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Archive for June, 2009

Holiness and Humor

So, today over scrambled eggs I was talking with Nat about being a good boy. He was telling me that he’s so smart and trying to get me to agree with him about how smart he is. So, we had a discussion about how yes he is very smart but being smart is less important than what you do with your intelligence.

We talked about the difference between being good and being holy, and about how when people see him they either learn good things or bad things about him and about God. So, when you are kind and loving, what you do tells people that you are a good person but also that the God you worship, the God who made you is also kind, loving and good. Telling the truth about God in what you do is called “holiness,” and behaving yourself is only part of holiness. Sometimes it is hard to be holy and sometimes we will screw up, but the alternative is having our actions say things that aren’t true about ourselves and about God so we work to be holy even when it’s hard. I could tell he was really listening and thinking about what we were talking about, with those wheels turning in his head.

So, maybe 20 minutes later when I was making granola, Nat came in with a big smile on his face like he frequently has.

“Mommy, you’re so nice and you’re the best mommy ever.” *pause and huge grin* “You’re so… holy.”

I thanked him and gave him a hug because he’s such a sweetheart. I’m working on it, Nat. I’m working on it. 🙂

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I’m still around, but blogging is taking a back seat right now because I’ve got SO much to do!  I will try to write more, though.  In the meanwhile, here are some thoughts on anger, venting, and honesty.

When you are angry, be very careful about the truth of what you say and to whom you say it.  It doesn’t matter how upset you are.  Deliberately saying something that is not true simply because you are angry is a telling a lie, and as unacceptable as every other form of dishonesty.  There is no level of anger or frustration at which saying hurtful and untrue things could ever possibly be ok.  Being upset is not an excuse for deception and cruelty, and words spoken in anger can give scars that last a very long time.

When you are angry, check yourself before you say something you can’t take back.  Before you say something that could hurt someone, especially someone you love, ask these questions:

1.  Is what I want to say true?

2.  Will saying this be helpful?

3.  Is saying this necessary?

4.  Is now the right time to bring this up?

5.  How can I frame this in a loving manner?

If your statement doesn’t meet those criteria, DO NOT SAY IT.

There is a place for anger and frustration.  But love is more important, and love does not allow the destruction of someone else because you had a bad day.  Love doesn’t become optional because you’re upset, and saying “I didn’t mean it” doesn’t erase your actions.

Situations like these tend to come up when people are under a lot of stress.  Some of this is unavoidable, but some of it happens when we become overextended.  If you are so stressed that you are lashing out at people you care about, something needs to change.  We all have our limits, and respecting those limits is a form of care for our loved ones because it means we are choosing to ensure that to the best of our abilities we are never in a place where we treat others poorly.  There is nothing more crucially important than treating those we love with kindness, and tolerating the risk that you will be in a position where you can’t control your tongue is itself a failure of love.  If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  If your lifestyle causes you to harm those you love, cut it down.  Better that you not make that promotion or miss out on that hobby than that you treat someone you love with anything less than the respect they deserve.  Some things are not negotiable.

The people we love best deserve the best of what we have to offer, not the leftovers once we’ve finished running around like headless chickens in pursuit of unrealistic goals.  Do little things, and do them well.  As the saying goes, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

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