Today I bring to you a special blog post by my friend and fellow author, Jayne Self....
Lines in the Sand
Lines are a fact of life. Some are absolute—the values and rules that stand true no matter what happens. Others are conditional. They change with the situation.
As a parent, it doesn’t take long to realize situations aren’t static. And it’s easy to get caught in an escalating battle of wills if you don’t recognize the difference between absolute lines and conditional ones.
Here’s a truth I’ve learned.
If you draw a line in the sand you have to enforce it
If you’re not willing to enforce it, don’t draw the line
Of course, if a child violates a line because they’re unaware it exists, that’s not their fault. Parents need to make expectations clear.
But, in our home, once the line was clearly designated, adherence was mandatory. Unless…
According to child behaviorist, Barbara Coloroso, “If it isn’t life threatening, and it isn’t morally threatening, it’s negotiable.”
Those are the absolutes.
All other rules are conditional.
From an early age, I taught my children, if they were unhappy with a ruling I made, they could challenge it. If their arguments were reasonable, and expressed respectfully, I would rethink my initial decree.
Most lines in life are conditional.
We hurt ourselves and those around us every time we fail to recognize the difference between absolutes and conditionals. Sadly, we Christians seem especially susceptible to this error. We love God so much, we want to follow His rules. We love others and want them to follow His rules, too. To help them, we nit-pick, criticize, judge, and condemn. We focus on the conditionals, often completely missing the absolutes.
In New Testament times, the Jewish Pharisees made a lifestyle out of following rules. They loved the lines laid out in the scriptures because they believed knowing and following those lines made them special.
People have the same attitude today. Follow God’s rules and you’ll be part of the in crowd.
But if our adherence to those lines violates God’s absolutes, we must re-examine your stand.
What are God’s absolutes?
…What does the LORD require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah: 6:8
Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22: 37-39 NIV
Love, justice, humility and mercy—absolutes so basic anyone can know and follow them.
Jayne E. Self lives in
. Her mysteries, Murder in Hum Harbour (2011) and Death of a Highland Heavyweight (2012)
have both won Word Awards— Ontario, Canada ’s
largest Christian writing awards. Canada
You can find more about Jayne, her writing, and her blog at jayneself.com"where faith and mystery converge"
Well Friends, hope you enjoyed this week's Thursday Thoughts! Stay tuned for Saturday Spotlight, Tuesday Treasures and of course more Thursday Thoughts!