As we continue in our Relationslips series at Real Life Church, I’d like to try something different. For Week 3 we are talking about Parentnoid – avoiding or overcoming the mistakes we make as parents. Since I have made too many “slips” to condense into written form, I thought we’d try a live parenting web seminar.
This Friday, October 2nd, at 9:00 PM (Pacific) I will be HERE talking about parenting. You’ll be able to watch live on your computer as I share some of my thoughts, experiences, and yes, “slips”, on parenting. You’ll also be able to submit questions or leave comments as I’m talking. If you want more on a specific topic, or have questions, or just want to tell me how good my hair looks, you’ll be able to do all that in a “chat window” right next to the video feed. I’ll keep an eye on that as I talk so I can respond in real-time to what you want to know more about.
But I’d love a head start on what parenting questions/issues/topics/slips you would like to talk about. Click the “Comments” link below and leave me your questions. Feel free to ask anything. I’ll handle everything that I can on Friday (and follow up with you later if I don’t get to your question). And then remember to tune in HERE this Friday, Oct 2nd, at 9:00 PM to join in the conversation!
Today Molly spotted a fly on the back door and took a swipe at it, not really expecting anything to happen. But something happened. She wound up with a handful of … well … fly guts.
Reminds me a lot of sin. We see a temptation buzzing around. We take a swipe at it, in reality not expecting much to happen. But something happens. And we find ourselves with a life-full of fly guts.
Or a marriage-full of fly guts. This week we are talking in our Life Groups about marriage – “Holy Matrimonotony”. Fly guts (a.k.a. “sin”) make marriage messy, difficult, and slippery. One little opportunity to be dishonest. One hour alone with the computer. One business trip out of town by yourself. One daydream of “What life could be like with ________…” One little swipe at sin and – SMACK – you got it. And now you wish you hadn’t. You see why it was dumb. You regret ever having the idea.
So now what? Molly could have stood there with a handful of fly guts in denial that anything was wrong. She could have blamed the fly for being there. Or not moving. She could have rubbed it on her clothes or the wall or her brother (who ran over to look) and made a bigger mess of things. But instead, she got rid of the fly guts – she washed her hands.
In your marriage (or life in general), you have choices, too. You can act like nothing is wrong and get defensive when people question you. You can blame someone else…or the computer…or society…or whatever. You can point out other people’s sin, too, and make a bigger mess of it.
Or you can confess it, ask for forgiveness, and get rid of it. Now doesn’t that just make the most sense? What is keeping you from getting rid of the fly guts in your marriage?
Sometimes even with all the information, people still choose to ignore, disobey, and walk away from God. These Israelites came to Jeremiah and asked him to pray to God and find out what they should do. God answers them and is very clear on what he wants them to do. He is graphic in describing the consequences if they disobey. He reiterates that bad things will happen if they disobey. And they still – after asking for his instruction – choose to flat-out disobey God. (And I’m gonna guess that when the predicted consequences come to pass, the people will find a way to accuse God of abandoning them!)
Obey God. Do what he says. He makes it clear what he wants from me. He tells me what will happen if I don’t. It is up to me to obey him.
God, thank you for being true and faithful. Your Word is clear in telling me how you want me to live. You are love and I want to obey you. Help me to obey fully and completely and always.
You know that distinctive sound of an object being thrust into a box fan? Kind of a really fast repetitive thud? Yeah – I had the pleasure of hearing that noise a few nights ago as my kids were playing upstairs. Followed by a gasp.
“What hit the fan?” was my immediate – and a little bit worried – question. Nathan sheepishly came down the stairs holding his hand. “What hit the fan?” I asked again.
“I think my finger got in there.”
“You think your finger got in there?”
How many times do we give God those kind of answers?
“I think some unloving words came out of my mouth.”
“I think my temper got lost.”
“I think my eyes looked at those pictures. Again.”
This Sunday I talked to the Renovate men about obedience. We looked at John 14.15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” For followers of God, obedience is not an option. God is love and we want to obey him.
But Nathan’s experience with the fan teaches us another important lesson: When we disobey God, we hurt ourselves. Are you lying to your employer? Guess who gets fired when they find out. Looking at images or movies you shouldn’t be? Guess whose relationships are going to be destroyed. Putting control, pleasure, image, wealth…ahead of God? Guess whose life will be empty, lonely, and filled with fear.
Fortunately Nathan’s finger didn’t suffer any damage this time. But he certainly learned the lesson we have told him time and time again. Will you be wise enough to learn that lesson, too.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” — Jesus
One of the girls, in mostly-pretend tears – “Dad! Nathan hit me with (insert just about any object that can resemble a light saber).”
Nathan, running down the stairs behind her – “I didn’t hit her hard enough to hurt!”
Me, to Nathan – “But, you DID hit her?”
Nathan – “Yes, but not hard enough to hurt.”
Me – “But, you DID hit her?”
Nathan – “Yes, but not hard enough to hurt.”
[Repeat until Nathan just says, “Yes”.]
Me – “Do you get to decide what hurts someone else?”
And then I get convicted myself. How many times have I argued with Amy about why what I said or did shouldn’t have hurt her? How many people have I brushed off or flat-out ignored because I thought they were acting more hurt than they really should have been? How does that square with the times I get angry and bitter at people who refuse to believe that what they did actually hurt ME?
Who in your life is saying, “You’re hurting me!”? What would change if you started believing them?
You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. But I would speak with you about your justice.
These are the words of the prophet Jeremiah (12:1) and I’ve been there. Plenty of times. As my grandma would say, “God, I have a bone to pick with you!”
I got very curious about Jeremiah’s challenge to God – to “speak with” Him, so I did a few simple word studies. And I was blown away.
“Righteous” = right, lawful, correct – specifically in governing, in one’s cause, in conduct and character, in what you DO
“bring a case” = to strive; to contend; to disagree; to argue
“speak” = to talk; to communicate; to “chat”
“justice” = judgments; decisions; processes
Notice the contrasts between “righteous” and “justice”. And between “bring a case” and “speak”.
So here is how I would rewrite Jeremiah’s thought: “God, you are always right in what you DO. I know I can count on you DOING the right thing, even when I argue with you. But … can we chat about your decisions.”
Or even simpler: “God, let’s talk. I don’t want to argue – you always win. I want to start from a posture of trust and faith. But I really want to understand you on this one…”
Does this sound like your prayer life? Do you approach God seeking to understand Him, or ready to pick a fight? He is big enough to handle both, but I wonder if we’d be better off to come seeking to understand Him instead of getting Him to understand us.