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Monday, February 27, 2012

Making the Wise Choice

My son came home upset today.

James can be a quiet boy, huddled on the couch with his books. For all sakes and purposes, I've always thought of him as an introvert...like his dad. But I'm wrong. I think he's half-introvert, half-extrovert. He seems quite at ease with playing ball with his friends or trying to outdo their logic games. He's also very tender-hearted.

It's that last part that came out today. One of James's friends, Ron, wanted to him to play kickball. His other friend, Pete, urged him to play tether ball with him. Ron told James that if he played with Pete, he wouldn't play kickball with him again. Pete said he'd go off with some others (bullies of the playground) if he didn't play kickball.

Of course, James was at a loss and discouraged. Two of his best friends giving ultimatums. Ron was fun to be with, but he wasn't being nice. Plus, my son didn't want Pete to hang out with the wrong crowd. And the threat of being rejected...that's just not fair. Finally, he turned his back and headed for the library.

While talking it out with my son, I thought of David from the bible. You remember David? Little shepherd boy who took out the giant Goliath with a sling and rock? What happened afterwards may be a little fuzzy in some people's minds. David got carried off by the Israelite army chanting his name. And King Saul, ruler of Israel, got pissed! While people should be praising him for defeating the Philistines, everyone was lauding the small shepherd boy. And the bible records that King Saul spent much of his life trying to kill David. But how did David react? Even when he was in Saul's castle, "David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him." (1 Samuel 18:14-15)

I don't think that comes naturally to us...behaving wisely. My first reaction to being treated unfairly, or violently, or deceptively is to lash back out. Or get in a fit of rage. Or hide. But the God tells us to do differently. "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hurt you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) That's quite the opposite of my nature. So I have to go to God and ask for help. I have to get on my knees and get the strength I need to follow what He says.

And tonight, I went into James's room and showed him how to go to God for that help. We opened up the bible to Colossians 3:12-14: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Then the two of us prayed together. He asked God to guide him in living the verses out when he talked to each friend tomorrow.

I think he's going to be OK. Being caught between two friends who don't like each other can be frightening. But at least my son won't be alone. He trusts in God who will move heaven and earth for him. And with that kind of love, he'll be able to face anything.

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