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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roadside Justice

February 12, 2012

For weeks my son and daughter have been burdened with concern for their cousin. We prayed and called and texted but never received a response. This caused greater concern, more praying, another call and another text. Still no response. We assured our children that she was simply busy with school, family life and extra-curricular activities. We knew nothing was wrong because we would have been near the top of a very short call list if there was a problem. Despite our assurances the praying became more fervent. They were convinced something was wrong and they needed to pray for God’s protection on her behalf.

Saturday night we finally heard from her. The kids were already in bed so they did not get to talk with her. She asked if she could go to church with us and come home with us afterwards. Naturally we said yes and made arrangements to pick her up in the morning. We agreed to keep it a secret so the kids would be surprised. The next morning we took a circuitous route to church that took us right by cousin’s house. Although they had been to the house many times before, they did not recognize where we were. And as I approached the car with cousin in tow the screams of joy echoed from inside.

The day went well and we were on the way home to enjoy the afternoon when “ugly son” decided to make an appearance. The grumbling, complaining and rude ordering started. My husband quickly pulled over, put the car in park and took “ugly son” out to the sidewalk. There, in the cold winter wind, a lesson in graciousness and love was undertaken. He was reminded that this attitude was one of the reasons his cousin stopped coming over for play dates before. The whole thing lasted a couple of minutes and we were on the road again headed for home.

We used to make many roadside stops to deal with attitude problems and occasionally administer some discipline but we hadn’t had to do that for a long time. I truly thought those days were behind us and was disappointed that we were once again visiting this method. But, whatever Daddy said on the sidewalk stuck because the rest of the afternoon was filled with the sound of laughter and the joy only children can exhibit when deep in play.

Attitude is not something we can sit back and hope they grow out of. It is not a stage. And it is infectious. We learned early that if we did not stop immediately and deal with the “slightly unpleasant child” we would soon be dealing with a full grown “ugly child”. It is much easier to deal with “slightly unpleasant” than it is to deal with “ugly”.

Today, the children are still riding the high of spending time with a much beloved cousin.

GRA'CIOUS, a. [L. gratiosus.]
1. Favorable; kind; friendly; as,the envoy met with a gracious reception.
2. Favorable; kind; benevolent; merciful; disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings.
Thou are a God ready to pardon, gracious and
merciful. Neh.9.
3. Favorable; expressing kindness and favor.
All bore him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded from his mouth. Luke 4.
4. Proceeding from divine grace; as a person in a gracious state.
5. Acceptable; favored.
He made us gracious before the kings of Persia. [Little used.] 1 Esdras.
6. Renewed or implanted by grace; as gracious affections.
7. Virtuous; good.
8. Excellent; graceful; becoming.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving on another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” –Ephesians 4:19

Monday, February 6, 2012

We're Like Zebras

January 30, 2012

“Mom, can Jesus make Himself a Pillow Pet?”


“Why not? He’s God and God can do anything.”

“Well that is true but a Pillow Pet is not a living, breathing being; Jesus is.”

“Then can he make Himself a zebra?”

“I suppose he could but why would He?” I knew he was going somewhere with this train of thought and I wanted to watch what I said very carefully.

“We’re like zebras.”


“You know, zebras are black and white. Black means sin and white means righteous.” I told you we were going somewhere with this.

“That’s true.  Scripture says we’re black with sin and Jesus can wash us white as snow. So, would we be black zebras with white stripes, being mostly a sinner with a few moments of righteousness? Or white zebras with black stripes, being mostly righteous with moments of sinfulness?”

“Well (insert long pause here), if we repented and Jesus saved us we would be white with black stripes; if we didn’t then we would be black with white stripes.”

Can’t say I agree with the black zebra with white stripes theology, but he was making point about born-again believers still battling with fleshly natures so I let it go.  Black zebras with white stripes is a discussion for another day.

“What color of zebra would Jesus be?”

“All white.”

By George, I think he’s got it! For weeks my little, big boy-man (by the way he hates that nickname and any combination thereof) has been struggling with the idea that repentance means you have to be perfect from now on. Now I think he understands (at least a teeny little bit) that as born-again believers we will always struggle with our worldly natures. The important thing is that we are white zebras with black stripes striving to be white zebras, and NOT black zebras with white stripes.