Lessons from a Dad: Part 7 Be Firm
Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.”
Recently, I began writing a series of blogs as a result of reflecting on the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death. In the first one, I placed a list of 10 things I want to teach my girls. At the bottom of this post are links connecting you with the previous posts.
This entire blog series started off with the idea that you must live life intentionally. Although I have not mentioned intentional living each post, it has been an undercurrent in how I have been thinking about these topics. As I write, I think about my girls and what they need to know about life. Really, this thought of being firm is coupled together with being kind. Both are needed in a good balance. Kindness is often associated with soft and firmness is often associated with cold and hard. Without the other, neither of those are going to do you well in life girls. You need to be kind, but not so soft that you are not able to speak and firm in your ideas and convictions. I pray you will be Christians when you grow up and there are convictions that Christians have because of our worldview and understanding of the Bible. However, you can hold to those convictions and still be kind to others.
One of the things I have learned over the years, (and by the time you two grow up, you will probably have to deal with it even more) is that those who do not agree with Christians completely on every little things are our enemies and we must be destroyed. Some might think: “They are so dumb, because they think [any other way] than how I think and act.” Girls, please hear me and my heart behind this – I learned this from my Grandpa and my dad: having convictions and thought-through beliefs that you may need to explain to others, does not mean you are better than anyone else. I want you girls to be firm in your life; I do not want you to be pushed around and manipulated by every new wave and movement that comes. However, I do not want you to be so set in your ways that you begin to view others as the enemy. The truth for Christians is that it is not “us vs. them” in life. It is a “we know the truth, and the Gospel is good news – not a command – not a political agenda – not a declaration – not a movement”. It is simply telling the news of who Jesus is and what Jesus did. He bore our sin on the cross. He took the just wrath of God for believers. For Christians, the Gospel is news of a substitution. He took what I deserve – death, and credited to me what He earned – righteousness. If that is the truth and what we really believe, then we do not have genuine and true enemies. I have neighbors. Some of those neighbors – many of those neighbors – have never heard that truth. Many of those neighbors are trying to sort out truth in a world that is filled with misinformation. Can you imagine not knowing who to trust? Can you imagine not knowing what is right and wrong until the crowd that chants the loudest tells you? Can you imagine what it would mean to be a good, moral person when every day those things that the world and culture declare as “good” changes… where morality is a moving target? I can see how you would be defensive. I can understand how you would want things to change or stay the same depending on your social standing. I hear and feel the pain in many of those loudest voices, and it breaks my heart.
Girls be firm, but wrap the firmness in kindness. Being kind does not mean you get taken advantage of all the time. However, it sure does not mean that you sit back and watch bad things happen. There will be times were you will need to stand up for people or things. Let me assure you, you will be misunderstood. People will question your heart behind it. You will be accused of many things. None of that matters. Do what is right by the Lord, and let life come as it does. Do not get angry with those who talk about you, but do not get pushed around either. My dad and grandpa were experts at this. Neither of them ever, to my knowledge, talked to me about this lesson. It was just observed. They could disagree and still be friends. They would stand up for those who were being pushed around and picked on. Girls, everyone is wanting to make a difference. Social media is limited in what actual change can happen there. So much of social media has become what bumper stickers on cars used to be. You express your opinion, not to have an informed conversation with the opportunity to stand firm and explain why while still respecting the other person matters. Bumper stickers are meant to express what you believe so everyone knows, but not really have any actually change or growth. Don’t let your convictions become bumper stickers that get applauded by those who have them too and insulted by those who don’t. Don’t cast off others. Be firm. Be strong. Be kind. If you are believers, then you have the news that they need. Show them the Gospel, and talk about Jesus. Be intentional.
Introduction to series blog –
Lessons from a Dad –
Jesus is Better Than You Can Ever Imagine
The Local Church is VITAL
Know What Matters Most
Give Your Best, Always
Be a Little Better Tomorrow
Blog posts without Ira Baptist Church updates can be found at https://moorewordsfromben.wordpress.com/
Pastor, Ira Baptist Church