Jackson Five Friday: Reconciling Love and Hate

Hey Friends,

I hope y’all know that Sam is the object of stories here and featured in my social media feed much, much more than his brothers, only because Will and Nate are old enough to make certain demands.  They do not like to be blogged about (when I do use them I give them the courtesy of getting their approval), and pretty much every picture that I snap is followed by the exclamation “Do not post this!”  So there we have it, a sad state of affairs in some ways, but also totally understandable.  And so we are stuck with Sam — hilarious, adorable, deep Sam.

Sam has always loved reading the Bible (various levels of children’s versions), and I am pretty sure I have never said to him, “Sam, why don’t you read the Bible?”  Or made any suggestion, and yet he reads it virtually every day.  He’s always been spiritually sensitive.  Some of you may remember how when he was three years old, he was devastated by the story of Jesus healing the blind man by putting mud on his eyes.  He heard it at church, and at Bible study.  He was utterly wrecked by it both times, sobbing his heart out.  I started sheepishly asking “What is the story today?” at church and Bible study.  I couldn’t have my guy devastated all over again.  I never figured out exactly why the story bothered him so much, but I think it had to do with the mud.  Maybe Sam thought it sounded like Jesus was being mean, or maybe Sam was focusing on the mud and not the healing?

And honestly his spiritual sensitivity has only grown.  He regularly asks questions like, “Remember when Jesus told the blind man that the cause wasn’t his sin and wasn’t his parents’ sin?  Then what was it?”  Or, “How did Adam know that what Eve was giving him was the forbidden fruit?  Or, “Had chariots been invented when Elijah was taken up to heaven in one?”

Then this week Sam asked, “I really don’t understand how the Bible says that we are supposed to love our enemies but hate evil.  What if our enemies are evil?”  I love hashing out theology with my contemplative almost nine-year-old.  He puts so much effort into thinking things through.  You can tell that when he asks a question — theological or otherwise — he’s turned it over in his mind a great deal.  I wonder if the average American has logged as much time as Sam in reconciling these two competing concepts.

Anyway I told Sam that loving our enemies is always our calling and that hating them would never allow us to share the love of Christ with them.  But we can and should hate the evil that is done in this world.  We hate that children are treated badly (I hope and pray it’s a long, long time before Sam understands just how badly some children in this world are treated), but we don’t hate the people who do it.  We believe that each person is made in the image of God and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we can love the worst of sinners.  If we take being like Jesus seriously, we will strive to love like He loves.

Paul stated it so beautifully, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Can we love our enemies — the worst of sinners who maliciously hurt the ones we love the most?  No, not in our own power.  But if we turn our eyes on Jesus, beholding His glory and allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, all things are possible.

Praying today that I’ll be transformed into the image of Christ, one degree of glory to another.

Have a wonderful weekend!





Jackson Five Friday: Remember Your Goal?

Happy Friday Friends!

It’s March and I hope signs of spring are greeting you wherever you go.  I love the bright new green that is already evident on a few trees, and the way the grass seems to be changing from dead brown to deepest jade practically overnight.  The pink trees and plethora of daffodils are lovely as well.  It’s a beautiful time of year, full of life and hope.  And yet so many are hurting.  The tragedies never cease, not at Christmastime, not in Spring, not ever.  Do you ever just stop and thank God that this life isn’t all there is?  That for those of us who know and love God a beautiful tapestry is being woven even if we are looking on the messy underside where chaos and meaninglessness seem to prevail.  I am so very thankful for eternity spent without tears or heartache of any kind.  I am so grateful that one day I’ll be able to see the tapestry from the other side.

My son, Sam, has hated the car his entire life.  It has caused me quite a bit of stress because he would scream his head off as an infant whenever he was placed in the car, and I just was never the type that could tune it out and he was never the type that would just give in and stop crying.  Now that we’ve chosen to live on a mountain he has continued to express his vehement displeasure about spending time in the car.  He told me recently, “Since we live on a mountain, I want you to make it your goal that I never leave the mountain.”  You see he’s really a beastly little child, but he’s also funny and beautiful and loves to cuddle, so he pretty much has me wrapped around his little finger.

But he is deadly serious about this.  Last weekend we went to Nashville, and boy did I hear it.  “Remember your goal?” he asked with disdain.

Then tonight we went to little Will’s first baseball game of the season.  Nate’s game was at the same time twenty minutes away so Daddy Will and I did the dreaded “divide and conquer.”  And Sam was infuriated to leave the mountain.  “Do you remember your goal?” he asked.  “Did you even try to find a way for me to stay home?”

I should probably spend a lot more time praying for his wife.  Oh dear is she in for it!

But funny quirks aside, what is your goal in life?  Mine is certainly not to make sure my eight-year-old gets his way and avoids the car at all costs.  My ultimate goal is not about my husband or my sons at all — as wonderful as they are.  My goal is to know God and to glorify Him forever, just as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states.  This also happens to be the motto of my older two sons’ new school.  But it really does boil it down, doesn’t it?

I don’t know if I should go back to work at some point?  I don’t know if I should focus on writing?  I don’t know where I should volunteer my time.  I don’t know much, really.  But I do know that there is nothing better than to know God and to glorify Him, so I desperately want to do this well.  May I be faithful in spending time with Him and giving Him all the glory.

Romans 11:36 says it all: “For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

Or as Andrew Peterson wrote in his doxology — based on this verse and a Maranatha staple: “For from Him, and through Him and to Him, is everything.  To God be the glory forever and ever.  To God be the glory forever, amen.”

Have a fabulous weekend!

With Love,