is one thing of which I have never questioned: your love for me has been unwavering and relentless, dependable and true. It’s taught me a lot about how I am loved by my better heavenly Father. Thanks, Dad.
12. TURNING DOWN SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
. . . so you “wouldn’t miss the important years.” I didn’t appreciate it then. I do now. Thanks, Dad.
13. WRESTLING WITH US AS KIDS
. . . every night when you came home from work. You were probably exhausted from work, but knew we were waiting behind the couch to launch a surprise attack. You could have said you were too tired. But you didn’t. You wrestled until, giggling and short of breath, we begged for mercy (and asked for more at the same time). Thanks, Dad.
14. FILLING THE DINNER TABLE WITH STORIES OF GOSPEL VICTORIES
These were the best moments ever. To hear of a broken person made whole through the redeeming work of Jesus. My big takeaway from our dinner conversations was that you were not living life unless you’re serving others and investing in God’s kingdom. You whetted our appetite for gospel ministry early. Thanks, Dad.
15. READING THE PICTURE BIBLE EVERY NIGHT BEFORE BED
And oh, how you brought it to life! When Moses faced the Red Sea, I was overwhelmed with despair. When David stared down Goliath, I trembled with fear. When Jesus rose from the grave, we cheered and clapped for joy. Dad, when you read the Bible, The Story came to life. It’s no wonder your two boys have given their life to teaching others that same Bible. Thanks, Dad.
16. BUYING A HOT TUB
. . . so we could have a place to “hash things over.” Some of my best memories as a teen are coming home after something happened at school or with sports or with friends and asking, “Wanna hit the tub, Dad?” and knowing that you’d never say no, so we could have life-shaping conversations. Thanks, Dad.
17. TEACHING US THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORS
You did this by having multiple mentors yourself and regularly showing us how they helped you. To this day, learning from men around me is a deeply held value of mine, one that has served me, my wife, our family, and our church well. Thanks, Dad.
A wise man is not a perfect man, but a repentant man.
18. SITTING ON THE FRONT ROW
. . . at church, Bible open, taking furious notes and bellowing hearty “Amen’s” while I preach. In this, you show me what it’s like for a man to be a lifelong learner.
19. CONFESSING SIN OFTEN
You were not perfect, but when you messed up, you were quick to confess it and repent of it. These made me feel safe, like I could follow you without fear. There was integrity in your life, and it gave me confidence in your leadership. You taught me by your example that a wise man is not a perfect man, but a repentant man. Thanks, Dad.
20. BEING THE FIRST PERSON I WANTED TO CALL
. . . when we found out Ella Mae would be born with Spina Bifida. That was a dark-night-of-the-soul moment. A confusing time. And all I knew was I needed to call my dad. You listened and affirmed your love for us and God’s plan in all the pain. Then you prayed with us and invited us over to the house. We needed to “talk it out and make a plan for this new little blessing God’s bringing into our lives.” I needed someone to tell me that day that this little girl would be a blessing, and you did. Thanks, Dad.
21. LOVING MY WIFE LIKE YOUR OWN DAUGHTER
She feels your love, she feels your support. She knows that if we came to you for counsel with a relationship conflict between us, that you’d take her side first before you’d take mine. “I think we love her more than we love you, Josh. I know we like her more,” you’ve said with a wink and a laugh. But it’s communicated the point. And that’s a wonderful thing for a daughter-in-law to know. Thanks, Dad.
I could go on but I’m way over word-count. So thanks, Dad, for loving Jesus and living a life that makes it easy to remember and honor. I love you deeply and am still watching closely as you follow Jesus and finish well. You have lived a life worth emulating, and I’ve been taking notes. May I learn from God’s grace in your life to love my children the same.
One more child graduated from high school on Saturday. Three down –only one to go. Where in the world has the time gone? As I sat listening to the commencement speaker address the group of gifted kids that made up my daughter’s senior class, my mind started to wander (no reflection on the speaker–just on my easily distracted mind). What would I say if I had the opportunity to address these kids? Trust me, I am under no grand illusion that anyone will ever ask me to speak to a group of graduating seniors but it did make me wonder: What would I say to a group of kids ready to embrace life as an adult?
In some ways, it feels like just yesterday that I was the one hugging my friends, saying good-bye to favorite teachers, and smiling for the camera. But it wasn’t yesterday, it was a lifetime ago. And it is amazing what one learns in a lifetime. And so here it is in a nutshell–my commencement address to anyone who is finishing up an education, whether it be high school or college–
1. Develop a deep love for the Word of God. Let it function as your guide and help for the many tough decisions you will be facing. Make it your moral compass. Many has been the time that my husband and I have said to each other that we don’t know what we would do without the Bible. It truly is a source of comfort, strength, and guidance—like a solid rock amidst the crazy sea of life.
2.Who you marry matters–A LOT. It will make or break your life. Make a decision right now to only marry someone who not only says they are a believer, but actually lives like they are one. You will spare yourself much, much heartache in the long run. I have seen so many young people make the wrong assumption that the person they marry will eventually be saved or they will change that bad habit, but, while it does happen on occasion, it is much more likely that you will end up in a very difficult marriage. Choose wisely!
3. Make every decision with the desire to please the Lord. Whether it be the smallest thing (what movie am I going to see tonight?) or the largest (what career should I choose?), seek the Lord’s will. Rather than trying to gratify your temporal desires now, live with an eternal perspective. I’d like to say this gets easier as you get older, and while in some aspects it does, as long as we are on a fallen earth, this is difficult to do.
4.Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life has enough big stuff to work through without making the small stuff so significant. This one I have certainly learned (or shall I say continue to learn) firsthand. I have the personality that can get very easily distraught over something very trivial. It has taken many years –and still I sometimes catch myself doing it– to relinquish the worry and frustration over the stuff that just doesn’t matter in life. But I have learned that life is so much sweeter if you don’t let the small stuff get to you.
5.Feed your mind well. If you spend your nights watching mindless television shows that mock all things Christian, you will never grow as a believer. Do not accept the mindless entertainment of this culture but, instead, think deeply, and then teach that to your children. Choose a church that will help you to grow in your knowledge of biblical doctrine and in the application of God’s Word. And remember–just because something has a Christian label, doesn’t mean it is Christian. Do you remember that verse about Satan coming as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)? There are a lot of books, music, and other media that twist the truth just enough to be completely out of whack. Know the truth, so that you can spot the lies.
6. Whatever you do, do it well. Some of you know what path you are headed on and some of you are still trying to figure it out. As you choose to go a direction, sometimes God will close doors and make it clear He wants you somewhere else. But whatever job you happen to be in right now–wherever He leads you–do your work heartily, as unto the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23). This world desperately needs people with a good and honest work ethic. Be that kind of worker.
7. Feelings matter but the truth matters more. Be careful not to base your life on your feelings. This is especially hard in a culture where almost everything is based on feelings. You don’t feel like going to work? Just call in sick. You love that guy who doesn’t know the Lord? Just marry him. You don’t love that girl anymore? Just get divorced. You are depressed about having a baby? Just kill it. But God calls us to live righteously even when our feelings don’t agree. Your life will end up so much better –in the here and now and for eternity– if you follow this advice: Do what is right and don’t worry about your feelings.
8. Make people a priority. Material stuff is very enjoyable. I mean who doesn’t like a cool car or a new iPhone? But keep people more important than your stuff. Don’t get so wrapped up in texting or the world online that you miss the potential relationships right in front of you.
9. And, finally, stay humble enough to learn from those who have gone before you. Learning from the elderly is not “cool” in our culture. Youth, and all things young, are what it’s all about. But you will spare yourself much heartache if you take the time to ask godly men and women questions and then listen to their answers. Sure some of us older people can be downright irritating–we know it, too–but that is because we love you so much. Give us a break and don’t write us off completely because we have learned a lot and we would love to share it (at least most of us).
I know I will never have the opportunity to share this in front of a group of graduating seniors, but this is what I would say. I don’t mean any offense to the educational gurus out there, but let’s face it, by the time you are 35 or 40, no one cares where you went to school. In fact, they don’t even really care if you went to school. But they do see how you are living your life. Live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ and by doing so, go out and make a difference for Him. Live with conviction and integrity so that you will shine like a bright light in the midst of a very dark world. After all, that is what really matters.
When writing about the breakdown of the family in Communist China back in the early 1960s, Valentin Chu made this observation:
“The family everywhere is a man’s source of strength and courage as well as his emotional harbor at times of natural disaster and personal misfortune. In China it was even more so. It was society itself. The Chinese communists were acutely aware that their control of the people could never be effective unless the monolithic family system was destroyed, along with religion and conventional morals.”
Can you destroy the family without destroying pure religion and morals right along with it? Consider Mr. Chu’s words as you read the following excerpt–
Once upon a time, men were men, women were women, and both seemed to not only be okay with this, but they liked it quite a lot. More than a lot. They loved it. And they loved each other. All in a manner approved by the Southern Baptist Convention, of course.
Consequently, they loved their life. All of it. Not all of the time, maybe, but close enough to seem crazy from a contemporary perspective.
These men and women would come together to build homes; not the brick or wood kind, but the people kind. They would then seek to have and raise children. Many children. As many as they could have…and then they’d want more.
They loved their homes.
They loved their children.
They loved their God, and it was their love of and devotion to this God that had made all the rest of it possible. Life was good.
Older family members were lovingly tended to and taken care of by the younger. Their wisdom was treasured. Little boys and little girls basked in the glow of their stories, experience, and hard-earned depth.
They all lived, loved and laughed together.
They even ate together.
Are you feeling sick yet?
Is this all just a little too Little House on the Prairie for you? Or maybe a lot?
Don’t sweat it; that’s a normal reaction to the sight of God’s plan for families in action from a contemporary secular perspective. It happens all the time. It’s called “improper emotion sickness,” and while Dramamine doesn’t do much for this form of disorientation, there is a solution, so try to relax. We’ll get to it shortly.
This is just a hyper-Rockwellian fantasy spin on history, you might be thinking. But you’d be wrong. And I think you know it already. I think that we all do. All Common Believers, anyway.
We all know that God gave us something of matchless beauty and power in His ordination of the family, and that we, as we tend to do with every good and precious thing entrusted to our care, have profoundly trashed it in every way imaginable (and then some). So we like to pretend that those vivid, detailed family pictures painted in His perfect Word are completely detached from reality; rendered impossible by the “more factual” representation dictated by the prevailing views of the time in which we now live. We’d never say it out loud—God’s Word being “completely detached from reality”—but we definitely think it. And we act accordingly.
We divorce at rates in perfect harmony with the openly anti-Christian folk roaming the landscape. We pursue relationships and romance in the same distinctly unbiblical manners so highly esteemed and advocated by the culture. We know that homosexuality might technically be a problem, but we love Will & Grace. We value children like the culture, meaning: We murder and defend the right to murder innocent babies just as the world does.
When we do let them live, we abdicate our responsibility to raise and educate our children, instead shipping them off to government-controlled schools for Christ-less “education.”
We define success just as the world does, exalting the pursuit of careers, education, titles, cars, and houses well above the pursuit of a large and growing Bible-centered and happy home.
In short, we are the world. There is no discernable, substantive difference. So what is the solution to all of these profound problems and “improper emotion sickness” too?
Is it a new ten- or twelve-step program?
Maybe a cool set of acronyms to help you memorize a new ten or twelve step program?
Could it be a cool new hip and relevant ministry aimed at helping you realize your best family now by repainting your Christian faith with a bluesy, jazzy new perspective?
It’s just the Bible. Sorry folks; that’s the only real thing I’ve got to offer here. (And no, I’m not really sorry at all…and you won’t be either.)
Buss, Scott Alan (2011-09-25). Fire Breathing Christians, R3VOLUTION Press. Kindle Edition.
This is the first time since I have started writing the Wednesday Wisdom post each week that I have used the same book two weeks in a row. I am about half-way through Fire-Breathing Christians, the Common Believer’s Call to Reformation, Revival, and Revolution. I find myself wishing that every Christian would read this book. In a rather quirky and very readable writing style, the author educates the reader on many of the unbiblical teachers and movements of the modern-day church, using God’s Word as his grid.
I can’t remember where I heard this a few weeks ago, but wherever it was, I can’t stop thinking about it: The reason people refuse to face the truth is because it will cost them.
That is probably one of the most profound things I have heard in a very, very long time.
All of us have heard the excuses. But the bottom line, in most cases, is that facing the truth will cost something we don’t want to pay. And, many times, most of us don’t consider the greater cost at the end of the line.
I thought of this the other day when I watched a movie. It was an unrealistic, poorly cast movie about a couple who had adopted a little girl from an Eastern European country. In a few weeks, the wife came across some clues that this child was probably not an under-privileged child growing up in an orphanage, but instead a child maliciously stolen from her loving mother. As she dug further, she became sure that this was the case and went to a federal agent. At one point in their conversation the agent looked this brave woman in the eye and told her that the outcome for this would not be good for her. The child would most likely be reunited with her biological mother and she would go back to a life of waiting for a baby to become available. This was the time that she could choose to look the other way and move on with her new life of motherhood. No one would be the wiser. She could go home, treat this child as her own, and be a happy family.
Fortunately for the child’s real mother, this woman had the character and the courage to do what would cost her the most. She faced the truth.
Oh, she and her husband tried to rationalize keeping the baby for a few moments: The baby would have a better life in America and they could give her so many privileges and opportunities that she would never have in her country. But when the decision had to be made, they bravely did the right thing.
Would we have done the same?
I would like to think so. But sometimes we can’t even face our teenagers. Our spouses. Our friends. Our bosses.
Most of us walk right by truth and try hard to ignore it. Consider these examples–
–Our child wants to do something which we know is not a good idea. We will often cave because the cost (them being mad at us or screaming “I hate you!”) is not a price we are willing to pay.
–We find out our boss or a co-worker is dishonest. We will often ignore it because the cost (getting embroiled in drama, being harassed, or losing our job) is not worth it.
Many times, we can’t even face ourselves. Because to look at ourselves honestly is to see a sinner. And most of us do not want to see that. Even if we are saved and came to that conclusion a long time ago, we don’t want to be reminded of it over and over again.
And so we just live as if everything is just fine. Except everything is not fine.
There are a few of us who wisely look down the road and see if we don’t face the truth now, it will cost us in the end and so we do face the truth head-on –at least in the things that affect us personally.
But when it comes to a boss (who cares?) or our church (it’s none of my business) or a friend (it’s their life) we are much less apt to be willing to stick our noses in.
We often don’t have enough love for our co-workers and friends and church family to do what will help them the most because of the cost to ourselves.
And, honestly, I’ll grant you this: it takes a lot of tact, careful words, kindness, love, and, most of all, courage, to speak the truth, even when it’s going to hurt our reputations or affect our comfort level.
But perhaps being able to see ourselves and the world honestly and then being willing to act on what we see is one of the most courageous and vital things we can do. Instead, many–if not most–of us have been molded by our culture to shy away from it. We have also been scared by our culture and what happens to people who stand for truth–especially for God’s Truth.
We don’t have to be a preacher to share God’s Truth, we just have to know it (by knowing His Word) and then share it and stand for it. It’s that simple. But it’s that difficult.
But let’s always remember this: The price we pay for speaking truth may be very, very dear. And through the journey we may have many questions. But God faithfully and lovingly cares for us when we do the right thing. Always. He comes alongside those who stand for what is right in a way that sometimes seems even miraculous. Yes, it is difficult, but God is faithful and it is worth it.
How precious are the souls of children! For some reason, many of us mistakenly believe that working with children is somehow less important than working with adults. But in Matthew 19:13-15, we read the beautiful story of Jesus’s interest in the little children. They were worthy of His time and they should be worthy of ours. This song by Michael Card, written about that passage, touched my heart when I heard it the other day. Oh, how precious are the children! And oh, how right Michael Card is when he wrote the line: The springtime of their life decides the adults they’ll become.
What a privilege it is to serve children. I thank God for godly teachers and Sunday School teachers and mentors. God has used so many of them to change lives. May God bless them!
LET THE CHILDREN COME
Jesus looked so weary
from the worries of the day
But the look on his face lightened
when the children come His way
Before He could reach out to them
and join them in their play
His grown-up band of followers
told the kids to go away
Let the Children Come
Don’t dare drive them away
And then the kingdom comes
Hear the holy, foolish things they say
The springtime of their life decides
the adults they’ll become
So let the children come
Please let the children come
The golden gift of childhood
Lasts a lifetime if you try
The simple trusting faith they hold
Keeps scholars mystified
And so the Lord adopts us
As His daughters and His sons
For the Kingdom is for Children
So please let the children come
Let the Children Come
Don’t dare drive them away
And then the kingdom comes
Hear the holy, foolish things they say
The springtime of their life decides
the adults they’ll become
So let the children come
Please let the children come