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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Lessons I Taught My Kids that Have Come Back to Haunt Me

I'm having a lot of trouble with the seemingly violent nature of many Scripture passages, lately.  Even though there are a certain number of people who are seriously concerned about how negative my writing sometimes comes off, I actually tend to stop just short of including things that, from my perspective, tip my words toward the pessimistic.  Stay with me, I know you may not agree.

Today I read Psalm 104:33-35, "I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.  But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more" (NIV).

My sincere temptation, if I was going to use this passage, at all, would be to stop at verse 34.  It's not that I don't take all Scripture seriously.  It's not that I don't hate having evil in the world.  But I do struggle with passages that call for the "vanishing" of people... any people... even really horrible people...

And so, much of my writing turns very inward focused and asks questions such as, "What am I doing that might be considered wicked?", "What will God do to make changes in and through me that lead to redemption?", and "How might this affect you?"

I was just telling someone a story from when my oldest daughter was in a first grade Sunday School class.  The lesson for the day was about love.  I'm relatively sure the teacher thought this was going to be an easy one, and let's be real, first grade Sunday School teachers need easy ones, sometimes!  It's a tough job!  The teacher had paper on the wall, and the kids were supposed to write down the names of who and what they loved.  Of course, the vast majority of the wall was filled with words like Mom, Dad, Grandma, God, and Jesus.  This is Sunday School!  A few kids had the nerve to include things like pizza, my dog, and video games, because, remember, this is also first grade.  But then, scrawled right in the middle of it all were the words, "my enemies".  And it had to be my kid.  Typical.

If ever there was a need for a Sunday School parent-teacher conference, this was it.  I mean, who teaches a six year old this stuff?  As a side note, this may have been the first time, but it has certainly not been the last, when I have had to say to this child of mine (now fourteen), "So...  while you were having that conversation, did the people present know who your parents are?"  She is her mother's child, for better or worse.  No filters.  Just truth spewing out all over the place.

But isn't this what we should be teaching our children?    

Matthew 5:43-45, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (NIV). 

The words of Jesus.

Look, I know it's scary to consider the things of which our enemies might be capable.  No one wants to walk into danger or pain or death.  But Jesus flipped the Kingdom upside-down, friends.  We're supposed to heap love on people who hurt us. 

Let me be the first to say that I have failed at this over and over and over again.  I am responsible.   But it's not too late to change...

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