Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm Still Learning...
If you read my post earlier this week about Psalm 19 "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you"...I'm still learning about this.
I thought I'd invite you in, just in case you don't have this thing down yet either.
The verse that broke me this week was Ephesians 4:29.
"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everyhting you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
Just before this, in verses 26&27 it says
"And don't sin by letting anger gain control of you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil."
As if that's not enough, let's add Matthew 5 to it; Jesus' teaching about anger.
21 "You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' 22 But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
I have never considered myself an angry person. I certainly don't consider myself someone who uses foul or abusive language. So I have never let these verses have their full impact on me.
God spanked me with them this week.
There are times I get so frustrated with my disobedient little one, that I feel angry. I don't throw things. I don't hurt people. I don't cuss, so I should be okay, right?
WRONG. I let that frustration, which turns into anger, come seeping out of me and onto my children, and it's poisonous. My tone is ugly. I say things that are NOT an encouragement to anyone. I throw myself a pity party. (It's NOT a fun party!) I feel utterly exasperated, and all my children know it. And I feel a little justified, because my job is really hard right now with this one! He's exceptionally rebellious! It's ridiculous how much time I'm spending on discipline with him each day for the same offenses over and over again! (That's the pity party...but wait...)
God has been speaking to me...I'm so glad. I loathe this sinful stuff in me.
First, I realized I am a parent who looks nothing like God, as a parent.
I am exceptionally rebellious.
It's ridiculous how many times God has to teach me the same lessons! Same story, a year later, six months later, a week later, 10 minutes later!
I am exasperating!!!
But how does God love me, as my Father?
I read the Psalms, like Psalm 145.
"The Lord is kind and merciful,
slow to get angry, full of unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation."
"The Lord is faithful in all he says;
he is gracious in all he does."
The Psalms speak constantly of his unfailing, unwavering love. Faithfulness is his character. Patience is just who He is. He is merciful and compassionate. He loves me without condition. He disciplines me for my good, and because he loves me, not out of exasperation with me.
I kept praying for God to make me more patient with this exasperating child, whom I love with all my heart! God had to change my heart and He's trying to make me a parent more like Him. I'm so far from that right now, but I want to be so bad!
No matter what the situation, how badly we think we've been wronged by someone, or how our rights (that we think we have) have been violated, we cannot let anger gain control over us!
That doesn't have to mean a physical temper tantrum. But it means letting thoughts enter my mind or words come out of my mouth that are NOT good and helpful, and they are NOT an encouragement to anyone. That has to be one of the most convicting verses in the Bible for me! This means EVERYTHING I say should be profitable! Matthew 5 says calling someone an idiot is an act we will be judged for! Letting a wrong-doing take over our thoughts, cause us to start the internal rant, the private argument in your mind, that you always win so eloquently, or making a tiny little jab with someone, even in the most discreet, passive-agressive way, is inviting the Devil in to your life! We have literally sent him an invitation and said "Come on in!" It makes me sick that I do this!
God has so much to teach me still! I want my thoughts, my words, my attitude to always reflect His character, and not my sinfulness.
I want to be a parent like He is.
Praise God that He convicts us of our sin, and we have the opportunity for true repentance, as described in James 4:7-10.
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. 9 Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.
And Praise God that He is making me more like Him, so I can reflect Him to my children and others in my life, and not just me.