I admit that I am just getting to this today - which considering I haven't posted in a few weeks is pretty good. I was reading what Mystie wrote about virtue being our aim and everything in me rose up - again. Virtue - it sounds very legalistic! And I realized the root of my problem - I have a skewed set of values. When I hear virtue I hear measuring stick, good and bad, act right, be right- essentially - TRY HARDER. There is no grace in this understanding of virtue. There is no dependence on Jesus.
How does this mesh with what I am learning elsewhere about resting and repentance saving you? I am learning about just how much Jesus loves us because of his nature - not ours. My role as a measurer and condemner is not going well around my household - I am working towards virtue the only way I know how but it is not rooted in the Gospel. I have not clothed my virtue with love - it is still a measuring stick to whip myself and my crew into shape. It isn't working. Is there another way to get to virtue?
Enter Show Them Jesus. This is the book all Sunday School teachers in my church are asked to read this year. Yes, it is February and I am still working through it. I wish I could say I was reading slowly but really I have been negligent. WHY? It is mind renewing stuff. I read Give Them Grace a few summers ago but I still wasn't "getting it". This book has really helped me "get" what I have been missing. It is meant to be a pattern for teaching Bible lessons, but it can easily be applied to any situation.
The book asks three main questions of any situation
What is God doing in this story?
How does this show the character of God?
How is Jesus a problem solver in this story?
Instead of focusing on the virtues and vices of the individual all of the focus is on God. We become what we behold (as Andrew Kern is fond of saying) and if we are just beholding individual characters it is a mixed lot - but if we constantly point our kids to God's mercy, saving grace, justice, power, etc. they are beholding the good and beautiful.
He also talks about atmosphere and these are the aspects he emphasizes:
I am now trying to be thoughtful about how to make my home a good news environment. Am I helping my kids see how God is growing them and changing them into his likeness? Am I even looking for it or am I just staring at my measuring stick which always says "NEVER ENOUGH". Guess, what they will never measure up but in the end the solution is not TRY HARDER, DO MORE, FELL WORSE - it is JESUS. My kids need to know that in Jesus they are always enough.
A good news environment is sin aware.
A good news environment is grace aware.
A good news environment focuses on the heart.
A good news environment helps kids to find Jesus delightful.
This struck at my heart
Compare this (be quiet and act right discipline) to the woman in the Bible who was caught in adultery. The Pharisees suggested stoning her. Jesus said whoever was without sin should throw the first stone, and they all left. He forgave the woman and told her, "Go, and from now on sin no more." (John 8:11). For her, the best place to be caught in sin was next to Jesus. He could save her from condemnation and help her repent.From there he talks about 7 different directions a conversation could go that would help kids see why it is best to be near Jesus when we are in sin. Last semester our pastor preached a sermon that showed us that when we are caught in sin we either try to hide it (think Adam and Eve), fix it (think Rebekah and Jacob) or fake it (think the Pharisees). I am constantly pointing out how Bible characters are doing these things to our 1st grade class and reminding them that these natural responses don't bring healing and reconciliation. We need to draw close to Jesus and trust God's word. This past week we were reminded that no one has ever been scolded into the kingdom of heaven.
I am trying desperately to throw away my measuring stick. I want a good news home where we are aiming at virtue because we are gazing on who God is and his great love for us in Jesus - nothing less than perfect.
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