Rite of Passage Parenting: Losing my mind
I think I am losing my mind. No, make that . . . I AM losing my mind.
I own two good pair of eyeglasses. Lately, I’ve found myself accidentally wearing one pair on the top of my head and the other clipped to the front of my shirt. Of course, my family gets a kick out of seeing Dad walk around with two pair of glasses within easy reach.
The other day, I had to go to Home Depot . . . again. These people should have a sign as you exit their store that says, “See you in an hour.” No matter what, it takes me at least two trips to get the right part.
Anyway, I came out of Home Depot and couldn’t find my truck. I knew where I had parked, but it was nowhere in sight. I was standing there scratching my head when I noticed how much the car in my spot looked like my wife’s gray Ford Explorer. When I pushed the remote, the car’s lights blinked, so I unlocked it and got in. In my haste to reach the store, I hadn’t paid attention to which vehicle I took. I drove home as fast as I could so I could return the car before my wife noticed.
This reminds me of a story I heard about an elderly couple who were experiencing the same problem I have. They decided to take a power memory class that taught them to use association to remember important pieces of information.
A few days after it ended, the old man was outside talking with his neighbor about how much the class helped him.
“What was the instructor’s name?” asked the neighbor.
“Oh, ummmm, let’s see,” the old man pondered. “You know that flower, you know, the one that smells really nice but has those prickly thorns, what’s that flower’s name?”
“A rose?” asked the neighbor.
”Yes, that’s it,” replied the old man. He then turned toward his house and shouted, “Hey, Rose, what’s the name of the instructor we took the memory class from?”
Some things, though, are meant to be forgotten. Do you remember the Bible story about Noah and his three sons? It describes an incident in which Ham, the oldest, finds his dad lying in his tent naked. Noah passed out after drinking too much wine.
After discovering his dad in this deplorable condition, Ham leaves the tent and broadcasts the news to his younger brothers. When these two learn of their father’s failures, they want to preserve his dignity: “But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness” (Genesis 9:23).
During my many years of ministry, I’ve had my share of Hams who considered it their responsibility to broadcast other people’s failures. But in comparison with his father, Ham committed the bigger sin. As far as we know, Noah was lying in his own tent, and his son invaded his privacy. Ham also considered it his right to tell others about his father’s shortcomings. Now, there are times when we should tell others about another person’s sin. In the case of child abuse, for example, we have a responsibility to notify the appropriate authorities. But for the most part, we have no right to share someone else’s bad news.
Shem and Japheth took the high road. Although they certainly had the chance, they chose not to see their father’s sin. They not only chose not to see it, but they also chose to cover it.
The decisions we make when we learn of others’ failures say a great deal about our own character. I know parents who constantly broadcast the sins of their children. This process systematically destroys what little dignity the young people have left. And we’ve all known husbands and wives who choose to share the failures of their mates. This does nothing to build love and respect.
When you learn of another’s sin, you have the opportunity to take the high road and become a covering, not a public address system. Isn’t that what Jesus did on the cross? He covered us with His shed blood. He didn’t hang there so he could broadcast the sins of Walker Moore. He hung there to cover them instead. Scripture tells us that He takes those sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more (Psalm 103:12; Hebrews 10:17).
I don’t believe God forgets one thing. When it comes to his children, though, He has intentional amnesia. Now, that’s the kind of news I can broadcast . . . to the ends of the Earth.