Tuesday, July 12, 2011

But God's love for us never changes.

I’ve known people who appeared to be in an impossible situation. A few years later, however, they were in a terrific place, either in terms of their circumstances or their emotions. The reason? They never gave up. Instead of sulking in self-pity, they chose to believe God, step out in faith, and climb out of the emotional pit. Sometimes nothing can lift our hearts like the love of God. Friends abandon us. Colleagues try to bypass us. Even our families may fail to understand us. But God's love for us never changes.

About 20 years ago I met a girl at my work. She was introduced by my friend. I had a brief conversation with Major Naidu, her Father over the phone. She had some problems with her parents because she is a Rank organization member. Ayn Rand and her organization is well known by most people who are atheists. I remember her last name as Naidu .She was totally carried away by the ideologies she was exposed to. She is an atheist to the core and nobody is going to change that. She carried a book ‘Fountainhead’ and she used to quote from that. So I was not aware of the book, nor ever read any of the books of the Rand Network.I started a conversation with her and with almost more than one hour we were not having any fruitful conversation.

I called my friend who is an excellent counselor and explained the situation to her. She told me to send her and she will talk to her. So she had spent about 5 hours with her. Finally she gave up because Ayn Rand’s worldview is a single track philosophy. They think by reading certain quotes from her books they have achieved something. No one can talk as good as them. Unfortunately they are atheists.You cannot have a fruitful discussion about God. If you want this translated into Ayn Rand's philosophical and simple language, it would read: 1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.

Even when we act unlovable, God continues to love us. When we are undesirable, He embraces us. When it seems that the world has turned against us, God's love remains. He has promised never to leave us hopeless.

If you have done your job instilling values in your kids in the earlier years, they already know when they’re doing wrong as teenagers. You don’t have to tell them again and again and again. That badgering will wear out your welcome in their increasingly independent life. They are already struggling with feelings of guilt and confusion, so they need a positive, encouraging voice in those teaching moments.

Please note that I’m not saying you should approve of what they’re doing or forsake your role as a parent. What’s right and wrong doesn’t change, and consequences still need to be applied. What I am suggesting is that you maintain your relationship in such times in a way that you will be able to continue to speak truth into their heart and be heard. Start by talking through various options that were available to them, until they can identify for themselves what would have been a better course of action. This process promotes independence and good decision making skills.

Allow Independence to Grow…

It’s common to hear a teen say, “I don’t need you anymore. I can do it on my own.” There’s something in the heart of parents that doesn’t want to hear those words (sometimes delivered in a loud and angry tone), but those are good words. They show a drive for independence that your child will need to launch into life on his own. Now, in reality you and I both know that if you shut off the electricity to his room he’d find out real quick that he does still need you, but don’t let those words drive a wedge between you.

Instead accept those words for what they are and work to find ways to promote independence. Along with their desire to be independent in their decisions, make them responsible for their own daily life, like getting out of bed in the morning, managing their own finances, and getting a job for a few hours a week. This is a great way to show them the responsibility that goes along with being independent. There’s a difference between struggles in the home that occur due to outright rebellion and those due to hormones and the normal growing process. A rebellious teen will end a fight with a slammed door and a feeling of satisfaction. A teen who is trying to process a changing world and find her place in it is more likely to show up with an apology a few minutes later (or at least act apologetic). Full blown rebellion is an intentional rejection of parents and their values—a deeper hatred for the parents and their values–and it’s actually pretty rare.

If we respond to the hard times and struggles our teens are having as if they are rebelling, we run the risk of alienating them and damaging our relationship at the time they need it most. I encourage you to try to get beyond the surface to understand exactly what you’re dealing with…and remember the transfer to independence that’s underway throughout the process.

In Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:9-10
New International Version


So, of course, do the Bible and Christian tradition. Unlike the heroes of Rand, the Bible rarely portrays its chief characters as relentlessly good. Abraham tried to pass off Sarah as his sister. David committed adultery and murdered his rival. Peter is coward and rock, thoughtful evangelist and impulsive motor mouth. Paul's teaching provides for all time the essential infrastructure of our Christology, but his temper (to take one example) bursts out of his writings with disturbing power. Yet in all of these characters, flawed as they are, we see God at work, correcting them, calling them, drawing them to himself, transforming them. "I want to be like that."

"I forget what is behind" is a statement that assures us Paul was not the type to live in the past. He says, in effect, "I disregard my own accomplishments as well as others' offenses against me. I refuse to dwell on that." This requires humility.

This becomes especially clear when you examine Paul's past. Just look:

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
(2 Corinthians 11:24–27)

Think of all the people Paul could have included on his "hate list." But he had no such list. With humility, he forgot what was behind him. He intentionally disregarded all those wrongs against him.

In order for us to forget wrongs done against us, God must do the erasing. (See Joseph's example in Genesis 41:51.) Isaiah, the prophet of Judah, puts it in these terms:

"Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth." (Isaiah 54:4–5)

The Lord God promises us we can forget, because He personally will take the place of those painful memories.

To you who have had a shameful youth, to you who have lost your mate, the living Lord will replace those awful memories with Himself. What a great promise! That makes the forgetting possible. Left to ourselves, no way! But with the promise that God will replace the pain with Himself—His presence, His power, His very life—we can "forget what lies behind."

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