It’s the Truth of the Matter

This is a poll regarding the topic of truth.  Please take some time to look this over and vote.  No matter your view, your input is extremely important!!!!  Pass this along to your friends and family.  The more votes the better the results.  Thank you in advance for participating.


Positive Message, Negative Results

Have you ever noticed that someone who has a positive message may get a negative reaction?  Think about it for a moment.  Someone shares how their life was changed for the positive.  They stopped drinking or doing drugs, maybe their marriage was healed and restored or possibly they were greedy and now are generous.  However, no matter how positive and inspiring their message may be, their one “fault” is this….Jesus.

Let me clarify.  In no way is Jesus a negative “fault”.  In fact, when you look at many lives throughout the world and hear their stories, you realize that Jesus was the only One who could have changed them.  They could not do this on their own, they may never have sought counseling, but their lives changed regardless.

In Acts 19, we see an example of a positive message with negative results.  Paul had traveled to Ephesus, the trading capital of it’s day.  There was also a strong belief system there as well.

In Ephesus, there was the temple of Artemis.  From what I have read, this became one of the “7 Wonders of the World”.  There people worshiped the Greek goddess who protected children and virgins.  Legend states that she was the twin of Apollo who was the protector of young boys.  The people of Ephesus truly believed in this goddess who would protect the young girls who didn’t want to be married and stay a virgin.

Although a lot of people believed in this goddess, there were many who wanted to profit from this system of beliefs.  They made decorative idols, told myths about how the idols came to be and were able to convince people that it is truth.  This was where Paul decided to take the positive message of Jesus Christ.

While Paul was there, he came across a number of disciples who didn’t have the right theology.  They had heard of Jesus and repented of their sins, but when they heard Paul teach, they questioned him.  Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  Here was their answer, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Knowing how their thought process was, Paul then asks, “Then what baptism did you receive?”  Paul understood that because they believed in Jesus, they also had been baptized.  They responded to Paul that they had received John the Baptist, baptism.  Paul then places his hands on them and the Holy Spirit enters their lives with immediate changes.  These changes were so sudden that people were amazed at what they were doing.

Paul had some obstacles during his two year stay.  There were people who refused to believe.  Paul had been preaching in the synagogues telling everyone about Jesus.  This means that other religions, besides the temple of Artemis had been allowed.  Everyone had lived on their own, believing what they wanted not caring they were different.  Now here comes Paul preaching a message of hope and healing.  However, this message also was convicting.  Paul preached Jesus was the only Way.

During his time in Ephesus, many Jews and Gentiles came to know and accept Jesus as their Savior.  They would take their idols and any other paraphernalia and destroy them publicly.  What did this mean to Ephesus, business started to lose money.  The people who created the idols lost income.  It was enough income that a riot started because of it.

During the uproar, many people marched with those who started it but “most of the people did not even know why they were there.”  Interesting, isn’t it?  There was a large amount of people protesting against the message of Christ and yet most of them didn’t understand why they were even there.  They just got caught up in the moment and because a lot of people said they were marching for the right cause they believed it.

This is what is happening in the United States today.  We have many religions that worship different gods.  Many people go to church out of obligation rather than belief.  However, when you teach that Jesus is the only Way, people get bent out of shape.  They start small at first, debating you, arguing their points.  However, when people start to believe in Jesus, these same protesters go public.  They start saying how their life choices are “natural”, how they are being attacked by Jesus followers and most of all, blame Christians for the failing economy.

If a country’s economy is based on sinful practices, when people start to follow Jesus, they stop supporting those same businesses.  They start by giving to others in need, helping others get back on their feet.  They start serving others, learning about Jesus and sharing what they learned.  This causes that sin based economy to suffer great losses.

Conversely, if the country’s economy is based on Godly beliefs and practices, the economy will thrive and continue until the people of that country disobey God and stop doing what they had been called to do.  This is what holds true of us today.  If you ask the average Christian what they believe, they can’t explain it into words.  They debate using others teachings, which can be selective and incorrect, rather than being able to go to the Word of God and show why they believe what they believe.

The message we have been given is positive and helps people change their lives for the better.  It changes individuals positively, which changes families positively, which changes businesses positively.  This in effect can change the country positively as well.  The only problem is that those who are the belief minority can and have been so convincing that people are following them, not knowing why they are following them.

As Christians, we need to start helping to change people’s lives in a positive way.  We also need to stand up publicly and share what God is doing in our lives.  Christianity is not a religion nor is it a private belief system.  Jesus didn’t die privately, He died publicly.  Jesus asks us to stand in the gap, publicly, and lovingly share His positive message with the world.

Jesus wants to change the world, but with His positive message, don’t be surprised with the negative results the world has toward His message.  Share in a loving way and let Him handle the negative.

God bless and encourage someone today.

Debating The Rights of Morals

Our current culture feels the need to debate the rights of moral issues.  Why is that?  Isn’t the economy more important than morals?  It appears that the issues of today are about morality and not the economy.

Instead of stating, what some would appear as negative and bashing, I will simply state the fact and then plead the case of what is being rejected in the United States.

Fact #1:  Homosexual Marriage is one of the most strongly debated and opinionated issues.

Fact #2:  Transgenders and Pedophiles are trying to fight for their rights.

Fact #3:  Christians have been asked to keep their mouths shut.

Fact #4:  Christians are being told not to share what their lives.

Fact #5:  Both homosexuality and Christianity are choices by individuals.  (THIS HAS BEEN PROVEN BY SCIENCE!)

Our current society has shown that Christianity is not only disliked but hated.  Many organizations are suing over the fact that Christians want to express who they are through their beliefs.  Recently, there was a story of a Christian school being asked to take down the Bible verses in their classroom and sign because it “might scare and intimidate” the children.

Let’s take a look at history regarding what frightens children.  First, children are frightened by TV and movies.  This is mainly because they cannot differentiate between the reality and fantasy.  Second, it is a well known fact that children fear divorce.  Too many children are permanently and negatively affected by divorce.  Third, children are frightened by child abuse.  Bible verses that say, “Jesus loves you” are clearly not frightening nor disturbing.

So why all the ruckus surrounding Christianity?   Jesus told His disciples “They will hate you because of me”.  He didn’t say, “Don’t worry, be happy”, nor did He state, “Life will be a bowl full of cherries”.  Jesus has warned us time and time again that this life will hate and rebel against Jesus and what He taught.

However, in the United States, we also have the right to stand up for our rights in a civil manner.  I BELIEVE IT IS TIME FOR CHRISTIANS TO STAND UP NOW!!!!  If we do not start, then we will stop having the same rights as others.

This country was founded upon the rights of all people.  We were given the right to worship when we wanted, where we wanted and without retribution from our government.  We were given the right to gather without governmental approval to pray and sing to our Lord.  Now these same rights are in extreme jeopardy.

The public is so enamored with other “so-called rights issues” that they forget Christians founded this great nation.  They forgot that it was Christians that set up the Red Cross.  Christians who started the universities.  Christians to start the orphanages.  Christians who began to stand with African-Americans for their rights as human beings.

The reason for such a public debate regarding homosexual marriage is because they decided that marriage was their right.  When they started this public debate, they ensured that the Biblical view of marriage was attacked in a very negative way.  Many times, we heard “Christians are not being open minded” and “Christians are the one’s who are risking the freedoms in this country”.  These are simply lies.

If Christians weren’t open minded, then why would we help those who cannot choose the color of their skin.  We have helped those who do not have parents and those who are hurting due to natural disasters.  However, as it has been proven scientifically that homosexuals make a conscience choice to live that way and it is against what the Bible says, then Christians are being closed minded????  This is the debacle of the twisted mind of individuals who take truth and make them lies.

Those who are Christians have chosen to be Christians, just as homosexuals have chosen to live that way.  We have chosen to side with the Creator of the Universe (both seen and unseen) and follow Him.  Christians are allowed rights as well.  Christians should not be told to do things that are outside what they know to be true.

Christians are told to share the Gospel in love.  Christians are told that God comes first.  Christians are told to live in such a way that Christ is seen.  Christians have the right to read the Bible where they want.  Christians have the right to pray where they want.  Christians have the right to discuss and debate moral issues with whomever and whenever they choose.  The same universities that Christians started are the ones that are kicking Christians out of their own clubs and telling them they cannot choose leaders based on Christian beliefs.

This is the twisted tongue of our current world.  Christians have allowed this to happen for far too long.  It is time to start protesting in a public way regarding the simple rights of prayer and Bible reading.  Tell your children to pray in school before a meal.  Bring your Bibles to work and read them on your lunch break.  Take time to go to a park and pray for mankind to come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Start writing your politicians, asking them to stand up for the rights of Christians.

Our rights are not just being taken away, they are being destroyed.  Even though we will be hated by all society, we still have the right to stand up for what we know are our American rights.  I will not allow those who are close minded about Christianity to control me or my family.  We will continue to stand in the gap and say, “We may be beaten and hated, but we will not be silent.  Jesus is still Lord!”

God bless, encourage someone and stand up today!!!!

How We Forget So Easily

Today was an interesting day.  I was able to start reading a short book by A.W. Tozer that I had not read in a very long time.  The title is “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit”.  I am not sure when it was written, but it is a compilation of four sermons A.W. Tozer did in relation to Who and What the Holy Spirit is.

In the first sermon, he started to talk about how easily we forget to remember what we learned and why we learned it.  Referring to the Holy Spirit, he recites the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.  He shows that not only does the Holy Spirit exist, but He exists  beyond our capabilities to understand how this can be as we are beings of matter and finite while the Holy Spirit does not follow these rules.

However, during my reading, A.W. Tozer explains that, in his experience, many people do not understand why they believe, what they believe.  He recalls a couple that openly and honestly asked for healing and came to his church as their church did not truly believe that healing can occur.

This brought me to ask myself, “Why do I believe, what I believe?”  Do I have any justifiable reasons, outside of exterior opinions or writings that I can provide myself to convince myself that what I believe is true?

Where A.W. Tozer goes with this is in this one single statement:

“I have told you what the great creeds of the church say.  If the Bible taught otherwise, I would throw the creeds away.”

In those two sentences, his message was very clear.  If the Bible does not agree with any and all outside sources, then it cannot be true.  Therefore, the ruler of understanding and wisdom is the Bible and nothing else.

As I sat there reading, I overheard a group of men talking about Galations 6:6.  They were not ashamed to speak in public what they believed with each other.  These men were enthralled by going back and forth with what the Word of God says.  Just before they were to leave, I turned to one of them and told them how proud I was to see someone else speak publically about their faith.  It was at that moment, God, once again, appeared in an unexpected way.

One of the men told me they were pastors of different churches.  They were all affiliated by friendships and one mission, to bring the Gospel to those overseas.  Although I cannot state where they went, I will say that they were in a country that was extremely hostile to Christianity.  They decided to take a trip overseas to a hostile country to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  WOW!!!!!

They shared how God was working in the lives of the people in that country and how excited they were to see and experience what God had done.  They seemed energetic and ready to continue preaching the Good News, even though they had just spent most of the night flying from one end of the world to another.

As they shared, there was a sense of joy that overwhelmed me and it still has not passed.  It was exciting to hear of how God is working, how His Spirit is at work in people’s lives.  How God could penetrate the most harshest of countries and have His Word proclaimed.  But it also was a reminder of how easily I forgot.

In 1990,  spent a week in La Pointe, Haiti in a mission hospital.  There God showed me that life is not about me.  He showed me that there was a world that needs Him, more than they need me.  He humbled me for one of the first times that I can remember.  I then had a sense of mission and purpose.  These were the same feelings that came over me this afternoon, while speaking with these pastors.

I had forgotten what life was about.  I had forgotten that being busy isn’t necessarily where God wants me.  I had forgotten that in the scope of eternity, my life is as small as the smallest portion of the smallest molecule on the smallest nuclei on the smallest…you get what I am saying.  Our lives are just a blink.  Our mission is just a moment.  Our purpose is for an eternity.

We need to do as A.W. Tozer explained, go back to the basics and understand why you believe, what you believe.  If you believe a creed or a person or a movement, then you will be just like the leaf in the wind, it goes wherever the wind blows it.  However, if you study andknow why you believe what you believe, you will be like the house built on a sturdy foundation, where wind and waves cannot move it.

Don’t ever forget so easily, like I did so recently.  Remember, God loves you and wants you to share His Good News with someone today.  God Bless and encourage someone today.

Stand Up, Sit Down or Play Dead?

Today was one of those days I would like to forget.  Too many things happening, at the same time, with no time to rest.  In addition to this, the news has been filled with “same-sex” marriage, a book called “50 Shades of Gray” and the up and down “roller coaster” market.  However, through all of this, one question keeps popping up, both on the web and in my mind.  How are Christians to respond to these events?

One argument is Christians should “stand up” for their rights and voice their objection to gay marriage.  Another argument is that we should “sit down” and pray what God would want us to do.  The world would like it if Christians “played dead” and said nothing to anyone about these things.  So tonight, I decided to take on these arguments and see what you think.

Most times, Christians are viewed as “gay haters”.  Why is that?  Mainly it is because there have been some churches or individuals that do horrible, bad things to people that don’t believe the same as they do.  In the 1980’s and1990’s we saw people killing doctors because they were killing babies.  More recently, we have seen a church that burned the Koran because they said, “All Muslims will go to hell”.  I personally have also witnessed people who march against such agendas with signs that say, “Gays will go to hell” or “God hates gays”.  This is what blows my mind.  People claim to be Christians, yet use hate speech and do sinful things all in the name of “holiness”.

On the other side of the fence, are those that believe “in prayer alone”.  They think that as long as they live quiet lives, praying for our country that all will work out just fine.  These people believe that as long as Christians show their lives, the world will be changed.  According to them, evangelism is done by example rather than speech.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I think both of these views are skewed and sinful.  If we are to follow Christ then we need to really follow Christ.  What did Christ do in His day that we can follow and really act upon?

When it came to politics, Jesus never got involved.  He knew what the politics of the day were.  In fact, it was during this “peaceful” time that He decided to come as a baby.  When the religious leaders asked Him about paying taxes (a political issue), Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar and to God’s what is God’s.”  He didn’t say, “Let’s go up to Rome, make some banners, chant ‘Caesar’s going to hell’ and display our dislike for political stances’.  All He said was, “If Caesar requires taxes, then pay them, but also understand that you must give to God what He requires.”  So the next question is, did Jesus stand up for moral issues that were also political in His day?

The simple answer is yes.  The complexity comes in when we look at how He did this.  When Jesus spoke about moral issues, He spoke to any person or group who wanted to hear.  A number of times, Jesus spoke to thousands of people and said, “You have heard it said…..but I say…”  He dealt with everything from adultery, marriage, stealing, murdering and so forth.  Jesus spoke of moral issues but were they political as well?

From history we know that during this time Rome was a very sinful nation.  Prostitutes (both male and female) were allowed to sell their services to anyone they pleased.  Pedophiles were rampant in the upper class society and stealing from anyone they wanted to.  The only policy they set was that if anyone disagrees with them, they need to keep their mouths shut.  This was where the “zealots” (or historical terrorists) came into play.  The zealots would kill soldiers or people who agreed with Rome so that Israel could be freed from Rome’s filth and tyranny.  In fact, Jesus called Simon the Zealot to be a disciple.  This alone I find interesting.

What Jesus did was teach those who wanted to listen about the moral subjects.  Why?  He wanted to show the religious leaders they had a very sinful look at the theological standards of their day.  Jesus taught that if men look at a woman in a lustful manner, they committed adultery.  If someone hated their brother, they committed murder.  Jesus spoke about the principles and not the view of the day.

Today, we saw how North Carolina stood up and voted to ban gay marriage, while our President voiced his view for gay marriage.  We also saw the courts wanting to overturn North Carolina voters.  So how do we as Christians handle this?  Continue teaching to those that will hear about what Christ says regarding these issues.  So if you are willing to hear, here is what Christ said about marriage…

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

Here is what Christ said about homosexuality….

But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:8-10

So if Scripture teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is sinful, just like every other type of sin, then it is clear that gay marriage is completely a defiant act against God.

I may never march loudly in front of the White House or City Hall, but I will continue to speak the truth of Scripture.  Even if all of our rights are taken away, I will continue to teach to those who are willing to hear.  No matter our future, the Gospel will be preached and taught by my lips (or fingertips).

If we take that simple stance, our words and actions will combine to bring the message of Hope and Love to all generations.  As Americans we have the right to fight and complain, but if the majority disagrees we still have the responsibility to speak the truth in love.  Our rights may be in jeopardy but our eternity is secure in Christ.

We need to speak and act in love.  Both are necessary to show the world, we are alive in Christ and cannot play dead.  God Bless and encourage someone today.

The Irrevocable Promise…

When you were a child, did you ever make a promise?  Did you say, “If you do this or that, I promise to repay you”?  Maybe you said to your parents, “I promise to clean my room”, even though it was just because you wanted to go out with your friends.

This habit typically continues in our adult life as well.  We promise our bosses to do better, when they say we aren’t doing a good job.  We make promises to God in fear that He might discipline us so harshly that we may not be able to handle it.

The human condition is one that protects itself from danger.  It is a condition that we inherit from our parents.  In fact, if you watch how children interact, you will find out that as soon as they are able to communicate in sentences, they will say, “I promise….PLEASE” for almost everything just to get what they want. So how does God feel about promises?  Does God promise us things just for His wants?

Romans 11:25-32 speak about promises that God made that are considered irrevocable.  This basically means that no matter what people think or what they do, these promises do not and will not change.  Here is the passage:

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

‘The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.’

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.  Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

Why would Paul write to the church in Rome about Israel?  At that time, the Gentile believers were being inundated with various teachings.  One of those teachings was about circumcision.  There was a group of Jewish believers that taught circumcision was required for salvation.  Another group taught that the time of the Jews salvation was over and only Gentiles could be saved.  Yet another group taught to follow the teachers rather than the Scriptures.  All of this caused confusion and tension between various believers.

Paul was not only taught by Gamaliel (still considered to be the wisest of all rabbis), but was also a Roman citizen.  Paul had gone to Rome to spread the Gospel.  As Paul understood Roman law as well as the Mosaic laws, he was in the best position settle this argument.

He starts out by mentioning that no one should be ignorant on this subject.  Everyone needs to understand what he was about to teach.  Paul wanted to ensure all people had a clear, cut understanding of the position of both Israelites and Gentiles.

Israel has been hardened to the Gospel “for a time”, not forever.  One day, Israel will recognize her Messiah and return to Him.  When will this happen?  After the last Gentile becomes a believer.

“Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” – Romans 11:26a

There will come a time when Gentiles will no longer become believers.  Only God knows how many and we must recognize that our time is short.  Therefore, it is essential for all of us to share Christ with those who haven’t heard yet.  We know from Scripture that there will be representation from “every nation and language”and that the number of those people cannot be counted by man.  However, there are a specific number of Gentiles that will be saved.  Once that occurs, Israel’s eyes will be cleared and she will understand who her Messiah really is.

What I found interesting in this passage was the fact Paul says, “…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”.  WHAT A PROMISE!  No matter what we think or do, God’s gifts cannot be returned, destroyed or forgotten.  They are irrevocable!  But it gets even better.

Paul explains that God allows the evil in this world to happen because He desires to show His mercy.  “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their (Israel’s) disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy n them all.”

When we sin, we prove this Scripture over and over again.  Is this to say we should continue in sin?  Absolutely not!  In fact, understanding this and taking it to heart should draw us closer to the Scripture and away from sin.  In fact, when we see the sin happening around the world, we should rejoice because God is showing His mercy by not annihilating everyone of us.

One day Israel will recognize who their Savior is and we as Gentiles should not think of ourselves any more highly than them.  We should desire to share the Gospel with those of Abraham’s decent as to complete the task we have been given…to share the Gospel with everyone.

Remember, God’s promises are irrevocable.  They can never be changed.  God bless and encourage someone today.

I’m Right Because I’m the Dad!!!

In the daily walk of life, rearing a teenager is a difficult task.  Many times, it appears that no matter what you do or say, the lessons of life never seem to enter the sponge-filled teenage mind.

If you are like me, I have a teenager who is very typical.  He wants to be accepted by his peers, impress girls and be electronically connected to his online social world.  However, many times, these outlets are the very things that get him into trouble.

Recently, my son lied to me the night before regarding his iPod.  Our normal routine is to store his iPod at night so that he isn’t up until all hours of the night and gets a good night rest.  When I got home from work the next day, my son apologized to me without me having to say a word.

I explained that I was upset but accepted his apology.  I asked him for his iPod.  He then argued (a bit) and did not comply with turning off his iPod.  My wife and I confiscated the device when he blurted out, “Oh there’s a picture of something that I need to delete from my friend.”  Immediately, I knew what it was.  Without getting loud, I said to myself, “I will be a better dad and not yell.”  I turned to him and actually said, “No worries.  Just do what you need to do.”

My wife and I were both curious as to what he had a picture of.  I got the iPod and started my regularly unscheduled inspection.  As I went through the pictures, I didn’t notice anything that was out of place.  It was the usual pictures of sports figures, sneakers and snapshots of games that he has played.  Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.  We both thought that we were wrong in our assumption.  During the inspection, I accidentally came across an area where a number of web pages were showing open.  It was there that I found the picture he so desperately wanted to erase.

I confronted him and told him that he was being cut off from the iPod and would not be able to go onto the Internet unless he was in a “public” place.  He knew he had done wrong.  The look on his face said it all.  I explained to him that I must follow through with what I told him on previous days as I am the dad and am responsible for teaching him how to live life correctly.  So far it all sounds good right????

After reprimanding my son, my wife pulled me aside and said, “How could you give him such a harsh punishment when you, yourself have had issues in this area?”  I said, “I have to follow through and show him that I mean what I say.”  She turned and said, “Okay, but just remember that when you fall into temptation.”

It didn’t take long.  That night I allowed sin to be in command of my life.  As I sat wondering what was going on, God said to me, “Do you remember the story of the unforgiving servant?”  I responded, “Yes.  It was where he was forgiven for a debt he couldn’t ever pay yet didn’t forgive his servant who owed him a small amount of money.”  Gently the Lord then said, “Do I need to say more?  You are doing the same thing to your son.”

Here is the story I was reminded of:

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.  “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.  But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” – Matthew 18:21-35 (ESV)

God had taught me that night that He forgave me for a debt that I could never repay.  No matter how hard I work or how hard I try, the debt of sin could never been repaid by me.  God forgave me of this insurmountable debt.

The next evening, I pulled my son aside and said, “Son, God reminded me that sometimes I do the very things that I tell you not to do.  That makes me a hypocrite.  He also reminded me that He forgave me of my sin, so I need to forgive you.  If God disciplined me for every sin I ever committed, my life would be miserable.  I am giving you the iPod back with the understanding that you need to work on this area in your life, just like I do.”

His immediate response was, “Dad, I don’t want it back.  I don’t feel like I deserve it.”  I knew at that moment that he was truly sorry for what he had done.  I said, “That’s fine, but when you want it, it’s here.”  Later that night, he said, “Can I have my iPod back?”  Without hesitation I gave it back to him for a couple of hours.

God showed me over those few days, that I need to forgive my son just as God forgave me.  He also taught me that I have areas I need to work on before disciplining my son in those areas as well.  I thought to myself, “I’m right because I’m the dad.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  I wasn’t right.  God took that opportunity to humble me and remind me of the forgiveness He gave to me.

I am glad that God doesn’t discipline me every time I sin.  If He did, my life would truly be a horrible existence.  There are times God disciplines me, especially when I am not listening and I discipline my son for that reason as well.  However, as a parent, I wonder how many times we do “hurtful” discipline rather than “forgiving” discipline.

In life, disciplining our children is necessary.  However, as they get older, I am finding that discipline changes.  When they are small a smack on the hand or butt usually does the trick.  But when they are old enough to reason, then discussing the situation and finding a solution may be discipline enough.  As parents, we need to remember the forgiveness that God gave to us as a gift and treat our children the same way.

Remember, just because we are parents, doesn’t always mean we are correct.  God bless and encourage someone today.