Thursday, May 29, 2008

There is a Time……

In the past, I’ve been accused of being a phony, a fake, not who I present myself to be. The reason for this is due to not always behaving the way at home as I do in public, or at church.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Okay, now, this scripture says to let my light shine before men. That means to represent Christ when I am around other people. The Bible also tells us to be Christ-like always. Whether in public or in private. (That’s also called Integrity).

Does this mean I am not allowed to have feelings? Does this mean I am not allowed to get angry or upset or voice my opinion when something bothers me?


Take a good hard look at some of the most prominent people in scripture.

Remember King David? He was a leader of men. David is known as the man who sought after God’s own heart. Not a bad thing to be known for. Do you think he spoke sweetly to his mighty men? Given the character and fortitude of those thirty seven Mighty Men, I doubt they would have followed Richard Simmons into battle, or risked their lives to bring PeeWee Herman a drink of water. No, David spoke to them with authority. In public, as King, David glorified God and wrote hymns of praise and worship. In private, David tore at his clothing and cried out in anguish over his sinful nature and begged God to forgive him. David was a man. He sinned. He prayed. He lied, he killed, he hid, he repented, he glorified God. David sought after God’s own heart, but he didn’t always behave the same way in every circumstance.

And Moses? How do you think his voice sounded when he told Pharaoh to let his people go? The people of Israel loved Moses and followed him to the Promised Land. Even though he screwed it up and got them lost for forty years (I think his wife may have stopped and asked directions). When Moses was teaching them the things God had told them, his voice was most likely kind and loving, but when the people started acting stupid and selfish, like when they began worshipping the golden calf or other idols, Moses got pretty well ticked and hollered at them. Was it because he hated his people? Of course not! He yelled at them because he genuinely cared about them and desired for them to get right with God.

When Jesus himself was in public, speaking to crowds of people, or ministering to someone one on one, He spoke gently and lovingly and Glorified God with his words and his actions. When alone with his disciples, he spoke to them sometimes in a teaching manner. Sometimes he got upset with them and had to speak to them authoritatively, especially during those times when they just didn’t get it or fell asleep when he’d asked them to stay up with him and pray.
“Can’t you guys stay awake with me for even one hour?!?”
Given the situation of that statement, I believe Jesus was getting somewhat perturbed with those guys! To say the least.
Think of how he must have spoken to Peter when Peter needed correcting.

Remember how Jesus spoke to the religious leaders when he called them a brood of vipers and a bunch of hypocrites? He was yelling at them! He royally told them off!

Remember, everything Jesus did was to glorify His Father in Heaven, even when he angrily drove the moneychangers out of the temple.

Yet Jesus never sinned.

He spoke to different people in different ways. When people needed love and kindness, that’s what He gave them. When people needed a strong hand and words of correction and discipline, He gave them that too. But He did it ALL, out of love for those people. He gave them what they needed for that particular time.

So how are we to treat our own family inside of our homes?
I do believe we are to speak to our spouses with love and tenderness.
But what happens when there is a disagreement or argument? We raise our voices and sometimes use angry words. Does this mean we don’t love them anymore? No, but if we’re not careful, they may take it that way.
The Bible tells us to not sin in our anger. That means that it is okay to get angry, just don’t lose control of yourself. We’re also supposed to speak kindly to others, especially our own family.

But it isn’t always easy, is it?

What about the kids?

It’s hard enough sometimes to be nice to our own children, but what about blended families?
It takes some time to learn how to deal with children who may have been raised and influenced by someone else whose ideas, values and morals are completely different than your own.

This gets me into trouble on a regular basis.

I am seen as the bad guy lately, because we (I) have rules in our house and I choose to enforce them. The rules are rather simple and designed to encourage the children to be considerate of others and respect people and other people’s things.
I personally don’t think it’s such a bad idea.
But, they’re upset with me because I refuse to allow a teenage girl to share her bed with her boyfriend in our home.
I refuse to allow alcohol of any kind in our home.
I believe that a 17 year old boy who brings his mother’s car back with less gas than when he took it, is saying that he does not appreciate the use of the car and doesn’t wish to use it anymore.

I believe the kids (all teenagers) should pick up after themselves, clean up their own messes, and think of others first.
When they don’t, I say something. I don’t yell at them, but my words and my tone are not always “flowery, joyful, and full of praise” for them.
“You don’t speak to your own son that way!”
“I don’t have to.”

I believe that those children….ALL children….should be respectful of their mother.

Many years ago, I attended a men’s weekend retreat with my church. One of the speakers spent the weekend giving us note cards to write on and asked each time for us to write down five words that describe who we are at work. Then later, five more words (separate card) for who are at church. Then, even later on, five more for who we are at home.

Finally, he asked us to compare each of the three cards and asked us to match up any words that match. Very few could match words from card to card. The point was to illustrate that we tend to act differently depending on where we are. The Bible tells us to be the same no matter where we are, or who we are around.

Naturally, you can’t be the fun loving jokester at work that you might be at home or church.

But I think the kind of words that describe us in each place should include the words “Integrity, Honest, Fair, Consistent, Thoughtful, Trustworthy, etc.”
You know, things that show we are followers of Christ.

I try my best to do that. But when the young people in your charge don’t know the difference, it becomes difficult. And when the other parent won’t back you up, it is dang near impossible.
Just so you understand: I do not yell at the kids and I do not belittle them, but I will be firm with them when I need to.

I am gaining new understanding as to what Soloman meant when he ranted in Ecclesiastes that “This is so meaningless! Good people are seen as bad, and bad people are seen as good!......”

The Bible also tells us that there is a time and place for everything. A time to laugh, a time to cry. A time for joy, and a time to pitch a fit. (heavily paraphrased by me).

When raising children, or just simply dealing with them, I’m not so sure you can use the same joyful tone of voice in all circumstances at all times. If you know how to accomplish this, then please educate me. I’d really like to know.

We are to train up a child in the way they should go….
If we don’t, then someone else will.
Who will that someone else be? An ex-spouse with a hidden agenda? TV? Their peers? Some drug dealer?

I don’t want to take that chance.

I believe children should be held accountable for their actions, more so as they grow older.
There should be consequences for bad behavior. If you think your children are perfect and never behave badly, then you need to seek professional help.
My own step-children are generally good kids, but every once in a while, they need correction and teaching and discipline.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

I believe it is important to do this at home too. But I also don’t think it is all sweetness and joy.
Sometimes you need to be firm and enforce the rules.

I understand that not all parents believe this way. There are some parents who will not say “No” to their children and refuse to discipline them for fear of hurting their feelings or destroying the child’s self-esteem. They don’t want the child to feel bad. I also believe that to be irresponsible parenting.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
(Proverbs 22:15)

That verse changed my son’s life! For the better.

If a child misbehaves, or does something wrong or gets themselves into trouble…they are supposed to feel bad! That’s how they learn.

There is a time and place for everything.

Me? I’d rather have fun and enjoy the family.


You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.(1 John 4:4)


Anonymous said...

Oh my, I feel for you all. Parenting is one of the hardest things we will ever do. There have been many moments, in the past, in which I have allowed myself to wonder..."why did I ever sign up for this?" But, then something happens and it makes it all worth it.

I pray things will go better..

(The kids know if the parents are divided...I hope you and your wife can end up on the same page soon.)

EE said...

You have integrity, Dude. I like that!

Dr.John said...

It is hard to be a parent. Even harder when some of the kids your parenting aren't yours. But it sounds like what your doing is right.

Gerbil said...

Hang in there Alpha Dude... I'm a stepdaughter myself and it took me some time and maturity to be able to look back and see what my stepdad was doing for us.

And I'm the mother of stepkids. And there are days, oh there are days, when I wonder how we all survived to adulthood because if this is what we did to our parents...?

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

I fully agree with you. This post is so in line with my own parenting ideas that I could have written it myself!

It's more likely Moses got lost because HE WOULDN'T stop and ask for directions. LOL

One thing I've learned in my years of parenting is that each child is different to the next in terms of personality and character. While they need the same rules, guidelines and discipline --- I discovered my delivery had to be tailored to bring about maximum results in each respective child.

For instance, a spanking was about all that would work with my daughter when she was little. That child could phase anyone out of her earshot. I would warn her that a spanking was up next - and usually that was enough. When the warning didn't work - I spanked her and that was the end of the situation.

My son? I rarely spanked him. It was soul crushing to him. He did get spanked, but I had to use other methods to get through to him.

My daughter was heartier, more resilient and thick skinned compared to her sensitive brother who couldn't bear a raised voice and would crumble whenever he heard anyone even having a mild disagreement.

I do think the way we talk to kids is important. At least that's what I've found with mine.

One thing my kids respect about me is that I'm not too proud to apologise when I get it wrong. Even to them. (something my own dad demonstrated to us growing up. thanks dad!)

It sounds to me like you are on the right track. Just keep seeking God and He'll keep blessing your family, and giving you strength and wisdom;).