Monday, May 3, 2010

Priority #1 - My God - Standing

There is one principle I try to teach my children and those who come to me for advice on dealing with difficult people:

If you will wait on the Lord, and do your best to stand in your integrity when dealing with wicked people, the Lord will either move you, or move them.

Psalm 37:10 puts it this way, "A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found."

If you look up this Scripture on Blue Letter Bible, you will find many similar Scriptures.


My three children have been over-achievers this year. In the course of this school year they have achieved karate belt promotions, job promotions, new jobs, first-degree black belt, promotion to teen court judge, new scouting levels, troop vice-president, troop president, patrol leader, troop scribe, Timothy award, Provost's Gold Scholarship recipient, Science Olympiad bronze medalist, and high school graduation. Like many great achievers in the world, much of their motivation, unfortunately, stemmed from the pain of words of failure that were spoken over them from a mouth that was supposed to bless them.

Proverbs 26:2 (CJB) says, "Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow, an undeserved curse will come home to roost."

During one particular martial arts test, two of my children were paired and with each kick and punch, they named their frustrations and hurts. I'm proud of them for that. They could have manifested their pain in self-destructive ways, but they channeled it through their self-determination.

Last year, a couple we have known for over a decade decided to "share" with us their distaste of our parental choice of not hiding difficult situations, what they consider, "grown folks business" from our children. LOL! I have to laugh at that one. My children have endured more "grown folks business" than many grown folks. Losing a sibling, financial issues, and let's not even mention all that goes with being a pastor's kid!

There is a method to our madness. Psalm 78:4 from the Bible in Basic English, "We will not keep them secret from our children; we will make clear to the coming generation the praises of the Lord and his strength, and the great works of wonder which he has done."

How do you show true praise? Just throwing up your hands and saying, "Hallelujah" when you are walking on the sunny side of the street and everything is going your way? Psalm 50:23 (CJB), "Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; and to him who goes the right way I will show the salvation of God." We are reading Leviticus in our daily Torah portions right now. Sacrifices were bloody. They were painful. They would have been an incredibly ugly ceremony to watch. The sacrifice itself probably wasn't to happy with it either.

Two things stand out in this verse:
1. Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice.
2. Go the right way.

We have not been perfect parents, but I hope and I pray that as my Diva prepares to leave us in a few months for college, that we have demonstrated an effort to model those two things. Praising our way through death, discouragement, disassociation, and everything in between. And second, that they can see that righteous living is it's own reward.

And finally, when you don't have any answer at all, you can't hear a word from the Lord, and it seems like all of your efforts are in vain, don't go your own way. Stand, endure, and persevere until your help comes, for it will surely come.

If we hide our struggles, we will also hide our praise.