The Defensive Line

The chips are down, the proverbial crap has hit the fan, you are under attack.

Who do you run to?  Who’s got your back? 

When all hell is breaking loose in their lives, when they’ve lost hope, vision, purpose, who do they run to?

We have groups for everything; AA groups, Narcanon, men’s groups and women’s  groups, small groups, conferences and churches.

Who is your first line of defense?

I believe in accountability.  I believe in standing together in this fight we call life.  I think I just have a different take on who we should run to first.

Now the churchy answer is to say, “Jesus.”  But, for many of us, He has already provided the answer to our pleas. 

So here goes:

Husbands, your first line of defense is your wife.  I hear so much of the talk about how women can’t handle our issues, shouldn’t have to.  But who did God provide?  Your dealing with sexual temptation, business concerns, addictions, problems with no solutions.  Talk to her, open your heart to her first.

Wives, yep, he’s the one.  Your girlfriends, your bible study group, your counselor can not help you the way your husband can.  They can not bring truth, healing, life the way he can.

Young people, the TV, Facebook, your friends, YouTube, the lives of musicians, stars, sports heroes and politicians can not guide you through like a talk with your dad, your mom, grandma, grandpa.  No one, and I mean no one loves you like we do.

“Oh but you don’t know my . . .”

And the truth is, I don’t.  Our world is so broken, sin so pervasive, that the people we should trust are the last people we can trust.  People have abused me, manipulated me, hurt me.  And, that includes my wife.  I have done the same to her.  I have not often been a good dad or son.  I am human, the definition of untrustworthy.

But my untrustworthiness so often stems from my lack of vulnerability to the ones who can help me.  I can paint a picture for my bible study.  I can gloss the photo for my church.  I can get angry, cover, lie, protect myself  from so many.  They remain virtually unscathed.  It always damages the one I love most.

I want to turn it in its head.  Stand back to back, shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye with her.  I want to make her strong, let her beauty shine.  And I will never do that by hiding myself from her.

We face this fight together.  We are only safe in each other’s arms.

Side note:  please do not stay in a situation where you are being abused.  Get help, get healing, then seek restoration.

Punishment

(My friends from New Life will recognize the input from Dr. Michelle Anthony and her book, “Spiritual Parenting”)

Why do we punish our children?  Why does God punish us?  Why do we punish ourselves?

Many of us have lived in a culture of shame and condemnation, for years, for generations.  We see God on His Great White Throne of judgement, glaring down on His rebellious children, waiting for the moment they fail, so that He can strike us down.  When He doesn’t kill us, we think He doesn’t see us.  So there is no comfort in His lack of action either.  We crave boundaries, rules that we can follow and earn favor with.  To be left in an apparent vacuum creates confusion and stress.

Can I start this saying, “be still and know that He is God.”

Our goal in punishment is to make the act of our disobedience so painful that the sinner never wants to sin again.

And this never works.

Did you hear me?  IT NEVER WORKS!

People get good at covering their shame and guilt, gold-plating their failures and molding the rules to their advantage.  But guilt and shame, hatred, fear are all tools that satan uses, not God.

Always with God, the goal of punishment is healing and restoration.  He seeks to expose the hidden brokenness so that the root of our torture can be removed, so that His love, His Spirit can fill the emptiness.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:7-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To order Dr. Anthony’s book, click on the link below.

http://www.davidccook.com/catalog/Detail.cfm?sn=106559&source=search