Lecture alert: I needed one this week, so I thought I'd share the humbling. It's not a new message, just one I need to hear on a regular basis.
It started with an idle thought. A critical one--the kind we're supposed to take captive. The essence of the thought was: "If they'd only do it MY way . . ."
Raise your hand if you've ever entertained one of those.
It got me wondering how God sees his kids. . . I look down on you because you go to a church with only organ music. You criticize me because of the rock tunes at mine. She goes to a mega church. I belong to a home church. He reads his Bible before bed. I read mine in the morning. They like NIV. We like ESV. I'm post-trib. He's mid-. She says she's a Christian, but she still smokes. He claims to be a Jesus follower but he watches PG movies.
Whole families of believers have been shattered over more trivial matters than these. We criticize, argue, sever ties.
Our Father must be thrilled.
Years ago, I wrote a (never published) book inspired by my two oldest sons. I called it Night and Day Brothers. It was about two boys who were polar opposites. One wore a tie to gym class. The other collected rocks and rusty bottle caps.
While our boys did have very different likes and dislikes when they were young, little did I know how prophetic that story would be.
Today, my oldest son has three kids, five dogs and raises goats and ducks and chickens. He hates football. He sometimes wears a kilt. If he had a choice between a 5-star hotel and a day puttering in his shop with his kids, the shop would win hands down.
My second son is a chiropractor. He has three kids, no pets, and enjoys golfing, gourmet food, and taking his kids to the pool. He loves football. He wears dress shirts. If told he had to spend a day in his brother's shop, he'd probably say, "Just shoot me."
How did this happen? How did they get to be so different? They were raised in the same house with the same rules. They shared a bedroom. When I could get away with it, I even dressed them alike. We gave them the same amount of love. And yet, here they are, as different as night and day.
I wouldn't have wanted cookie-cutter kids. Remember Purple Panda on Mister Roger's Neighborhood? The monotone-talking guy whose favorite food was tapioca, who teleported from Planet Purple where everyone looked and talked the same? I think we'd all agree we'd hate a tapioca world of monotony. Yet why do we so often think "If they'd only do it MY way. . ."? I'm not preaching "tolerance" of sin here, but acceptance of the things that add texture, flavor, and color to our lives.
Gary Chapman wrote a song that Amy Grant made popular back in the seventies. Every time I hear Father's Eyes I'm convicted. Lord, I Iong to stop focusing on differences. Help me see what you see, look for good, and search for common ground. Help me love your kids.
Because, after all, we are family.