Truth Matters

We all like to enable our kids toward greater Christ-likeness. But when is the linwe crossed whereby our enabling (on a matter, for example, that seems to be unrelated to growth in Christ) actually becomes detrimental to their spiritual health? What is the standard of measurement we use to help keep balance in this important pursuit? One mentor recently taught me this: To enable our kids in things contrary to the ways of the Lord is to encourage their failure—though our Lord is able to redeem even failures unto His glory and praise. My advisor went on to tell his story … My mother had to put her foot down and draw the line in the sand. She told my dad she could no longer continue to condone my wrong behavior even though they had been tolerating it for years. While my dad was loving, it was the love of my mom which presented tough love to the extent that I finally took giant steps forward in my maturation (unto greater Christ-likeness) process. If it weren’t for her willingness to confront a major flaw in my life, I most likely wouldn’t have become the man I am today. “Thank you Lord, for the tough love of my mom!” My friend continued his story … This growing-up season was not easy. I was moving further into bondage as I continued practicing deceit. It had gotten so bad I began cutting classes and going to great lengths to hide my darkening ways. I discovered my lie was contributing to even greater deception. One day, my mom busted me. From the road she yelled (to us as my brother and I were taking refuge in a branch-covered hideout nestled in the woods), “Jonathan, get up here!” By that time she had already been told by one of my friends that I had not been going to school for almost a week. I was in trouble! But my fleshly state directed me in a way contrary to reconciliation. Instead of confessing my sin and apologizing for my ways, I conjured up an even greater lie. But my mom knew better, called the school to confirm her suspicions and pressed on — remaining faithful to her resolve to help her son out of the deep hole into which I had fallen. To make a long story short, my friend further elaborated, my mom came to a point where she could no longer accept my dishonesty. While she (and dad) initially did things to enable it to a point, it had grown to be a stench. “No,” she said. “I am not loving my son by enabling him in this sin. I must confront the issue in love and address it … even if it means appearing mean-spirited. Darkness must not be allowed any further liberty to thrive.” My mentor continued his story: Years later I can sincerely say, “Mom, thank you for refusing to enable me in my sin. Thank you for taking a stand against evil even though it hurt getting out of the cage in which I insisted living. At first I hated you. But once I was free, I could see more clearly. I now realize your depth of love for me. Mom, THANK YOU for being the one who helped me confront my lifestyle of sin. I love you, too, my dearest.” Wow. My mentor did me a great service in telling his story. I now know what I need to do in order to better be the parent my Father wants me to be. While discipline is difficult, if it springs from tough love and pure motive, it’s more than worth it. Thank you, Jonathan’s mom, for caring enough to confront. Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing your story. Is it possible you’ve been too gracious to the extent of failing to protect your children through loving discipline? Have you traveled the easier path to the degree you’re no longer in balance? Please recall Hebrews 12:5-12 and the many Proverbs which speak to this very theme. Allow me to conclude with this example passage from Revelation 3:19 … (our LORD speaking) “I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference.” (NLT) Lord, I want to be a doer of your Word and not a hearer only. Help us apply this theme in our lives. If God has you firmly on track to bring glory to Him via you being absolutely marvelous at something, you will find yourself failing at whatever the things are that you would have settled for along the way should you have been made a person that was built for mediocrity. You were not built for mediocrity. You were built for glory. You were built to reflect the Lord’s glory in the vocation of his choosing. You can’t reflect the glory and embrace mediocrity at the same moment. Mediocrity is the enemy of brilliance, glory, and genius.
But you must experience many failures along the road to glory. The reason for this is simple. Should you have succeeded where God wanted failure, your journey would have ended prematurely with you settling on something “good enough”. There is no “good enough” with God. He wants you lacking nothing so you will be fully prepared to enter into the thing it is he intends for you to do for him. Failure is the only thing that can accomplish this. King David never settled for anything short of a kingship. There were times he wanted to I’m sure. He was human. Like any human, I’m sure he was tempted to acquiesce the invitation to settle for this or that. He never did. He knew he had been set aside for something bigger, better, and more beautiful. And so was born the greatest of the kings; hewn, sanded, and polished through an extensive and brutal journey with failure.
You may be in a season of relative failure. Relative being the operative word. Stand firm and resist the temptation to settle for something less than what you’ve been called to. Settling for mediocrity is like stopping short of Everest’s summit, after your sixth attempt, only to raise your arms in triumph, turn abruptly, and head back down the mountain to happily join the ranks of those who also never made it. The only difference between them and you is you chose to join them. They never chose you. You were always meant for the summit.