By / Nov 2

What would happen if you found out that all of your secrets were about to be on display for the world to see? Would you feel the need to run and hide? Would you be okay with what was about to be revealed? Would you have to explain yourself because what you had presented in the past wasn’t the truth?

A public fall

I remember when I first heard about the strange turn of events that happened at the beginning of 2015. One of America’s favorite anchormen was caught in a lie, and not only once, but several times. It was discovered that NBC News anchor, Brian Williams, embellished reports of a time he covered Israel’s war with Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group.

As a result, Williams received incredible backlash from the media and on the Internet. When news first broke, there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t see something on social media expressing disgust for his actions. In a matter of moments, his reputation went from generally respected to dishonorable.

Sadly, there’s no shortage of these types of stories when it comes to the public eye. It’s a pity when someone falls like this. We never want to rejoice in the misfortunes of others. And, yet, these events also provide a great lesson for us. Sin’s wages are steep, and sometimes those consequences are on display for all to see.

A needed reminder

So, how are we to think about this in relation to our own tongues?

I often notice people separating themselves from these situations with statements like: “Can you believe what he did?,” “She is a liar and deserves the worst punishment necessary,” “I can’t imagine doing something like that.”

Though our disappointment—and disgust—is often justified, we forget that lying like Williams’ isn’t any different from our own. We can evaluate him and others as public figures, but we mustn’t believe we are incapable of the same grave mistake.

Social media, the place where so much of our backlash is usually seen, is one area where it can be easy to lie. Social media makes it easy to present oneself in one way and live in another. With all the words and pictures we share, there’s a temptation to lie. If you’re always presenting life as sunshine and lilies, then there’s probably an instance when you’ve lied. I’m not saying we need to expose our children’s errors online, nor do we need to be grumble and be gloomy constantly, but I am challenging us to think about what we are presenting and ask, ”Is this true?”

However, social media isn’t the only area where we can be tempted to lie. Have you ever been asked how you are doing and lied about it? Have you denied an invitation to an event and made up a reason for your regret? If you have children, have you ever fed your kids this empty threat, “If you do that one more time I’ll__(fill in the blank),” knowing good and well that you wouldn’t do it?

All of these are what we consider “little white lies,” but nowhere in Scripture does God say that it’s OK. A lie is a lie, and before you think, “Wait is she comparing my lying to Brian Williams’?,” remember that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  Our degrees of sinning and the he consequences will be different, but the heart problem could be similar. As we see the plank in the eye of another, we cannot forget about the log in our own—and our need for God to help us pry it out.

A call to truth

The Bible has over 100 verses addressing the tongue. As Christians, we have the freedom and joy of sharing and speaking the truth. In many ways, the command to speak the truth is an essential aspect of our calling. So, let’s be people who speak in a manner worthy of our calling—speaking the truth in love, allowing no corrupt talk to come from our mouths, keeping our lips from evil and speaking gently (Eph. 4:10, 29; Psalm 34:13). And in all this, whether on social media or in private, let’s use our communication to point to the reality that we have and know the ultimate Truth—and we get the privilege of sharing this with the world.  

By / Jun 24

We honor marriage because God honors it. Indeed the whole Trinity testifies that marriage is honorable.

God the Father honored it by designing, instituting, regulating, and witnessing the first marriage. God defines it’s nature, its parties and its terms. 

Christ honored it by performing his first miracle at a wedding (John 2) and using marriage in quite a few parables

The Holy Spirit honored it by making it a picture of the church in Ephesians 5.

We also honor marriage because God commands it to be honored (Heb. 13:4). Here are eight ways we can do this.

1. We honor it by praying for it

Some people will pray for a parking spot but never pray for a wife or a husband. They think it’s too much to ask. Or they’ll pray for their kids to get into college but not that they’d get into a good marriage. By not asking God for marriage for themselves or their loved ones, they are dishonoring marriage and the God who can give it.

A fund raiser once told me that some wealthy people he knows are actually insulted if he doesn’t ask them for money, or if he asks them for too little. Instead they feel honored that he should ask them and that he should ask them for so much.

Honor God and marriage by asking for happy and fruitful marriages for yourself and for your children. Let it never be said, “You have not, because you ask not.” Or “You ask not because you value not.”

2. We honor it by seeking partners according to God’s Word

God has clearly set out that Christians should only marry in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39) and that there are certain characteristics and qualifications to look for in a wife or husband. We honor God when we comply with the Maker’s instructions for marriage.

3. We honor it by waiting for it

God has forbidden sexual intimacy before marriage. We’re not permitted an appetizer, not even a sip; that only spoils the feast. Honor marriage by waiting for it.

4. We honor it by entering into it at appropriate ages

We can dishonor marriage by getting married too young, when there’s little understanding or appreciation of marriage, when one or both parties are too flippant or frivolous about it. But we also dishonor it by delaying too long, by putting it off later and later in life.

5. We honor it by organizing Christ-centered weddings

Some weddings have virtually no reference to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit or the Gospel. The messages are just full of do’s and don’ts, the speeches are irreverent and risqué. It’s like receiving the greatest gift from someone and then not even thanking them, or worse, making fun of him and his values. Honor marriage by honoring God on your marriage day.

6. We honor it by avoiding debt-laden weddings

The average wedding in America now costs $31,000! What a way to start out in married life. It’s like starting a race with lead weights tied round your ankles. It is wrong, displeasing to God and damaging to everyone.

7. We honor it by taking on the roles God has designed

The wife’s role and the husband’s role have each been designed by God to show the relationship between Christ and church – the man to primarily show Christ’s love, the woman to primarily show the believer’s obedience.

8. We honor it by defending and promoting it

We oppose every attempt to re-define marriage. But we must to more than defend marriage and oppose its attackers. We must also promote it by demonstrating what a wonderful thing it is – especially to our children. We must demonstrate its benefits.

The Puritan Daniel Rogers wrote:

Marriage is the preservative of chastity, the seminary of the commonwealth, seed plot of the church, pillar of the world, right hand of providence, supporter of laws, states, orders, offices, gifts, and services; the glory of peace, the sinews of war, the maintenance of policy, the life of the dead, the solace of the living, the ambition of virginity, the foundation of countries, cities, universities, succession of families, crowns, and kingdoms.

This was originally published here.

By / Apr 9

How should an adult child, whether married or single, relate to his or her parents? There is a tension in Scripture between obeying the Scripture which says to “leave and cleave” in forming your own adult identity and family (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5) and obeying the Scripture which says to “honor your father and mother” (Exod. 20:12; Eph. 6:2).

Every family has it’s own rhythm. Every family has its own share of circumstances, from abusive to permissive to annoying, etc. So how one adult child handles his or her parents isn’t necessarily a blueprint for another. Still, the Scriptures seem to indicate an intentional approach to the way we love our parents as adults.

This is a journey I’ve travelled in the last few years. I seem to have endured the typical cycle: being cared for and nurtured by my parents as a child, distancing and forming my own identity as a teen (though still wanting their money and food), thinking my generation will solve all the mistakes my parents made, and finally where I am today—appreciating my parents and figuring out how I can love them better. I’m guessing you’ve travelled a similar road.

As I’ve pondered these important relationships, I’ve come up with five general, though not exhaustive, guidelines for the way adult children should relate to their parents. Here’s the list:

1. Always respect your parents, even when it is difficult.

By honoring, I think the Bible is saying more—but not less—than simple respect. I’m amazed at how I hear otherwise good, godly people treat their parents. I’ve been in nursing homes where kids are literally yelling and berating their parents. I realize that sometimes parents are not the easiest people to love, but this is why love is something we do in the strength of the Spirit and is not something we primarily feel.

Your parents, regardless of their flaws, brought you into the world. They nurtured and cared for you and loved you the best way they could. Give them some respect, treat them with kindness and deference, and realize that one day you’ll be the one in their shoes.

2. Find ways to affirm the good things they did in your childhood.

I’m not sure there is a generation with more childhood angst than mine. We really think our parents messed everything up so badly and that we’ll get it just right. I thought this way up until I became a father and realized how difficult parenting could be. I understand the need for catharsis, fleshing out past hurts and using your past as context for your future. But every negative conversation shouldn’t start with, “Growing up…”

Instead, let’s find ways to affirm the good our parents gave us, which is likely a lot more than we think. Let’s tell them to their faces how much we appreciate their care, their love, their goodness. Parents, especially as they age, can be incredibly reflective. They question themselves: Did I do the right thing? They have regrets, and some even have shame. So be an encouragement to your parents. Do this often, and do it with intentionality.

3. Find ways to bless them in physical ways.

Sometimes this simply means going out for coffee, while listening and letting them talk. Let them tell those same stories they’ve told before. It’s good for them and for you. Or, this might mean lending financial support if your parents fall on hard times without lecturing them. Offer physical support like helping them clean out their home, taking them to doctor appointments, or doing an airport run. And most sacrifical of all, it might mean allowing them, in their advanced age, to stay in your home and care for them.

All of this, I think, is in the spirit of what the Scripture means when it says to “honor your father and mother.” We should make sure they are always well-cared for as best as we can. It’s ironic how the life cycle goes, is it not? Our parents spend their most productive years caring for us, and now we get to return the favor and care for them.

4. Set healthy boundaries.

You need to set healthy boundaries with your parents so they know where the lines are between your family and them. They don’t always know this, and if the distance is too big, they can often think they are imposing every time they come over. If the distance is too small, it can suffocate your own family. You need to “leave” your parents in the sense that you need to be financially and physically separate as best you can. And you’ll probably have to have some frank conversations at times. Again, every situation is different, so what I’m offering is some general wisdom.

In setting boundaries, always, always, always do it with grace and respect (see number one above). Make sure you are making your own decisions in your family, but don’t hesitate to ask your parents for advice. You don’t have to take it, but you just might learn something from it and make them feel good, as well.

5. Don’t try to change your parents.

The real way to love and honor your parents is to simply love and honor them, despite their flaws and the annoying things you disliked when you were a kid. Put up with whatever it is they do that annoys you. Do it, not because you’ll get a tangible benefit, but because they are your parents, and you are to love them. Do it because the Father has loved you despite the more-than-annoying things you have done.

Let your parents know they are welcome in your home, that you enjoy having them around, and that they don’t have to walk on eggshells around you. Yes, you’re way of doing family may be different (that’s okay). Your parents will probably give your kids candy before dinner (that’s okay, too). And you’ll find yourself wishing they were a little more this way or a tad more that way. But they are your parents—the ones God gave you—and if you are serious about obeying and following Jesus, you’ll seek to honor and love them the best you can.