Public Shaming

Who gossips to youwill gossip about youEveryone’s talking about it. The recent scandal of a popular homeschooling family has tongues wagging all over the world. And even if I don’t mention their names here on this blog, chances are, you know exactly who I’m talking about.

And it’s not all our fault. The family put themselves out there for public consumption. Except that, I like to think they started out as a family who saw an opportunity to share Jesus with the world in a unique way. Maybe I’m naive, but that’s how I like to think it started.

As a former homeschool Mom myself, I know the idealism I embraced in those days. Looking back, maybe I was a little too idealistic. There’s no real way to know. But I don’t regret homeschooling. I wonder sometimes about some of my choices because I know I’m far from perfect. But I also know that my choice to homeschool my children was made prayerfully each year. I never took the decision lightly.

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It makes me sad to see a family taken to task for something so humiliating in such a brutal way. I feel for the parents. I feel for the children. It breaks my heart because I know how it feels.

No, I don’t have my own reality  TV show. But I’m a pastor’s wife in a small rural town. We live in a glass house. Always have. And it’s not been easy on my children. Yes, we chose to be in the ministry. But that doesn’t mean the pain of public humiliation doesn’t hurt just as much.

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As a mother of sons who made mistakes as adults, I can identify with the TV mother’s grief. I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated as a family. The emotions are overwhelming and confusing.

But I still don’t understand the delight people have in pointing their fingers and wagging their tongues. Even before my family went through such things I never liked the way TV programs and newspapers convicted people who were charged with crimes before they went to trial.

I’m not siding with any crime. I don’t condone crime or abuse of any kind. But it does trouble me to watch people rush to harsh judgement as if they’ve never faltered or made a mistake themselves. But for the grace of God none of my mistakes have been hung out for the world to see. How many of those who point fingers have sin in their own lives?

Judging others doesn't define who they

I suppose there have to be harsh critics in the world or we wouldn’t have judges or law enforcement officials. I know I wouldn’t make a very good one. I believe every soul is redeemable. I believe that wrongs can be forgiven and that no one is perfect. Mercy is, thankfully, one of my gifts. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It just means I’d not make a very good supreme court justice. I’m more of a defense lawyer-type than a prosecutor. And that’s okay because society needs both.

Homeschool families who believe in the Word of God as their guide aren’t perfect. I know for myself, I cling more desperately to His Word because I know how weak I am, how fallible, and how at risk I am of falling. It’s what holds me up. It’s what keeps me from making mistakes I’m sure to make without its guidance.

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People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. You can’t reason with unreasonable people. Those who hate that TV family will continue to hate them. And I hope the ones that love them will continue to pray for them but also learn some valuable lessons:

  • No one’s perfect.
  • Every family has secrets.
  • People delight in your shortcomings–suck it up and hold your head high.
  • You aren’t what people say you are, you are what God says you are.
  • This world is temporary but your relationship with God and others is not.
  • Pray for your enemies.
  • Pray for each other in the Homeschool/Christian community.
  • Be careful who you idolize and look up to because there are no perfect families or Christians.
  • You aren’t supposed to be idolizing anyone on this earth in the first place.
  • The only one who will never disappoint you is Jesus.
  • Follow Jesus not other Christians or Christian leaders.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
  • Some sins have harsher consequences than other sins but there is no sin too great God can’t forgive.
  • Some things aren’t any of your business.

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There are a lot more lessons to be learned and it’s a shame we’re learning them at the expense of a very nice family. I hope and pray you’ll join me in praying for them and for those who love to hate them. They need Jesus, too.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?  (Romans 2:1)

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Tweet this: If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Justice


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the Letters I and J

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I missed the letter “I” last week, and since I’m a bit OCD, I have to include it before I can move on to the letter J. So, briefly, here is the letter “I”–for “Instamatic.” And below is an Instamatic photo of me in my wedding dress 32 years ago (my anniversary is December 3). This was taken by my childhood Sunday School teacher who loved to take photos and record me singing. This was in the days of innocence and ours was a unique father-daughter bond. I don’t think I can even describe it to you.

wedding7Me in 1982 a few days before my wedding

Did you know that Instamatics are making a come-back? It’s a new art form!

Now for the Letter J

J is for Justice

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this word, justice. People have been protesting in hopes of bringing it to pass. And it’s true that while we live on this earth, we are to seek justice and be proponents of it. God commands us to “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalm 82:3).

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But as long as justice is meted out by fallible people, there will be no true justice in this world. Where is the justice in children going hungry, being abused and neglected, or dying of cancer? What is just and fair about me going about my Christmas shopping and decorating while young children are beheaded in Iraq because they refuse to deny Christ?

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ISIS holding up their weapons as they pose next to the trademark black and white Islamist flag at an undisclosed location in Iraq’s Anbar province. (Photo: AFP-Youtube, Bing, free use image)

Life on this earth simply isn’t fair. My day to day life is better than many people’s, and countless others have it better than me. There is no equality while living on this side of heaven.

Which makes our need for true justice all the more obvious.

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People tend to look at Jesus as a sort of Santa Claus whom they pray to about all their wants and desires. I admit doing it myself because I believe that my Lord is interested in everything I’m fascinated with. He’s not surprised I like pretty things, and dream of a more user-friendly house. I talk to Him about it often. However, He is so much more than a Friend I can go to about my heart’s desires. 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” — Isaiah 11:2-5

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There are no just judges or juries in this land. There never will be. Our souls yearn for justice because we long for a heavenly home. Our souls yearn for something “more” and I believe that’s because we yearn to be forever in the very presence of Justice Himself.

There is something inside of all of us that knows there will be a day of judgement when the wicked must pay. The thing many people don’t realize, however, is that all have sinned, are wicked, and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). They compare themselves with others instead of with the righteousness of God. Without the cleansing power of Christ, not one of us will be justified on the terrible day we stand before the Lord and account for our lives.

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But my Savior, Jesus Christ–He is my advocate and will tell the Father, “her sins are paid in full.” Only because He loved me enough to die for me. What kind of justice is that? It’s certainly not fair to God. It’s not fair at all.

But this is grace, my friend. Beautiful, boundless, amazing, undeserved grace.

I, for one, don’t want justice for my sins. I don’t want what’s coming to me.

And what blows my mind, and what I can’t get my mind around sometimes, is that He doesn’t want that for me, either.

 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee” (Isaiah 30:18 & 19).

flying_birdTweet this: As long as justice is meted out by fallible people, there will be no true justice in this world.

 

 

 

 



Strong Girls aren’t ashamed of their Christianity

Stronggirlslogo2We are living in troubling times as Strong Girls. Which is why now, more than ever before, it’s important to remain strong and firm in our faith.

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Christians throughout the world are dying for believing in Jesus. Maybe you think this will never happen to you, but I’m sure other Christian women and girls in the world thought the same thing.

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Mariam Yehya Ibrahim is one of those women. She was put in prison in her own country (Sudan) for being a Christian and for marrying a Christian. Even though she had her little boy with her in prison, and was also expecting a baby, she refused to renounce her faith.

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All she had to do to get out of prison was tell the prison authorities that she would become a Muslim and deny Jesus as her Savior. She was hungry. She was carrying a child. Her little boy was hungry, too. But she refused to renounce her faith. What a strong woman.

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I wonder — are you that strong? Am I?

Mariam revealed the secret to her strength in a recent interview on Fox News. It wasn’t that she had her own superpowers, but the power of faith: “The situation was difficult but I was sure that God would stand by my side. I relied only on my faith.”

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“When I was in prison I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was most scared of giving birth in prison…I gave birth chained — not cuffs but chains on my legs. I couldn’t even open my legs, so the women had to lift me off the table.”

Meriam Ibrahim with her daughter, who was born in Omdurman women's prison last week

Because of the way she was forced to give birth, her baby girl may never walk.

While you watch the video below, think about what you would do in these circumstances. Someday you may need to take a stand for your faith. As a Strong Girl, you, like Mariam, will need to draw on the strength that comes from faith in God.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6b.

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Tweet This: Is your faith strong enough to be tested?