Living Unoffended

“Forgiveness is our deepest need and our highest achievement.” Horace Bushnell –( minister and theologian in the 1800’s) Our highest need! Not only do we want to be forgiven, we need it! Without genuine forgiveness there can be no security in our relationships. I can safely draw near to God because I know that His forgiveness is unconditional towards me, a blessing I am profoundly grateful for! Forgiveness is also our highest achievement! “Forgiveness, of course is the virtue we most enjoy, and least employ, in our Christian experience. We all love to be forgiven – we expect it, and want it. But we find it a struggle to forgive; we resist it and refuse oftentimes to do it.” (pastor Ray Stedman) Our human nature would rather hold on to offense, rehearsing it to ourselves and sharing it with others.  Finding comfort in self pity is deceptively satisfying at first,  but self-pity is really self-centeredness in its most dangerous form because it distorts one’s vision about everything and everyone. Beth Moore in Praying God’s Word defines forgiveness as “our determined and deliberate willingness to let something go – not haphazardly into the black hole of nonexistence but letting it go to God. Letting it go from our power to His. Forgiveness is the ongoing act by which we agree with God over the matter, practice the mercy He’s extended to us, and surrender the situation, the repercussions, and the hurtful person to Him.” Has anyone ever offended you before? Of course the answer is YES! And if one’s vision is at all distorted by self pity, offense is quite...

Raising Un-entitled Kids – Part II

(See Part I in last week’s blog) ”You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.  But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil.  But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.  You have heard that it is said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.  For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”  Matthew 5:38 – 46. It Starts With YOU Within seven years of marriage, our “match made in heaven” was far from heavenly.  In fact Glen and I struggled to even be civil with each other. As a teacher, Glen often supplemented our income with coaching and other additional jobs.  That certainly was the case back in that challenging season of our lives when I stayed at home with our three small children while he worked long hours...

Raising Un-entitled Kids- Part I

“Pity is one of the noblest emotions available to human beings; self-pity is possibly the most ignoble…It is an incapacity, a crippling emotional disease that severely distorts our perception of reality …a narcotic that leaves its addicts wasted and derelict.”  Eugene H. Peterson in Earth and Altar Young people are generally full of themselves, but a new study suggests that today’s kids are far more self-centered than preceding generations.  The results of a recent analysis of current and recent college students show a steady increase in narcissism since 1982.  Today’s college crowd can be characterized by a high expectation of others, and a low ambition for themselves.  They resent those who expect them to achieve through study and effort, and have little appreciation for the opportunity for an education.  They demand entertainment and excitement yet are unaware of the sacrifices made by their parents. Why the increase in narcissism?  And what can parents do to reverse this trend?  To begin with we must learn to identify self-pity. Self pity creeps into one’s thinking easily and subtly.  If allowed to linger, this unhealthy emotion takes up residence. Feeling sorry for oneself is both addictive and self perpetuating – and it feels good to our sin nature.  Any day can be turned into an opportunity for self pity. Self pity is an emotional “disease” with crippling effects.  How do we keep our kids off the slippery slope of self pity and inoculate our children against it? First, we need to teach kids the difference between self pity and genuine sadness.   We all feel sad at times. Sadness is a healthy response...