Home Sweet Home (and other thoughts)...

I got home this afternoon from a quick overnight trip to see family in Mt. Carmel, Illinois yesterday. I had a great time and I'm so glad I went. But it feels so good to be home, even after just one night!

I left early yesterday morning so I could be there in time for lunch. My Aunt Wanda wanted me to meet her and her prayer group. She was hoping I would share my testimony with them.

I was a little too determined to get there. I got a speeding ticket between Evansville and Mt. Carmel. I didn't even realize I was breaking the speed limit (at that time). But I knew I had willfully broken it earlier in the day. So I accepted my consequences as humbly as I could. Later, when I called to tell John of my misfortune, he asked, "You couldn't talk your way out of it?" I said, "I didn't even try. I was so guilty. And the officer couldn't have been nicer. He informed me that he had clocked me twice at that speed. He was doing his job. I only had myself to blame."

On the way home, I listened to two Tim Keller sermons. They both touched on the life of David and Uriah's wife. Keller talked about genuine repentance and the vast difference between hating the consequences of our sin vs. hating our sin.

For instance, I hate it that I didn't obey the speed limit yesterday. But I didn't hate the sin of breaking the law. I hated the consequences (to me) of getting a ticket. Had I been able to speed successfully, there would have been no regret.

Keller spoke specifically about David saying in Psalm 51:4, "Against you, you only, have I sinned..."

Of course, David had very definitely also sinned against Uriah. But the point he was making was that David was hating his sin and not merely his consequences in this psalm. He hated what his sin did to God. He took responsibility for his sin (no "but the" explanation). He realized that before he committed the sin of physical adultery, he had already committed spiritual adultery against God. This is genuine repentance.

The title of the sermon is "The Sinner." I have listened to it numerous times. But I get so much out of it every time I hear it. Keller also talks about the absolute necessity of our having Nathans in our lives and that in order to have Nathans in our lives, we must "deputize" Nathans to tell us the truth when we can't see ourselves. He pointed out that our worst flaws are the ones we can't see. I see so many in myself, that is a horrible thought for me to entertain.

I am barely scratching the surface of the sermon. My thoughts are scattered. I may share more from this sermon in another post. But there is something else I really want to write about.

I got to join my aunt and her friends for their regular Tuesday afternoon prayer group yesterday. It was such a blessing. I shared my testimony and they all prayed over me at the end. It was very special. My aunt has hosted this prayer group in her home for over twenty years and this is the first time I have ever been there to meet and join them.

I shared with them about a conversation I recently had with my son. In this conversation, Danny and I were discussing the pros and cons of boldness. I was pointing out the importance of saying things in love. Danny and I are both very direct. But (as a typical mother) I sometimes worry that his heart is misjudged and misunderstood because his words are often strong. I tend to try to soften my words as much as possible while still being true to my convictions. (This is partly because I can't stand for people to be upset with me.) In this conversation, Danny related to me a sermon he had listened to about "shooting the wolves." The sermon, of course, was addressing the wolves in sheep's clothing described in Matthew 7:15.

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

Danny expressed his conviction that we are called to shoot the wolves. And I responded that I don't want to shoot any wolves. I was telling the ladies this story as a part of my testimony and in an attempt to convey the constant tension that exists between speaking out against false doctrine, and all the while wanting desperately to get my love to people and have them know how much I love them. It seems like the two are mutually exclusive sometimes. Some people don't believe I love them. And I won't hesitate to tell you how much that pains me.

This afternoon Danny and I were talking on the phone and we revisited that conversation as I was telling him about sharing my story with my aunt's prayer group. And he said, "Mom, we all have different callings and you don't have a pastor's calling so maybe you won't be required to shoot at wolves. But I bet if you saw a wolf with a lamb in its mouth, you would shoot."

I can't even type that sentence without tearing up. He's right. I would shoot a wolf to save a sheep or a lamb. I had never quite thought about it from that perspective. I was picturing Danny as Clint Eastwood, guns-a-blazin'...huntin' the wolves. But his description of the danger and what is at stake was powerful. And I just haven't been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

I know I will still probably cringe when I feel that softer words could be used. But Nathan did not use soft words when he spoke the truth to David. And he boldly told David the truth because he loved David and was his friend. No matter how hard it may be for me, I want to listen to the Nathans God puts in my life. I want to hate my sin. I want to make no excuses for my sin. And I want to be quick to repent. Many times my own son has had to remind me to repent. "Repent and rest in God's forgiveness," he would tell me. (I tend to flog myself even after I have repented to God and everyone.) I remember one time when I was feeling like a bad mother for some reason. And he told me, "Mom, being an imperfect mom is not the equivalent of being a bad mom." I sometimes have to be reminded that being imperfect is a part of living in this flesh. My former indoctrination still impacts me at times. I condemn myself even when Jesus is not condemning me.

We don't always look at every situation from an identical perspective. But I'm thankful to have a son that I can have these kinds of conversations with and one who encourages me in my spiritual growth. And when I offer my insight, I'm thankful he feels that it's appropriate (even though he's about to be 31). I'm thankful that he has a heart for God and for truth. And I'm thankful that we can disagree without jeopardizing our close relationship.

I love you, Danny.


Danny Bryant said…
i love you, too. thanks for your kind words.

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