4 Statements I can’t stand to hear.

“Everything happens for a reason”
I think this statement is cruel. It makes it sound as if God wanted it happen. And it doesn’t seem to line up with the God I’m coming to know more and more each day. I think that the God who sacrificed so much for me, would not make bad things happen to me.  “This I know…for the Bible tells me so.”  That’s what the little song says. Right?  I know that he is incredibly sad when things in this world hurt me or make me sad. I know he is “close to the brokenhearted,” and that he sees “every tear that falls.”  What happens to me in this world matters very much to him. But, that’s just it – we live in a broken world. Oh, so broken. So many injustices. God’s world is a Garden of Eden. He doesn’t wish for families to break apart. He is sad when people leave this earth because of cancer. He is crushed when a dad puts a bullet in his chest because he just can’t take it anymore.

Now…can He take those horrible things and do something beautiful – absolutely beautiful – out of them? I know and I have seen. It’s what movies are made of. It’s in my own little world. He can and he does. And I mark my path along the way with these stories so I’ll remember.  I need to remember when I’m sad or confused or hurt. I remember His heart is breaking with mine and he just might bring something beautiful out of it in time for me to see.

But is there a reason? Did he want it happen?  Not the God I know.

[To a child] “It’s just a toy.”
I once read somewhere that a child’s first understanding of ownership is through toys. They’re important to them. They represent entertainment, a line in an imaginary story, activity, maybe a connection with a buddy. Toys will open doors in the future.  When you don’t acknowledge the importance of things that are important to them, it’s almost like saying to them, “What’s important to you, isn’t really that important.”  Granted – it’s not important in the scheme of things.  But they don’t have the “scheme of things.”  So, how could they possibly understand its level of importance?  What’s crucial in toy management is that you’re communicating to them isn’t about the toy.  You’re communicating that “What is important to you, is important to me.”   When a kid comes to me all upset because Batman’s arm has fallen off, I would say, “Oh no. How terrible.  I know you love playing with this toy.  Let’s see if we can fix it.”  I had it in my mind that someday that Batman would turn into a Gameboy and the Gameboy would turn into a skateboard and the skateboard into a bike and a bike into a car and the car into a girlfriend (although she’s not a toy!).  But I knew I wouldn’t be able to jump in, say, at the girlfriend stage and suddenly say, “Hey bud – talk to me about this thing that’s important to you.”  Because it wouldn’t have been our pattern all along, all these years.  So, I learned all the names of the characters from Thomas the Tank Engine and then all the names of the Power Rangers and Pokemans.  I wanted to be sure I was saying early on, “It’s important to me.” It’s not just a toy.  It’s a door.  A door that once opened, will follow you all the way through.

“Kids are resilient.”
No they’re not.  Ask any therapist or marriage counselor about their 30 something client.  They’re not on the couch talking for hours and hours about their current situation. They’re digging into stuff that’s been buried for many years – back in the days when they were “resilient.” They’re digging out the emotions behind that broken home, the alcoholic dad, the verbally abusive mom, the teasing from a sibling. Maybe a better statement is “kids are good at burying things.”  I’m not saying kids have to be sheltered from the reality of this broken world.  That’s almost cruel. What I am saying is that we, as parents, should not be so naive. If you think the ramifications of a child’s current situation will not leave a scar or a wound, you’re very wrong. We’ll send you the counseling bill.

“I need to forgive myself.”
Where does it say this in the Bible? I read about God’s forgiveness of me – love that! I read of my forgiveness of others – pretty tough sometimes. But forgiving myself? Can’t find it anywhere. I don’t know where people get this idea. Is God’s forgiveness of you not enough? Why receive a beautiful necklace from Tiffany’s, then go to Walmart and feel like you have to buy a necklace that looks the same.  Sure, you can do that.  But why?  It’s so cheap. (Not that I don’t have a few Walmart necklaces – they’re awfully cute! But you see my point.)  Thinking that you need to forgive yourself sort of slaps Jesus in the face. “You dying on the cross wasn’t good enough to forgive me. Thanks anyway. I’ll just go over here and work on forgiving myself.” I think “forgiving yourself” is especially difficult if you see the result of your sin every day. You see the un-wanted pregnancy every day – and all the sin leading up to that. You’re struggling bank account balance reminds you of years of really bad decisions. Your “only weekend visits” with your kids reminds you of the affair that “just happened.” Your wayward teen, not sure what you did wrong there, but you think, “I must have done something wrong…” Yes, that is not easy.  And you’ve repented and confessed these sins, so why do you still feel so guilty? God’s forgiven you – whether your feel forgiven or not. It’s truth, whether you choose to embrace it or not. I think there’s a reason why you don’t see “forgive yourself” in the Bible. In most cases, God knew we wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s why he sent Jesus.

Have you ever found yourself saying these things?
Has this helped to shift your thinking? And strike these statements forever from your lips?


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