“He made me do it, dad!”
“Do you mean, son, that he made you hit him?”
“Well son, show me how exactly that he made you hit him. Did he hold your arm? Did he promise to break your favorite PowerRanger? How exactly did this happen?”
“He looked at me wrong.”
“He looked at you wrong? His looking at you made you hit him?”
If you have more than one child in your family you have probably had a very similar conversation at some point with your children. If not, you’re probably not properly interviewing the prime suspects in the destruction of one or another’s choice toys, artwork, missing Lego’s, hidden clothes, and the various joys of sibling rivalry. I would offer you a discount rate for my next Disciplining with Daniel series but my manager has informed me that you can’t discount free and they no longer want to be liable for any of my advice. Bummer for you.
Here’s the thing: kids grow into adults. Jim Hancock has written a book (no recommendation: haven’t read it) which points out that we should be reminded that we aren’t raising children but rather we are raising and training adults.
It is in this adult realm that I want to dally for a few moments. I wrote a post last week about our discovery of life-changing, Biblical truths by having a steady and consuming diet of Scripture. Two days later I read through a passage of Scripture that I want to point out to you today.
In Genesis 13 we see Abram arriving in Canaan. This is the land that God has promised to him and to his heirs forever. The first reality of Abram’s arrival is that he and Lot cannot continue to dwell together as they are without some change. Lot is Abram’s nephew and as such is very much under Abram’s rule or control.
At this point Abram offers the first choice of the land to Lot. The land that has been promised to Abram is extended to another (could really go on about grace here, but suffice to say that Matthew 5-7 is a great passage to read with this in mind) and Lot takes full advantage. He chooses the best. He chooses that which everyone would desire. He chooses the plains of Jordan.
After Lot departs to claim his prize God reappears to Abram and says this:
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
Here’s the point; God’s promise and God’s blessing to Abram was not at all influenced by Lot’s selfish claim. God’s promise was not impacted by Lot’s assertion of himself. God’s plan was not altered by Lot’s simply act of looking out for himself first.
Here’s to you and I
I can’t count on all of my fingers and toes the times just in the past month that someone has made a comment to me similar to these below:
I was having a great day, and she came along with her attitude and stole my joy.
Everything was great in my life until I had to deal with the idiot at the repair shop.
My blood boils any time he walks by. I know what God says, but …
On and on I could go but chances are that many of us have come very close to those three statements above.
Lot couldn’t take Abram’s blessing because the blessing was from God to Abram.
Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
If The Lord is our strength then our joy will come from him. Therefore, no one, no one, can take our joy unless we surrender our joy to them. This surrender is usually in hopes of some self-satisfaction, some selfish ambition. This could have bound Abram but it did not, and as we trust in The Lord, we can rest assured that it won’t bind us as well.
So the next time you are convinced that someone has stolen your Happy Jar, just allow this truth to remind you that this is a symptom of not trusting in the One who has made the promise that He will one day make all things right. Remember that the One who has said that He will be the shield of those who trust in Him.