“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what God is asked.” (The Message)
Excerpt from 1 Peter 3:8-12
As a kid, riding with my Dad and some men from church to a conference of some sort, one man said, “I appreciate every spanking my parents ever gave me.” Another quickly responded, “Well, I ain’t gonna tell no lie; I got spankings I didn’t deserve . . . and besides . . . I don’t believe people should hit children like that anyway.” That launched an emotional two-hour truth-telling session, interspersed with tears and laughter.
When facing behavioral decisions in these constantly changing times, I seek advice from experts, friends, experience and the Biblical standard of love – even tough love.
This is the first and greatest relationship in life (commandment). Love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Marcus Borg said of this text, “You can keep the commandments and still be a jerk. But you cannot be in relationship with the Divine Presence without being continually transformed.”
Among the guys in the car that day was a grandson of freed slaves who hated all beatings; a former wife-beating alcoholic filled with regret; a man who still beats his children as his father had beaten him and who never questioned it until that day; and a young boy who listened pondering these things . . . I remember the last spanking I gave my son. I decided in my heart there must be another way to bring about a change in behavior. There was… it was love and understanding combined with explained and accepted responsibility.
Gracious God, order my steps in your Word. Please heal, transform, and release me. Make evolving change possible, for me, my family, and succeeding generations. Amen.
Grace and Peace