I beg your indulgence, for something has been weighing heavily upon my heart for a long time so I must speak it. I am a woman, who has never borne a child but who has loved many more than she has loved herself. Once was a time that I was angry and bitter because I lacked the gift of motherhood but now I am rejoicing in much thanksgiving that the Lord blessed me in this way. Once, I accepted his will and opened my eyes then the blessings of his wisdom were plain. I am also a perfectly imperfect sinner and I have no delusions that I am better than anyone else drawing breath upon this planet. Paul said it perfectly, ‘We are all sinners, of whom I chief…’ . Likewise, the vows I took at my niece and nephew’s baptism weigh heavily upon me. I, knowing the truth of salvation, have the responsibility to help them find Christ and his forgiveness. Nay, all whom I love have the right to expect me to point to Jesus in all things. They also have the right to expect me to screw up and ask for forgiveness because I am human and it will happen. Hence, I hope you keep these realizations in mind as you read my blog today.
Christians should not live by the world’s rules and expectations but should not use judgment bombs to annihilate the spirit of another. Jesus never, ever crushed someone in order to bring them healing and salvation so why do you think you can do it better than he? Or, could you be hiding behind the Cross of Christ to mask your own hate and prejudice? Having said that, it is also important to understand that we cannot project a “live and let live attitude” toward others. We can hold finite truths without tainting them with our own judgmental attitudes, eye rolls, looks of disgust, or hateful posts. Christians, who are truly trying in earnest to follow their Savior in a Biblical manner will not give acceptance for sin but they should refrain from judgment.
I guess you can consider that a long prelude to the topic that has lit my fire today. My responsibility toward my friends and family coupled with my greater responsibility to my human family through Christ’s loving eyes and heart. If we know the truth, and I do, then we are commanded to share it, use it, live it in a manner that shines for Christ. When my niece and nephews were growing up I thought that the only things I wanted for them in this world was to be safe, happy and content. I now realize how terribly shallow and worldly those goals were for each of them. Happiness is Satan’s illusion and temptress, for it cannot be sustained. Being guarded in our words is always prudent but I have learned that keeping one’s opinion to oneself to avoid offense, at times, can lead to major disaster. Disasters that lead to long suffering consequences for many, many people. Worse for me is the heaviness in spirit I feel when I know I should have spoken God’s words, not mine, devoid of my opinion. While it is certainty true that everyone must make their own life choices and bear the consequences of those decisions it is equally true that those choices never have a singular affect or victim. All of us bear the consequences to others choices and the closer in relation and enmeshment they are the worse it is. The individual may make the choice but they are never the ones to bear the total cost. In today’s society, people actually deny they have any responsibility at all for their choices. Yet, it is Christians to whom I am speaking, for we must take ownership of our actions and choices because we should know that each one affects not only us, our relatives, neighbor, community and so on but more importantly, they affect the Holy Spirit who resides in us. The thought is nearly too much to bear making it understandable that we shrink from acknowledging it. When I speak or act, it affects all around me. When I do not speak or act, it affects all around me. Whether the effect is good or bad is only partially controlled by our own intent, for it is how they receive it that will determine the positive or negative ramifications.
I no longer pray for happiness for my nieces or nephews. Do I want them to be happy? Certainly but it is not as important to me or the Kingdom of God as if they were abundant in compassion, love, wisdom, generosity, strength, perseverance, joy, faith, discernment, and the ability to forgive. Notice, I did not list acceptance as a forerunner attribute/abilty because there are too many things in this life that should not be accepted. They can be understood, forgiven, rationalized, fixed but never accepted. I want those I love to enjoy life through the eyes, heart, and mind of Christ refusing to be limited to how the world sees and understands. We were not put here for mankind’s purposes. We have a job, which God knit us together in our mother’s womb to fulfill and that is where our focus should be in everything. Every decision we make should be funneled through the filter of Christ’s will for our lives. Some of you may be sitting there reading this and looking at the slice of pizza in your hand and saying, “Okay Jesus, did you want me to take another slice pepperoni or cheese?” Your mocking, condescending attitude aside, your choice to have pizza for dinner or a snack should be filtered through Christ. Sure, it’s not as major a decision as is who to date, whether or not to have pre-marital sex, start a family, vocation choice, marriage, or other such major life decisions but each and every choice we make should be built upon the premises of Christ’s teaching so we do not have to stop before taking a bite of that slice of pie and think in a mocking manner. Instead, the initial choice of whether to purchase the pie would have been develop through the years enabling such a mundane choice to be inconsequential because your thoughts were in line with His every step of the way. EVERY choice you make should be filled with Christ’s will and guidance for your life so that when the big decisions come along you will have the armor of God firmly in place to guide and protect you.
At the start, I said I consider myself blessed for not having children and now will tell you why. Being a parent is an awesome privilege and the most important responsibility in your life. I feel the heavy weight of making certain my nieces and nephews have the tools needed to make their way to Christ. Yes, we must ensure they have the skill sets needed to be healthy, productive citizens of this world but that is so minor in comparison to the responsibility we carry to lead these young folks to Christ. If you bring a child into this world but fail to teach them of Christ then you have had a child to give to Satan. You have had a child, who you say you love, to hand over to the devil condemning him or her to eternal damnation. There is nothing more important in this life that salvation, for we are here are very brief time but there is an eternity to be had. A simple choice separates you from paradise or damnation. Whether these places exist or not does not depend upon your belief of their reality. Whether God or Satan exists does not depend upon your belief of them. By the time you realize your mistake, it will be far too late. Scripture recounts a story of a man, who had received and rejected the message of salvation, suffering greatly in Hell. He looked up and saw in Heaven a lowly man who the world despised in life enjoying paradise. The man suffering from burning thirst begged the heavenly onlookers for a drink but he was told that he had received all his rewards he will ever enjoy while he walked the earth. The man in hell then begged for messengers to be sent to warn his family about this wretched end so they would turn away from living the high life the world celebrated. His request was denied as well. The angel told the suffering man that all people are given the same message of grace and salvation but are not forced to accept it.
If you are a parent then you know the bittersweet mixture of love and frustration it brings. It is the hardest and most important job that God has ever called anyone to accomplish. If you fail to teach your child about Christ then you rob them of hope, peace, strength and wisdom. The world will fail them whether they have Christ or not but if you love them then why, oh why, would you send them into a viper’s pit unarmed and unaware? I have seen and worked with more broken children than I care to think about and my work barely scratched the surface of the brokenness out there. The majority of my clients did not teach their kids about God or Christ and those are the ones who were in the most danger of being lost as they had no anchor or foundation. They could not count on their parents or relatives to be the responsible adults so they had no one of permanence in their lives.
Hence, whether you made the conscious decision to have a child or not, they are here because of you and your spouse (paramour). The common response, “Well God wouldn’t have let him or her be born to me if it wasn’t His will.” My response, “Yeah, and that should SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU, literally, because God expects you to raise that child for HIM!” That “God’s Will” line is used as a cop out of responsibly when it is actually a brand of duty! Parents, especially Christian Parents, need to make certain that the most important thing in their child’s life is Christ, period. You are preparing him or her for the battles of this world but also for all the spiritual battles around him or her.
Satan has been trying to destroy me from the very womb and has never relented a single day; therefore, if I had been denied Christ in my youth I would have fallen to the prince of evil long ago. I know his wicked power, I know his tactics and how he revels in human pain and misery. I know how he enjoys seeing a Christian fall so imagine his delight when he can convince the parent of person, who was created to be a warrior for Christ, not to teach him or her about the savior. Satan has won many future battles by taking out one weak Christian from the start. Could the child eventually meet Christ? Absolutely, for God’s plans are never thwarted but how many are lost due to the delay? What if that child’s message was meant to change the heart of a kindergarten teacher who then affected all of her students, who then went one to affect thousands upon thousands of others? It never happened. Those thousands were lost for eternity because Christ was not the most important focus in your child rearing toolbox because you failed to realize Christ is the toolbox and everything else is useless. Are you right with Christ? Can you call yourself a godly parent? Yes? Great! keep striving to walk in the Lord. No? Then get right with God, now because you chose to bring a life into this world so make certain he or she has the tools necessary to make his or her choice for eternity.
So, to my nieces and nephews (whether by blood or ‘adopted’ into my heart), you can consider me the crazy religious nut aunt all you want. You can consider me annoying and irritating and a fun-time kill joy but I do not care. I love you and I want to see you beside me in paradise someday. I do not want to see you looking up from the fires of hell begging for relief that I have no power to give. This is not directed at any of my friends or relatives but it has been a heavy burden on my heart and spirit. I have learned to listen to the Spirit because ignoring or deafening yourself to his whisper brings nothing but pain and agony. You young bloods may consider me nosy, intrusive, pushy, judgmental, out of touch, Bible thumper, etcetera but it matters not. I am not interested in your happiness. I am not interested in your pleasure with me or my opinions. I am interested in your salvation and, if you have children, in your children’s salvation. You cannot give them salvation but do not deny them access to the road where they can meet Christ for themselves! I say these things in love and concern and I pray you take them to heart and think. Look at your child and think what you should do. Hold your child and think where you want them to be when everything around them has turned to dust.
As we are in advent season, it is a perfect opportunity to get the introductions started and provide your little one (even if they are 99) the key to joy and contentment, the path to hope, the road to eternal salvation. Everything in your life and their life should be pointing toward Christ, everything. The only thing under the Christmas tree that you should honor and give praise for is the meaning of the nativity. Sure, the newest toy and gadget will bring monetary happiness but nothing else has the power to bring salvation except Christ.
Give your children the most important, love-filled gift they will ever receive, introduce them to their savior and then work together to keep yourself and them on the path to his Kingdom. Always, in Christ’s love I leave you with these thoughts.