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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

But in my case it is ok...

Raising children is a challenge in itself. From the moment their first breath is taken, as a mother you are teaching, instructing, and molding them according to God’s will. Some days the communication misses its mark. While driving home after picking my middle son Charles up from school, I was going through our normal routine of asking him how his day was, what homework does he have for the night, and what did he eat for lunch. I am raising boys, so I have to be specific in my questions in order to find out how their day was, and to gather any relevant information.

No matter how hard I try though, sometimes things get lost in translation. As we were driving home one Friday, I asked if he received a Scoop Newsletter, which is how the teacher communicates to each of the parents. This newsletter informs parents what subjects are being discussed in class, and if your child received any sign-ins. Charles’ class has a system where if a student forgets a homework assignment, they receive one sign-in, if the student misbehaves they receive another sign-in. Basically, receiving a sign-in is not a good thing.

I compare Charles to the “absent minded professor.” He is in the gifted class, he never has to study to receive all his A’s. But remembering his homework has been his biggest challenge. Many times we are faced with him receiving several sign-ins for missing homework. I know he completes his homework, I see Charles working on it at home, but many times it does not make it back into the proper folder. When asking him about his Scoop Newsletter and how many sign-ins he received for the week. With enthusiasm Charles replied, “I received three sign-ins, but they were NOT for missing homework.” He was so proud of himself; he was rationalizing that he accomplished something good. I looked at him with my eyes as big as saucers and said, “so then that means you got three sign-ins for misbehavior!”

How often do we justify disobedience with rationalizations to God. We rationalize to God explaining our situation is special. This is where our faith in God comes into play, many times our human eyes can see an easier way out of a situation (can we say Israelites), but our ways are NOT his ways. In Hebrews 11:1, Pauls explains, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

The Greek word for “assurance” is hupostasis, and that is defiend by Strong’s (#5287) as “thing put under, substructure, foundation”. So faith is the foundation of what is hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. What happens to a foundation that is slowly washed away or eroded? Eventually the foundation will crack or give way. Rationalization is that type of erosion. It seems harmless at the time and may even make sense, but eventually things will come tumbling down and you will be left standing there wondering what went wrong.

The novelist Naguib Mahfouz wrote you can tell a wise man by the questions he asks. Rationalizing can seep in even when we are not aware, so we need to ask God to reveal any erosion in our life, and be ready to have ears that hear. Communication is key, and communication is two way.

So I will have to be even more specific with Charles and tell him, sign ins of any kind are not acceptable. And we as Christians have the responsibility to read God's word, communicate with Him daily, and grow in knowledge. Reading leads to questions, questions lead to wisdom and wisdom provides the tools we need to keep an obedient heart.

Psalms 119:9 "How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word."


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16 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you Laurel for your words of challenge! Rationalizing is so easy to slip in to--and so dangerous.

March 6, 2007 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

This is a really good post Laurel, thanks for sharing it with us.

March 6, 2007 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Great post, thanks Laurel!

March 6, 2007 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

That was such a great post I felt the excitement well inside when I saw you write, "How often do we justify disobedience with rationalizations to God?"

My husband just walked in from working late so I can't say all the good things I want to say about this post, but it was great and enlightening and warm...

March 6, 2007 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I'm just so proud of you. This is solid, Laurel, you're HERE for a reason :). God will bless your obedience to HIM as you seek to glorify Him through your written words.

Love the object lesson Charles provided for us :). Does he know you used him as an example? And that he, in his "rationalizations" teach MOMS? How cool is THAT?!

March 6, 2007 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Laurel,

Wonderful. By guarding it according to your word. The only way.

March 7, 2007 at 2:03 AM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

Thank you Laurel for sharing these words of wisdom. I know that if I don't stay in daily communication with Him, I feel lost. I sure don't want my relationship erode or even come tumbling down.

Blessings to your day and always...

March 7, 2007 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

Great post, Laurel! "Rationalization is that type of erosion" is a great analogy.

March 7, 2007 at 6:42 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

I can't help but comment how smart you boy is to start rationalizing at this age! But you made a good point; it's a good lesson for him and us!

March 7, 2007 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

ahhhh yes! i've thought about this point. how we have "sin scales". we rank our sin....
and Jesus wants us to be completely free.

God bless you. shalom.

March 7, 2007 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Your boys sounds like my oldest...very reflective - head in the sky! I must say it is so WRONG that you could write such a beautiful, applicable devotion and finish it off with a fancy picture! You GO with that Photoshop, Girl! Can you do something with my bio pic? :))

Love ya!

March 7, 2007 at 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

I so remember, when I was a young Christian and full of excuses for EVERYTHING, thinking this way. GReat devotional Laurel. :)

March 7, 2007 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

You really are having fun with photoshop, Laurel. And you're getting good at it. See? No reason at all to be nervous - you've written an outstanding contribution to this wonderful site and given us a lot the chew on.

March 7, 2007 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I love the story of your Charles. I've had that problem too- a child missing the main point because I've focused too much on a specific symptom rather than the whole issue! You clarification of "assurance" was wonderful. Thanks for posting a story from your family so we can know a bit more about you!

March 7, 2007 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

My "Charles" has long, curly red hair.

Unfortunately, her "Charles-ish-ness" is hereditary.

Thank you for this post!

March 10, 2007 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Elise said...

I can just hear Him...I can't really be any more specific - read my Book!
Great post Laurel! I don't want to rationalize, defend. Own up, and move on, yes? :)

March 18, 2007 at 5:16 PM  

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