Children and "elders"

19 year old “elders” always give me a chuckle. It was an interesting conversation last night in the driveway. Oh the many proud things that keep us from a humble and total trust in Christ.

19 and 21 year old Elder White Shirt and Tie came walking up to my open garage with smiles on, asking how we were doing.  We were doing a workout with our buds in our ears and sweat pouring down our faces, but we pulled the buds out and greeted the “elders”.

They made small talk with us, or we made small talk with them for awhile.  I asked where they were from, how long they were here for, if they went to the Mormon church down the road, etc.  James asked what they were doing.  They told us that they hoped to be invited into someone’s home to give them an opportunity to study the Book of Mormon with them.

James asked about their “prophet”- where he came from, who decided he was a prophet, etc.  I asked them what they believed about Christ.  They answered a very good rehearsed answer.

I told them I didn’t believe the Book of Mormon was the inspired word of God.  I prayed as they talked for what my Lord would have me say.  Those timely, comparable-to-precious-metal words (Proverbs 25:11). I went with what came to mind rather than a theological debate.

I asked them how they thought an unbelieving person, say a person raised in immorality or where the name of Christ or God was used as a curse, would perceive their message when they approach people in white shirts and ties with “elder” tags.  They said they didn’t want to misrepresent Christ.

Christ, the Christ who was accused of being a glutton and hanging around with sinners I asked?  They said, “Oh yes, there is definitely a place for service if that’s what you’re talking about.”

I confessed that I only knew that without Christ dying in my place I was hopeless before God and that my inability to love my neighbor who throws trash in my driveway, or my own spouse, or children, or the people that cut me off while I’m driving, prove to me everyday that I am in need of a Savior.  I told them I believed that the gospel of Christ was best spread by one’s everyday living and talking with people.  After all, I said, Christ said others would know we were His followers by our love for one another.

They had no rehearsed fodder for that discussion.  My dear husband did have a reply though.  He told them he agreed with his wife.  If someone was going to believe in Christ it would be through the believer showing by the way they lived around unbelievers that Christ was real.  I had nothing to say, but my heart was speaking in palpitations for that glimpse into a secret place.

The conversation ended with me wishing them a nice evening and them giving us their card.  The conversation between my husband and I continues…  Oh for the grace to open my mouth with wisdom and for the law of kindness to rule my lips!

If anyone wants to know I have stumbled upon a consequence for leaving lights on that seems to be working in my house… so far.   It’s a continual problem.  I walk into an empty boy’s bedroom and or bathroom from a hall all with lights on.  I informed my boys the other day that they would pay the price of sitting in their room in the dark for 15 minutes for every offense of bedroom, bathroom or hall light left on with no person using those rooms.  So far, the consequence has been put into effect twice.  I think it’s having an impact.

Consequences are important.  Consequences are.  Period.  You reap what you sow.  There’s a result to the choices you make.  Apparently in Delaware spankings can no longer be used as a consequence in parenting without the parent facing the consequence of jail time.  Connor said he wants to move to Deleware, which I thought was funny since he doesn’t really get spankings anymore- unless you call the attention-getting swat to the behind a spanking.

Spanking is a hot topic.  It seems to me the people who don’t believe in spankings don’t know what a healthy spanking is.  And unfortunately the people who physically abuse their children will get all up in arms about the people who are against spankings because they think when they beat their children they are spanking them.   And even worse, some will use the Bible as a reason for the physical abuse they deem a spanking.

I believe there’s a reason, place and time for a proper paddle to the behind of a child.  I also believe there are many other, just as effective and sometimes even more effective, forms of discipline when raising a child.  Spanking is not the only way to discipline a child. Whatever consequence (imposed or natural) a parent chooses to use when raising a child, if it is accompanied by cruelty from the parent, it becomes abusive and ineffective in training a child.  A parent can be just as abusive in words or the use of time-outs (isolation) as they can in spanking a child.  If you sow abuse into a child, you will reap the consequences!  If you sow loving discipline, you will reap the rewards!

He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. -Proverbs 22:8

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.- Mark 9: 42

 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.- Proverbs 13:24




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