Rite of passage parenting: That’s not right
Too often, I take a look at something and the first thought that comes to mind is . . . that’s not right. I don’t know why, but I shake my head from side to side whenever that thought reaches my consciousness.
Not long ago, a friend sent me a picture from a store that features souvenirs from the city of Tulsa. On the rack of knick knacks, he found a series of small shot glasses. (Since I’m a Baptist, I’ve only seen these in places like Stuckey’s.) Each shot glass contained the words, “Tulsa, Oklahoma” inscribed in a circle. At the center of the circle was a drawing of the praying hands statue at Oral Roberts University. After one look at these little glasses adorned with praying hands, all I could think was . . . that’s not right. But I seem to have that thought often.
When I’m driving down the road enjoying life and my engine starts to make a sound like a squealing pig, my first thought is . . . that’s not right.
When I see a newborn baby who looks like a raisin with a pointed head, I can’t help but think . . . that’s not right.
When my sons first learned to put on their own shoes and wore them on the wrong feet, I would think . . . that’s not right.
When I look at a church bulletin and see the sermon title, “Don’t let worry kill you—let the church help,” I say to myself . . . that’s not right.
When I’m shopping at the mall and see a sign advertising, “Ears Pierced Half Off,” I know . . . that’s not right.
When I open the refrigerator and can’t tell if what I see is meat loaf or chocolate pie, I’m sure . . . that’s not right.
When I’m checking out at the grocery store and the cashier tells me, “That’ll be $6.66,” I’m thinking . . . that’s not right.
When I go to the beach and see an overweight man wearing a Speedo, I turn my head the other way, knowing . . . that’s not right.
One day on the mission field, the students kept looking at me and flashing cheesy grins. As the day went on, the grins got bigger and bigger. They finally told me that early in the morning, they had switched the arch supports in my shoes. As I rubbed my aching soles, I was thinking . . . that’s not right.
Plenty of other events bring that same thought to my mind. When I visit a church and see throngs of people entering the sanctuary with only a handful of Bibles among them, I sigh and think . . . that’s not right.
After serving in Third World churches and coming home to speak to a youth group whose walls are lined with tens of thousands of dollars worth of plasma screens and video games, I’m sure . . . that’s not right.
When I hear the statistic that evangelicals spend more on dog food than they give to missions, I tell myself . . . that’s not right.
When I read in the Scriptures that “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matt. 9:37), I can’t help but be grieved in my spirit as I think . . . that’s not right.
When I hear of another church splitting as I remember the Bible says “the world will know we are His by the love we have for one another” (John 13:35), I have to think . . . that’s not right.
When I hear that churches no longer have real prayer meetings, yet Jesus says, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13), I can’t help but think . . . that’s not right.
I see most things as black and white: right is right, and wrong is wrong. For most of my life, the Bible has decided right and wrong for me. But when the Word of God is being diluted in our churches, you can be sure our homes will dilute it even more. The voice of reason that guides my life doesn’t come from mere human consciousness, but from words that are holy and have the power to set me free.
My friends, our society doesn’t have a sin problem. Christ took care of that on the cross 2,000 years ago. What we have today is a word problem. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32).
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa: When the truth abides, lives, dwells and resides in you, your children and your grandchildren, you can rest assured that they’ll know when to say . . . that’s not right.