I woke up last night with a troubled soul. I firmly believe that when I am awakened with spiritual matters on my mind, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, directing me. Last night was one of those convicting nights. It is time for a change for the good of the family. Now, if you know us, you might never see anything out of order, but I see the whole picture. We can all present well for a few hours a week in public. God was gently reminding me to get things right, to get back to our first love.
How did we get off track? I will be honest. I was deeply hurt last year by someone who believed we were feeding evil into our kids, and wouldn't allow socializing for fear it might corrupt their kids. Really harsh, but apparently "no judgment intended".....whatever. SO a weak part of me decided I would just live how I wanted. I am a Christian, and this woke me up to the harsh legalism and judgmental attitudes that divide Christians and makes us look unpalatable to the world. We bite and devour each other over such junk that was never laid out as rules in NT scripture--though men sure like to make the NT into a list of rules. It made me sick. I began to really see the seclusionary nature of some Christians, based on not wanting to pollute or corrupt their kids, as another form of evil and punishment to those they are supposed to be loving and shining with. Because being on the receiving end of the harsh judgement was an eye opener, it made me realize how unrealistic it is, to be so seclusionary. And I was very angry, in addition to the hurt.
It manifested itself in my mind. Poisoned my thoughts and drove me to be more engrossed in the world than in the Word. It also made me see why God repeatedly tells us to love one another and bear with one another and not to bite and devour one another over trivials. It changed me. But now I am recovering from the sins of the mind and realizing I have lost ground with my kids.
So I began our morning with the daily devo. I apologized to my kids with all the specifics of my sins. I told them my plan for getting back to our first love. God, and those we love, come first. "Stuff" is in last place. This may sound surprising but we are going to get back on track with our media, and bible study and prayer lives and walking daily for God's glory. Not that we haven't been living that way, but it hasn't been as consistent as it should be. Bad examples have been set here and there, but like I told the kids, you guys didn't come with instructions, just some vague teachings in the bible, and you are being raised by a couple of sinners. Our sins are washed, but we still sin, and will never be perfect. As far as I am concerned, everyone who obeys the gospel, who has salvation right (acts 2:38-believers repentant baptism for forgiveness), they are covered by grace as long as they daily try to do as the bible teaches. If grace doesn't cover them, it covers none of us, because all of our life walks are vastly different. And they are daily struggling just like I am to make the best decisions for their family, and they are sinners in a fallen world just like me. They shouldn't be punished for trying to live right and falling short. Not punished by me anyway. My job is to keep myself in the Word and show love to all people so they can see Jesus and WANT to know Him. I want people to see our life and WANT to have a family like ours. I never want them to see us being so secluded or judgmental that they say, "No thanks! I do NOT want to be like that." I want my kids to be able to be completely social in any situation, showing love for others because of their love for Christ. How else will they make friends and find spouses and influence the world for good? For God? And it all starts here, at home. Not because home is a place where we live in our little bubble commune, keeping only with family members, but because home is where we learn God's Word, to love others, and are given many, varied opportunities to get out in the world and interact with people, with supervision available, so that we are not shocked at what is really out there and what people are really like when we grow up. It is a balancing act though. It is easy to go a bit too far each direction...and how far is too far? You have to decide that for yourself. Just be careful not to judge others for drawing their lines in a different place... be really careful to recognize when people are trying to live right and be aware of how hurtful exclusion for being less than your personal brand of "holy", can be.
We started today with our turnaround. And Lord willing, we will be a blessing to all who we come in contact with. Our lives will hopefully shine so people will be curious how they can be like us. They will hopefully want to get to know all the kids, and their parents, because of the things they see...love and goodness and friendliness and good choices.
Here's to new beginnings.