Getting Back Up After Sin

stairs-blogSin stinks. And I think that the stench is even worse when we sin against our kids. Every time I sin against my toddler son or baby girl, I feel the weight of it twice over. So how do we find relief? What do we do when we mess up and dishonor God with our thoughts, words, and actions? We take a look at a very familiar Bible story found in Luke 1.

The Setting

In Luke chapter 1, we meet Zachariah and Elizabeth. They are both describes as being, “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).  But as with all good stories, Zacharias and Elizabeth face a large crisis. They have no children. And though many Americans view children as an imposition to their rightful exaltation of their selfish desires, the ancient Jews viewed kids as a blessing. They understood the Word of God. You were to want children. Because Zachariah and Elizabeth had no children, their lives were undoubtedly a conundrum to themselves and to those around them (Luke 1:25). They all had to be asking, “why would someone so godly not have kids?”

The Sin 

The answer, God even greater plans for them. Plans they could not even imagine. So God sent an angel to tell Zachariah that he was going to send the couple a son. And not just any son, he was going to send them a child with the spirit of Elijah who would turn many to the Lord (Luke 1:16-17).  And now we get to good part of the story. Zachariah says no. He tells an angel that he is too old to have a baby. He tells a supernatural being with a supernatural message that the supernatural cannot happen. He blows it; he sins. After a lifetime of following God, he doubts God’s goodness. He sins and becomes mute.

When we sin, we follow Zachariah’s pattern. We stop believing the promises of God. Sure we aren’t contradicting the word of an angel. Talk about an insane moment. But we can still relate.

If the truth be told, we are doing something far worse. We are doubting the love and wisdom of our risen savior. We are ignoring a lifetime with the savior, and once again trust in our flesh. And when we snap at our kid for interrupting our football game, for not doing the dishes, and for lying about her homework, we fail to trust God. We assume that God cannot work. We assume that happiness comes from us getting what when we want it. When it doesn’t  happen, we doubt God’s goodness and power. We sin. And as Zachariah, we suffer the consequences of our sin. We experience broken relationships. Momentary lapses come with real loss.

The Solution

So how do we get back on our feet? How do we recover? We do what Zachariah did. We start trusting in the Lord. We repent and remember that God is good. We remember that our obedience to God is not driven by others. It is driven by our love for God who first loved us. The solution for doubt is trust. And as we begin to renew our trust in God, obedience and joy will follow. When it came time to name John, Zachariah obeyed God. He named John, John even though all his friends wanted John to be Z. Jr. Zachariah obeyed (Luke 1:63).

The solution for all of us who have doubted God and made a mess of things is to trust and obey. Even if we have sinned against our kids who are too little to speak, we can find restoration through Christ if we will repent.

Have you sinned recently against your family? Repent, set your mind on Christ, and begin obeying!

Are you ready for joy to return to your home?

Science Says Girls Are Girls and Boys Are Boys

Girls are girls boys are boysBoys and girls are different. I know much in our culture says they are not. But the biologically boys and girls are different. The arrival of our second child has made this every so clear in recent days. Girls just do a lot of things faster than boys. Although she is only a month old, our little girl is far more interactive than our son every was at this age. And if you go and talk to a pediatrician or pediatric nurse, they will tell you that girls almost universally accomplish their milestones before their male counterparts. According to the website What To Expect, infant girls read emotions faster, talk about a month before most boys, and almost universally get out of diapers quicker. Boys on the other hand tend to be more active, more spatial aware, and are more physically aggressive.  As one psychologist told CNN,

And while 18 months is old enough to have been influenced by stereotyped gifts, research suggests that many of the differences we see are evident from birth, and may even be hardwired.

And the biological differences between boys and girls don’t disappear with age. Teenage girls have more body fat than teenage boys. Men tend to have more muscles. Women tend to have more white blood cells and are better equipped to fight off infections.

Regardless what we call people, their reproductive organs, bone size, blood cells, and true gender remain unchanged. We can call a man a woman, but he still can’t have an ovarian cyst. Much more than hormone levels must be altered for one to fully change genders. Not even surgery can do it. For a doctor to treat a person well and compassionately, he must treat them according to their gender at birth. To do otherwise, the doctor would waste time and medical resources. Biological gender is not a social construct, it is science and has to be dwelt with.

Thankfully, the Bible gets this. In Genesis 1.27, we read,

God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

As Christians who affirm the word of God, we are not affirming bigotry. We are affirming nature, good parenting, and good medical practice. God created male and female babies. Both have an equally immense value. Although we appreciate both boys and girls, we don’t get to assign their gender. Nor do we help our kids pick what they want to be. God and nature have already done that. The chromosomes are already set irrespective of our wants.

To care for our kids in a loving and understanding way, we must embrace their physical characteristics. We must treat our boys as boys and our girls as girls. This doesn’t men boys always wear blue and girls always wear pink. It means we give our boys more time to talk before we call our doctor in a panic. It means we don’t get mad at our daughter for not being able to lift what her little brother could. Nature demands this. God requires this. To be a loving parent, we must treat our kids according to their gender.

5 Marks Of A Great Friend

5-signs-of-a-good-friendLast week, we looked at what the Bible says about fools. Specifically, we examined 7 foolish character traits the define someone as a bad friend. (Click here to read that post) But the question remains, “What kind of friend should our kids have? What does a good friend look like?” Let’s take a look at how the Bible describes the wise (i.e. those gals and guys that will prove to be faithful friends). A great friend will:

1.    Love God

If a person is truly wise, they will love God, the source of all wisdom. As Proverbs 2:6 says,

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

A good friend must cherish the things of God. They must love God’s word, his church, and his people. A good friend will always seek to obey God. As Proverbs 1:7 famously says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

2.     Respect Their Parents

A wise child will value their parents’ advice and counsel (Prov. 4:1,5).  They listen when their parents offer them practical, biblical wisdom about dating, school, work, money, and friends. And because they listen to their parents, wise kids avoid many disastrous decisions. They bring both their mother and their father great joy. As Proverbs 23:24 says,

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Wise kids value their parents.

3.     Speak Well

A wise child does not speak all the time (Prov. 29:9). Their Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat can lay dormant for a few hours. They don’t feel the need to comment on everything thing their friends, parents, and teachers say. And when they do speak, they add to the conversation. Their words are kind, loving, and thoughtful. As a result, they often win people over to their point-of-view (Prov. 16:23).

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out. – Proverbs 15:2)

4.    Be Humble

How do you know if a child is humble? Try correcting them. Try to help them with the swing, complete their homework, or to stop sinning. A humble, wise kid will listen to you and value your input (Prov. 9:9). They will say, “Show me more!” The fool will say “No thanks; I got this old man” (Prov. 12:15). If anything the fool will try to teach you how to coach, teach, or discipline better. As the Scriptures say,

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. – Proverbs 12:2.

Let’s encourage our kids to befriend people who can accept criticism.

5.    Promote Peace

A wise, good friend makes friends where ever she goes. Instead of stirring up arguments and drama, a wise friend brings peace and harmony (Prov. 12:18; 29:8).  In addition to bringing peace with their lips, wise friends keep their friends out of trouble. They encourage their friends to complete their homework, to tell the truth, and to honor their parents (Prov. 13:14). As Proverbs 24:3 says,

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;

Let’s encourage our kids to value wise and understanding friends.
As the first point makes clear, to be a good friend one must be a believer. This is not to say that friendships with unbelievers are sinful, misguided, or meaningless. But the best and most meaningful friendships occur within the body of Christ. No one can be a good, wise friend apart from Christ since all wisdom comes from him.  Are we ready to help our kids find good friends?