Seeking God Day 24
Raising teenagers is like playing a continual game of red light/green light. You know the game right? The person who is the “caller” gets to stand a ways away from the other runners and intermittently turn around and face them and yell out “Red light” or “Green light.” The other players get to move or have to stay still based on the command of the caller. Eventually the person who advances the furthest and reaches the caller first is crowned the winner.
The thing about this game is that everyone is at the mercy of the caller. Your advancement depends on when and if the caller yells, “green light.” As a young mom I was the “caller” and my children were the runners. I’d tell them when to get up, when to eat, when to play and when to go to bed. I had absolute power. With teenagers, not so much. I can’t even figure out if I’m the caller or the runner some days! Say something or don’t say something. Offer help or be illusive. It’s a constant, ever changing landscape and one wrong move and your are “red lighted.”
The rules of the game seem to change as often as the weather and aren’t consistent among the 4 various teens living in my house. Just when one of them green lights me another is red lighting me for the same reason. I used to tell them when they were little, “It’s a good thing your cute!” I still think the same thing but now, I don’t say it outloud.
The game red light/green light has been on my mind a lot lately. I see similarities in my longing to understand how to live a Christian life with integrity and character. Do I say something or do I hold my tongue? Do I stay still or am I supposed to act? It’s frustrating. Unlike with my kids, I don’t think God keeps changing the rules but rather I just don’t understand the rules very well. Just like parenting, I’m still learning.
I love 1st and 2nd Timothy because these books are a “how to” manual for living a Christian life and how to be a good leader. My blog is entitled, “A trustworthy saying” in honor of these books. Paul says over and over again, “Here is a trustworthy saying.” When I read those words I pay special attention to what comes next because I know it will be important.
Here is what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:22-26
2 Timothy 2:22-26
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
It all seems pretty straight forward, right? And yet, if Paul, who is the author, felt the need to write these instructions out, that must mean that these lessons needed to be taught. I find it difficult to separate the foolish and stupid arguments from those that need to be argued. I have a hard time being kind to everyone and I’m certainly not teachable all the time. Earlier in the chapter he says:
2 Timothy 2: 14-17
Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
Much like red light/green light I hop, skip and jump through what sometimes seems like a land mine of conversations. Wondering where do I speak, when do I listen, when should I be walking away? Correctly handling the word of truth is a daunting and scary job at times.
Lord, please teach me to be one “who does not need to be ashamed.” I long to live this way for your glory.