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.

Lies Strong Girls refuse to believe

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There are a lot of lies out there. But just because they exist doesn’t mean we have to believe them. From the beginning of time the enemy, Satan, has been lying to women, twisting God’s Words and causing them to doubt Truth.

Here are some lies that flow through today’s culture. Lies you don’t have to believe.

Lies a Strong Girl stands up to and dares to defy:

  1. It doesn’t matter who your friends are.
  2. It doesn’t matter how you dress–fashion is more important than modesty.
  3. It’s okay to talk trash about people behind their backs.
  4. It’s okay to use profanity.
  5. Pretty girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not pretty enough.”
  6. Skinny girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not skinny enough.”
  7. Only girls/women who have a boyfriend are worthy.
  8. Your value is based upon how many friends you have on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram (you get the picture…)
  9. It doesn’t matter what music I listen to or movies I watch.
  10. It doesn’t matter what I post online.
  11. It doesn’t matter what I text.
  12. It’s okay to experiment with sex as long as it’s not intercourse.
  13. You can hate your parents or other family members and friends and still be a Christian.
  14. The most important thing in life is to have fun.
  15. Being sexy is more important than being modest.
  16. Education isn’t important or “I’m not smart enough.”
  17. It doesn’t matter how you earn your money just as long as you have the latest gadget or fad.
  18. You’ll never keep a boyfriend unless you have sex with him.
  19. I’m stuck and the only way out is to do something against what I believe.
  20. I’ll never have a friend I can trust.

Through the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing these lies and what our response should be to them.

What lies have you been told?

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Tweet This: A Strong Girl stands up to lies and defies them.

Strong Girls aren’t mean girls

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Strong doesn’t mean you have the right to be rude. The Bible tells us that our tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Strong Girls use their words to build up, encourage and not tear down (1 Thess. 5:11).

But how do you do that when you’re in the habit of gossiping and being negative?

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Wait upon God before you speak. Seek Him to take control of your thoughts, and when you do that, your tongue will express the sweetness that lives in your mind.

Give your words and your life, Strong Girl, the Philippians 4:8 test:

“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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Think cupcakes. Are your words sweet? Are your thoughts following Philippians 4:8?

  • True
  • Honest
  • Just (as opposed to unfair)
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Good reports (as opposed to negative gossip)
  • Virtue (good things, pure things, nice things)
  • Praise

I don’t see any nasty gossip in there, do you?

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Tweet This: Strong Girls aren’t mean girls.

Tweet This: Strong Girls don’t believe what the world and its media says they are.

Tweet This: Strong Girls are what God says they are.

 

Can you think of one way you can use your words to build someone up this week? Let me know in the comments below!