Thursday, August 18, 2011

Temperature Wars - Rules or Relationship?

As mothers, we are the thermostat of our homes.  We are the spirit of our home.  If there's a bad spirit in my home, there's a big chance it's my fault.  There are so many ways that we, as wives and mothers, can warm up our homes. 

Did your "standards" and rules come out of your relationship with Jesus?  Or were they handed down to you from your parents, peers, or maybe a desire to be "somebody"? 

Jesus said of the Pharisees in  Matthew 15:9 - But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

The Christian Life is NOT a list of RULES and STANDARDS.  The Christian Life is a RELATIONSHIP with Christ.  Standards are NOT the goal.  Christ IS the goal.  Having a love (HIS love) for Him and other people is the goal.

I had a child in a class once that was very disobedient, disrespectful, and dishonest.  This child was also a "church kid" which means this child's parents were faithful to our church.  When I confronted this child about his/her actions, the statement was made, "at least I don't wear that" (pointing out another child in my class).

The other child that had been pointed out was a "bus kid", or a child that had been picked up by one of our Sunday School buses and brought to church.  This child came every week and was one of the sweetest children I've ever met.  He/She also heard the remark and looked down at his/her clothes with a look that said, "what's wrong with my clothes?  What can I do about it?."  I felt so bad.  The parents were poor.  The home life was bad.  They had very little money.  They also were not Christians.  They didn't know that they were supposed to wear their best to church  (it is quite possible that they didn't have anything better) and they certainly didn't understand this "church kid's" ideas of modesty.

I was a fuzz on the angry side after that comment.  To be treated in such a way because of your clothes was just too much  for me -and by a "Church" kid!  At first I was angry at the "church" kid.  I ranted about it to my husband later that day and was reminded that the "church" naughty child was only being what the parents had trained their child to be. 

You see, this child lived in a home where "standards" were the goal.  The attitude was one of 'we are Christians. We love God, and so we wear this, not that.  We don't go here, we don't do that, we don't say this, and we certainly don't hang out with so-and-so because they do bad things.'  Basically, what they were saying by the way they lived and acted was, "We are Christians, so it's OK for us to be snotty, stuck-up, snobs; after all, our rules make us better than everyone else". 

I beg to differ...!

Our "standards" should come out of our love for God and our RELATIONSHIP with Him.  If we do things to gain the attention and respect of others we have done it in vain (for the wrong reasons and nothing good will come out of it).  If we do it because we feel that it's the best way for us, personally, and because we feel that it pleases and brings honor to God, then we are doing it for the right reasons and God will get all the glory, and not we ourselves. 

The true mark of a Christian is Christ's love.  We love others because Jesus loved them enough to die for them.  We treat our sisters and our brothers (our husbands and our children also) with love and kindness even when they don't deserve it.  Not because they have our same standards and beliefs.  Not because they deserve it, or because we like them.  We treat them all with love and respect for the simple reason that God loves them.  Jesus died for them in love and we are to be messengers of that love. 

If a child is truly to have a relationship with God when they are adults, they are going to need to start that relationship when they are children.  (A person can begin that relationship any time, but  the sooner, the better.)  We must teach our children the rules and guidelines we find in the Bible.  We must teach them why we believe that way all the while helping them to develop a relationship with HIM that will back those standards and convictions in their own lives.  That way, when they are grown and gone, they won't be living by rules "because that's the way my parents do it".  They will know what they believe.  They will have the rules that God wants them to have in their lives and they will have Bible verses to back each of those "rules" up.

It is my opinion that everyone - even children - can have a relationship with God.  (First the person must know that he is a child of God.  To know more about becoming a child of God, please click here.)  The kind of relationship where one understands that God hears his thoughts. (Now that's convicting!)  The kind of relationship where God is right there with him every moment of the day.  THAT is praying without ceasing...when each and every thought is directed toward the God we serve.  THAT is my goal for myself and my children!  I want them to have a relationship with HIM.

Ephesians 6:6-8 ~ Not withe eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; to the Lord...knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord... (10) strong IN THE LORD, and in the power of HIS might...(14)...stand therefore, having your loins girt about with TRUTH...  

 What will you hand your child as he/she walks out the door for the last time? A list of "Do's and Don'ts"?  Or, a Bible and a relationship that will guide them through whatever life may throw their way?  Is it tradition, or TRUTH??


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  2. What a great post Angela. So true. Mind if I share this with my teen girls? You might have to start putting out a magazine :)

  3. Sure! My goal is to help people! I hope it helps someone. =)