Monday, August 3, 2015

“Parenting is a tough job. Advice is easy. So is critique.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 52). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

It really is.  My dad said that advice not asked for stinks.  And that is true.  It is so easy to give advice especially if you don’t have any experience, have you noticed that?  But Proverbs also says that there is safety in many counselors.  And that is good advice. 

In following up on this thought Larry says, “But for those of us in the midst of the battle, it's not so simple. Things that sound easy in a seminar or Bible study are usually a lot more nuanced in real life… I'm reminded of the simple advice to keep my cool and never discipline my children in anger. Sounds good. Makes sense. But I, for one, could never figure out how to pull it off. What was I supposed to do? Wait until we were all having a good time— then bam!?”

He then goes on, “Rather than preening in pride, casting harsh judgments, or wallowing in self-pity and unwarranted guilt, we simply need to cast aside the myth that produces these unsavory responses and live in light of the truth. As parents, we do have a sacred responsibility for how we raise our kids. But we have no ultimate control over how they turn out. Admittedly, there are plenty of Christian parents who have good reason to feel guilty. Hypocrisy, angry outbursts, inattention (or its mirror opposite, hyper control), poor marriages, and broken homes are all too common. The price for each is always high. But when godly parents do the best they can and yet fail to achieve the outcome they hope for, they need a break, not a drive-by ‘guilting.’ And when things go well, we need a lot more gratitude and a lot less pride. So, if you're a parent, give it your best shot— then go take a nap. And if you've already given it your best shot— take a long nap. You deserve it.”

Now that is very good advice.  At least I think so.

What about you?

Friday, July 31, 2015

“To begin with, Proverbs 22: 6 is not a promise. It's a proverb.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 41). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Now this is an important distinction in how we view the proverbs. 

Larry says, “Promises are absolute, especially God's. When he makes a promise, it's a done deal. You can take it to the bank. But a proverb is different. It's an observation about how life generally works. It tells us what usually happens, not what always happens.”

He goes on, “The book of Proverbs is called Proverbs for good reason. It's comprised of God-breathed observations about life. But the observations are far from universal. The righteous aren't always honored. The wicked sometimes succeed. The diligent can lose it all, and the lazy can strike it rich.  The same goes for Solomon's encouraging words about children who are properly raised. It's a proverb, not a promise. Not many will depart from their spiritual roots. But some will.”

So Proverbs 22: 6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” is a proverb not a promise.  And because of that Larry says, “So it's not saying that a properly raised child will never rebel. It's merely saying that he's unlikely to do so.”

Now if we see it as a promise there is the potential of pride if they don’t turn from God or guilt if they do but if we see it as a proverb then we strive to do all we can to train them and guide them but at some point it is up to them to decide as they get older.  We always will have a major burden for them but they still have a choice. 

So how does this thought make a difference in your day?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

“A Sin Walk.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (p. 37). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

It is really difficult for us to want to forgive a person who has really hurt us or who has been unjust in an action toward us.  As Larry says, “Forgiving is a big deal. It's not just for those who have done the little things that get us so worked up. It's for those who are responsible for the big stuff as well.” And we need help to want to do it.  

Larry suggest that a sin walk is a good way to help us get over the hump when we are hesitant to forgive.  But what does he mean by a sin walk?  He says, “No, I don't mean a walk on the wild side. I mean a literal walk in the neighborhood or down by the beach during which I do my best to remember all my sins I can recall. And I mean all. I try to go back to the first brownie pilfered from Mom's cookie jar.”

He continues, “It's always an eye-opening exercise. It usually exposes my ‘righteous anger’ as not being so righteous after all. It's humbling. It renews my awe and gratitude for the incredible grace and forgiveness I've received. It makes playing the role of an unforgiving servant seem ridiculous. It's also been known to send some chills down my spine and tears to my eyes.”

There was a story about Jesus and a group of righteous leaders who were about to stone a woman to death because they found to be an adulteress.  And Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground each one of their sins and he said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without a sin be the first to throw a stone at her”  And they each one dropped their stone and started walking away.

God in his grace has been so good to us.  How can we not be gracious and good to others?  So he says to you and me, “If you have not sinned, if you have not wronged someone else then go ahead and not forgive them.”  But not one of us can say that can we?

Larry says, “When we offer forgiveness to those who have no excuse— and for things most of the world would consider unforgivable— we become most like Jesus. Remember, he died for sins he never committed to forgive people who had no right to be forgiven.”

He did that for you and me didn’t he?