Not always sure what my kids fully understand but they need to know this important pastor’s ministry to bring a stronger sense of God’s justice to the world.
Patience is the key to a healthy church community (1 Thess. 5:14). The world is so busy and not only do we want everything “right now”, but we are almost expected to give of our selves completely “right now”. There is little patience in us because there is very little patience for us or with us.
I have very little patience for my children. I except them to think, behave, and act more mature than they should. I expect them to do things right and not make mistakes even though many of their experiences are first time experiences. I essentially want them to get everything right the first time they try it. Talk about pressure.
Paul teaches that as the church community one of the most important signs of health is the patience that we have with one another(1 Thess. 5:14). I have to admit I am not always quick to have patience with people as I apply the same expectations on church members and leadership that I place on my kids.
I think the key reason patience is such a good thing to practice is that it makes grace show up. You see patience sits on top of grace by bring it out in the practical moments of everyday life. Jesus has to have patience with us as we grow in maturity just like we must have patience with one another as we grow in maturity.
When I look at my two boys I wonder what they think about their adoption? I wonder what questions do they ask themselves that they just can’t articulate on their own? Being a heavy processor of every event in my life I have to be careful with ‘over asking’ these questions of the boys, however they are important questions for their long term health. So here is a bit of how I try to pay attention without asking too many questions.
I remember learning through my wife that you have to be careful when administering Tylenol during a fever. If you take the Tylenol too early you can mask the fever which is bad because the fever is not the real problem. The body produces fevers in order to route out the disease in our bodies. So in a sense fevers can be a good thing for us and can tell us a lot about our overall health if we listen to them. Let your fevers speak to you.
I remember when we adopted our third child my son, Josh, asked what color she would be, and how he hoped she would be brown like him. I remember we responded by telling him no matter what color she was that we would love her and she would be a part of our family, just like him. He said “okay” and we prayed and went to pick her up.
Later, we remembered to revisit that moment with Josh. That moment was a fever. It was a part of his heart coming out to tell us how he feels about himself. Acceptance is difficult enough when you don’t have obstacles against you. Josh struggles with acceptance like everyone else and a piece of it slipped out that night. It was a good reminder for us to continue to encourage and remind him that we are a family no matter how different we may look from one another.
The truth is that the times we are most likely to avoid each other happens when we mask the symptoms. A joke here, a smile there, a simple “I’m doing okay”. That is why we need to pay attention to the small moments when people leak a verbal comment that speaks to their true heart. Don’t shy away from discussing small comments made by your children, friends, or loved ones. It is often in the little comments, or mean jokes that true hurt is festering. When Jesus taught the disciples to turn the other check when struck; maybe it was so the good ear would be exposed to hear how the person was hurting, because the striking out was merely the symptom.
In the end we all are going to try and avoid talking about pain. It is the influence of sin. Sin teaches us to protect our hearts from vulnerability. Sin teaches us that a stiff upper lip and a proud chest can overcome any internal struggles of our heart. Don’t buy into it. Find a good group of people who love Jesus to share your heart with today.