Monday, September 14, 2015

It's Called Respect!

I’m not going to sit in a corner this morning praying weak prayers for God’s comfort to those families who are grieving over the murder of a 31-year old KSP Trooper assigned to protect our county.  I am angry, and I’m doing something I don’t often do.  I’m writing angry.  For once, I’m speaking up in an effort that SOMEONE will hear and take notice.  And I’m going to warn you – I will talk back if you give me smack.  If you can’t take the heat, get your tail out of this kitchen.

Friends, we have an epidemic in our society that is killing us.  I don’t care if it’s black on black, black on white, or white on white violence.  I don’t want you telling me this life matters or that life matters.   In fact, I’m sick of the whole slogan because it is WRONG.  EVERY life matters because life does not come from ourselves but from God.  Children, regardless of color, are a gift from God (Psalms 127:3) and we all start as children.  If you want to start labeling violence by color, then I’m going to call you a racist. When God looks at us he does not look at the flesh but the heart!  Our hearts are all the same.  If you’re standing for the rights of any color, you’re blind to the fact that we are ONE society – not divided by color.  We go to ONE school system, we have ONE government, we nave ONE protection system, ONE work force. 

It’s not even the violence that’s the problem.  If you find a weed in your garden, do you snip the weed back? No! You dig it out by the root! At the root of this problem is a lack of respect for authority.  God has clearly said we are to be subject to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1).  Yet, we do not teach that at home.

Here’s how I see it.  Little Johnny (or Janie) gets to be a toddler.  We tell them “NO!” and they do it anyway.  We smile, throw up our hands and say “Boys will be boys”.  Fantastic.  Now you’ve given them an excuse rather than punishment. 

Then little Johnny throws a fit at the grocery store because you won’t buy him candy.  What do you do?  You buy him candy to shut him up.  Fantastic.  Now Johnny knows that being angry will get him anything he wants.  Be sure you enjoy it because you’ll get a replay of this behavior the next time you go shopping.  Unless you decide that you just can’t take Johnny shopping.  Yes, that’s right.  You can just throw your hands up and quit.  That won’t solve the problem, but it does end your frustration…for now.

Then little Johnny is at the Doctor’s office.  He refuses to share with another child one of the toys left in the waiting room.  “Johnny, stop being selfish!  I’m going to count to three and you’d better give it back! One…two…two and a half…THREE…Johnny, I said give it back! Just wait till I get you home!”  And when you get home Johnny has worn your nerves to the bone and you don’t have the energy to fight any more. 

Respect for authority must begin in the HOME – not the school.  God said in Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”  I interpreted that a little bit different for my kids by telling them, obey me - or you might not live so long! 

There is NOTHING wrong with disciplining your children, and EVERYTHING wrong when you will not.  Proverbs 13:24 says “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”  Don’t tell me you love little Johnny and let him walk all over you, shouting, throwing things, punching you, biting you.  Instead, give me little Johnny for a day and I’ll give you back a child who knows that if they bite, they’ll get their tail set on fire.  And you know what – they won’t do it again!  How do I know that to be true?  My kids don’t bite and neither do I.  We want to rewrite what discipline should be, but God has already TOLD US what it should be.  Do we think somehow we are wiser than God?  He said not to spare the rod.  He never said to beat your child, but to discipline them.  Get a brain! It’s swift, it’s to the point, and it’s remembered.  And not once did I leave marks on my children – that’s not discipline, that’s abuse.  You CAN discipline your children the correct way, but only if you’re willing to listen to all knowing, all wisdom GOD.  Take a look around you at the kids who are well behaved.  How are their parents disciplining them?  I’m betting their doing it the way God designed because I don’t know of any other method that is as effective. 

The fact of the matter is that so many want to be their kid’s friend instead of their kid’s parent.  You don’t have that choice!  And it’s far better to be a parent than a friend, because that’s what your kids need.  Kids need boundaries if you want them to grow up to be happy adults.  If you think they’ll respect you if you are their friend, think again! 

Then little Johnny goes to school.  The teacher tries to discipline little Johnny, but all she can do is pull his “card” from green to yellow because she isn’t allowed to make him obey her rules.  She sends him to the Principals office.  There he’s told not to do it again, and maybe the next step of discipline is taken.  He’s sent to alternative school.  My son described it as “it’s not so bad, they even bring you your lunch!”  He didn’t get to enjoy that privilege after that.  I believe this disciplinary design was more about taking the distraction of a disobedient child out of the room than disciplining them. 

If little Johnny becomes a persistent problem in school, he then gets suspended.  Well, now that’s just wonderful.  Little Johnny can either take to the streets and make his own way, or his parents can take him to another county to go to school.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s just like Cuba sending their convicts to the U.S. back in the 70’s.  Our school system gets those kids. 

So how did Johnny go wrong?  When the teacher tried to discipline little Johnny and pulled his card, the parent calls up the teacher and gives her what was probably the last piece of their minds, since by that time little Johnny has torn their home up by doing whatever he wants.  And what does the teacher do? She gives up on Johnny because she can’t deal with him, just like the parent did.

Then little Johnny is playing ball and the coach shouts at little Johnny.  In a scene from my memory I’ll tell you that Dad takes to the ball court and cusses out the coach.  Great job Dad.  You’ve now taught three lessons in one!  Johnny now knows that he doesn’t have to respect the coach, he doesn’t have to obey the rules, and he can use foul language at the coach as well.  And oh yeah, when he comes home and gives you that foul language too – remember you taught him and pat yourself on the back.

My kids have often had teachers and coaches they didn’t agree with.  But when they came home with their story of Mr. or Mrs. Teacher said so-and-so, my response was for them to speak up if they were in the right, otherwise, take the discipline!  If the coach won’t play you – tough cookies.  I’m not talking to the coach for you either.  It went so far in middle school that I actually told my son’s principle to wear his back side out the next time he was disrespectful, or I’d come down there and do it for him.  He finally did, only once, and that was the end of his problems at school.  Without consequences to actions, no child will change. 

Little Johnny becomes a teen, he gets a license to drive, and now he’s got a curfew.  But little Johnny seems to never know what time that curfew is.  You’ve told him over and over, and just as he went out the door you said “Don’t forget – you need to be home by 11:00”.  But Johnny says “I’ll be home at 12:00”.  So…12:00 it is.  You’re just thankful he’s setting a curfew.  But does he make it by 12:00?  No!  And you lie there in your bed wondering if this is the night you’ll get the call that he’s in an accident.  You lose sleep over a child that will not obey you – and never has.  Sometime around 1:00 Johnny stumbles in, obviously under the influence of something other than God.  You tell yourself “He’s just sowing his wild oats!” But here’s the thing.  Some of those wild oats grow up to be given names, and live in homes without their father.  Do you want that for your grandchildren? 

Consider this.  Exactly what do you think there is for a child to do around here after 11:00 at night?  Now, do you want your child doing that?  Then you set a curfew.  If it’s missed, they don’t get to drive for a week.  When your teen has to ride the bus to school, you’ll find they don’t mind a curfew at all.

Finally, little Johnny becomes Big John.  He’s grown up and now out in society.  Maybe by some amazing grace from God he’s now graduated high school and he’s made it to adulthood.  John gets pulled over for a DUI.  When he gets to the jail, he calls home and the parent rushes to get him out.  That’s right.  Cause you know we cannot bear to see “little Johnny” have to endure discipline.  I mean, he’s never had any!  It’s so cruel to have him locked in a cage!  Oh how I wish when parents showed up with bail money they’d lock them up in their children’s place! 

John continues down his road of rebellion, knowing now that even the cops that pull him over aren’t going to be able to keep him.  His parents will bail him out.  Then one day he hurts someone.  It may be a wife, a child, a police officer, but eventually the rebellion and hellion in him grows to full fruition because you did not pull it out by the root!  Then you cry into your pillow wondering where you went wrong.  The bail is set too high now for you to afford, and Johnny is looking at prison.

Parents, I ask you, is this the life you want for your child?  If you have a child that’s in any part of this process of life, my question to you is – where is God in their lives?  Respect for authority begins with respect for God.  People who respect God do not take other people’s lives.  How many murders do you see going to church?  Moral code begins with an education in who God is and who Christ is.  Where do you think we got our laws from anyhow?

My second question to you is – how’s your discipline at home?  Does your child respect you?  Or do they talk back, do things you ask them to do on their own schedule, or completely ignore you?  Friends, as long as that child is in your house, your job is to discipline them.  Even if they are taller than you – your job does not change, though the methods of discipline will need to change.  Take the cell phone, take the keys to the car, and deny them access to their room!  I once changed out the door knob on my daughter’s room and locked her out of it for a week because she refused to clean it.  And when she got it back – she cleaned it without saying a word.  When she missed the bus, I took her phone.  She stopped missing the bus.  Without actions against bad behavior, what you put up with will continue – and get worse!

You must do whatever it takes!  Discipline them or they will bring you more heartache than you can even bear.  You will be that parent who fears their own child entering their home in the middle of the night.  You will be that parent that fears the phone call in the middle of the night.  You will be that parent that just wishes they’d done things differently when they had the chance.

For far too long we’ve had generations of parents who choose not to discipline their children, or not to do it effectively.  How’s that working out?  Take a look at our society!  Young men beating up their girlfriends.  Girls aborting their babies or even worse, killing them and throwing them in dumpsters.    

Parents, for God’s sake, start teaching your children respect for authority.  Sit them down.  Explain it.  They have to respect God, You, their teachers, their coaches, the bus driver, the older people in the checkout lane, police officers, the IRS, everyone in authority!  If they don’t learn it from home, where else will they learn it?

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” – Proverbs 13:24

One last question parents.  Do you love your child enough to demand their respect?    




Saturday, September 12, 2015

Give Till You Love

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

If you feel like you don’t have enough – give, because God sees your giving as “sowing”, and will allow you to “reap bountifully”.
If you feel like you don’t want to give – give, because the love of money is the root of all evil.  Letting go of it ensures it does not become your idol.

If you feel like you cannot give cheerfully – give and then give more, because eventually the cheer will come when you lose your love for money.
If you realize your motivation for giving is only to receive more from God – keep giving, and learn to love the feeling of showing love to others more than being selfish.  You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. 

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”  Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8-12

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19