Monday, September 9, 2013

Weeds in your child's flower garden

I was weeding yesterday and it struck me that the way you remove weeds is evidence in the Creation that spanking kids isn't God's way...

(I know...what ELSE would I be thinking about, right!?) :)



Anyone who has ever planted flowers knows that if you're trying to grow a nice garden of flowers you can expect that weeds will come. Why, though? Is it because there is something wrong with the flowers? Something wrong with the soil? Is there something about them that causes weeds to appear? No. We all know that it has nothing to do with the flowers but that it's the tenaciousness of weeds and the nature of the world that makes it so that if there is dirt...there will be weeds. 

The presence of weeds indicates nothing "wrong" with the flowers...only testifies to the "power" of the weeds and the things that help weeds spread...




With our children, obviously we are trying to grow a "beautiful garden" in their character. And, the fact that "weeds" pop up is likewise not some confirmation that there is something "wrong" with the children...as in that they were born with sin in them. 

The presence of "weeds" in humans says something not of the nature of humans...but of the nature of sin. (so powerful are these "weeds" that humans attract that the biggest strongest warrior in the Universe had to come and battle them because humans couldn't do it themselves!)

So, when a child enters this world and you begin planting a garden (good morals, manners, and habits) in them you can expect that weeds will come. And, those weeds (bad behavior) will show up and start to grow for the same reasons they do in nature. Seeds are carried and distributed by living creatures, by the wind, and by creeping roots.




And, see...even the most well-intentioned parent is going to "carry weed seeds" and drop them in their child's "garden." Then, there are neighbors. Friends at daycare and Sunday School. TV. Weed seeds are everywhere and if your child's "soil" is such that flowers are able to grow, then so can weeds. And, again, it is not because something is wrong with the child or the child's soil that these weeds appear...it is because of the nature of the weeds and soil that makes it possible for weeds to appear and begin to grow.


Weeds (bad behavior and attitudes) ruin the appearance of our lovely gardens (children). And, not only that but they can choke the flowers (take over and turn your child into a delinquent!) and need to be removed. This is why we discipline our children.



ROMANS 1:18-20

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse!


So, how do we remove weeds from a literal flower garden? Remember that the design of Creation is no accident. Because of the unreliability of storytelling (Paul Bunyan tales, Whisper Down the Lane), and even the outright attempts to mis-interpret scripture, God has left evidence in the Creation that cannot be altered...because the truth matters and He loves us enough to make sure there's a way to know it that can't be corrupted. These truths are part of the natural and unchanging way that the physical universe works and it's there to teach us things we actually already know...because the truth is on our hearts because God put it there...

When approaching a weedy garden, your goal is.. to remove the weeds without harming the flowers and hopefully in such a way as to prevent the weeds from returning.


ATTACKING THE FLOWERS




Say you approached "weeding" by whacking the flowers? You would do nothing to get rid of the weeds, would you? Attacking the flowers would only make the weeds stronger, and the flowers weaker and less beautiful. 


Attacking the weeds with too much zeal and force also will attack the flowers...as sometimes the roots are intertwined it will pull the flowers out, too. And, you can end up grabbing the flowers by mistake and uprooting them or tearing the plants.


Punishing children involves inflicting some sort of pain on them. The whole reason our body perceives pain is to alert it that something is harming/hurting/damaging it. Purposefully causing some sort of pain to the child is like harming/hurting/damaging the flowers, which obviously, would not do the flowers any good nor protect them from weeds.


Likewise, purposefully inflicting pain on our children (flowers) will not have any negative effect on "weed" growth. On the contrary, it can actually enhance "weed growth" in their gardens...


Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.


It's really hard to have pain inflicted on you purposefully without feeling anger...and as modern science has revealed to us: anger destroys us. It's why God warned us not to do it... 



PULLING OUT THE LEAVES




If you approached "weeding" by simply pulling out what's visible...you would not actually be removing the weeds...just the visual evidence that they are there.


Dollar weeds, for example, are growing all over my flower gardens and in my yard. If I just reach in and grab at them and yank the leaves, they come off...not out. If I yanked off all the leaves, when I would be done, I could leave the garden appearing "weed free." My friends and neighbors might even look and say, "Well, what a beautiful weed-free garden you have!" But, underneath, the actual weed would be completely unaffected and would continue to grow and flourish and choke the roots of the flowers.


When the weeds of bad behavior appear in your child's garden, you can approach it by spanking the child. This will get you immediate results. You will look at your child's "garden" and you will no longer see them back-talking, biting, hitting other kids, or doing whatever outward behavior that was "weeding up their garden". Just like my garden where I tore out the leaves of the dollar weeds, many people will look at your child and say, "What a well-behaved child you have!" But, just like the real garden, all you did was remove the visual evidence of the weeds...and those roots are still growing...and quietly choking out the garden (your child).


IMPORTANCE OF THE VISUAL EVIDENCE

What if...a weed...once the leaves were removed...never re-grew leaves but would continue to grow and choke out the flowers? This would be a grave concern to serious gardeners because if you can't see an "enemy" you can't fight it! This...is what parents who spank are doing...and normally with all the weed's leaves torn away (the child's spirit broken into submission) it takes until the child is in their teens until the evidence of that weedy root system growing and choking the flowers' roots reappears.


(Sadly, even then, parents dismiss this as "typical teenage rebellion" and believe these teenage "weeds" to be newly grown. Our culture is so far far removed from the truth about children that most parents have no clue that they are their own garden's worst enemy!)


PROPER WEEDING


The only way to actually remove a weed from your garden is to gently pull on it. 



Matthew 11:29
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

When I first moved to Florida and first found these particular weeds in my garden I was unfamiliar with them and did actually just pull out the leaves, until one day when I did it gently and I realized that they were all connected! Then, I learned that by gently pulling on these dollar weeds and pulling away some of the surrounding dirt, this long intricate path that these roots take is revealed and all comes out! After this revelation, to pull too harshly on a leaf and get...just the leaf in my hand...was very frustrating! And, then, because I'd yanked too hard, I'd have to get my fingers dirty and dig to get at the roots. 

As a former spanker, I can tell you that I have had this same revelation in my parenting. I once did address just the visual evidence of "weeds" in my children's gardens...and I spanked them away. Then, when I realized that there were these intricate paths of interconnected roots that I could reveal if I just "pulled gently"...it changed everything. And, now, the times that I am "too harsh" and see a "weed" and just barge in and yank it out...I realize with frustration what I've just done and then...I "have to get my hands dirty" and dig. 


Sometimes, when weeding, as you tug you realize that the root path goes right through one of your flower's roots and you must jiggle it and move it around gently to remove it from the flower. All of this means something to us as parents and these lessons were left in the Creation for us by God so that we would learn and no one would deceive us... 







ROMANS 1:18-20
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse!



PERSISTENCE


Any gardener knows, too, that you don't just weed your flower garden once and done. Jesus came to save us not from hell...but from sin, and sin isn't going away anytime soon. Paul referred to salvation as a process saying he was saved, is being saved and will be saved from sin. The Gardener is always there "saving us" from our sins and will continue to do so weeding our gardens every day if we let Him.


There are seeds and roots of it everywhere in our world. As long as there are gardens, sin will be crouched at our doors ready to consume us, right? Weeds will keep coming and a loving gardener will keep them in check.

God left us this evidence in Creation because it's there, in plain sight, for all to see. To choose to believe teachers like Michael Pearl, Gary Ezzo, Ted Tripp and James Dobson and others like them...is to evoke the wrath of God because...



ROMANS 1:18-20
...the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse!







All of the following verses apply to all of us with all others...which means they apply to you and your relationship with your children also...

(If you read these verses below and find yourself saying, "Yeah, but..." then you really need to re-read that Romans 1 quote again...and again...and again...and then re-read these verses again...and again...and again...until you lose those buts...)

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

James 3:13
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.


Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."

1 Peter 3:15
...sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence...

Titus 3:2

...malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

2 Timothy 2:25

...with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth

1 Timothy 6:11
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

1 Peter 3:3-5

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;

2 Corinthians 10:1
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ...

Galatians 5:23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 6:1

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Ephesians 4:2
...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.



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