Pastor's Blog

Loving Young Bob (pt. 1)

(A 4 part series)

Polly works with small children at a local school. I love to hear the stories. One little guy had a hard time staying on task. I'll call him "Young Bob." Polly's role was to help Young Bob finish the problem, complete the paragraph, stay engaged with the group. She employed a variety of strategies to help him but Young Bob had a singular response to every one of them.

"Mrs. Alexander, why are you being mean to me?"

Any correction however gentle, any nudge however delicate, towards altering young Young Bob's behavior in any way, always yielded the same plaintive whine:

"Mrs. Alexander, why are you being mean to me?"

Hhumph.

If there is a mean person in our family that person is not Polly. There are four of us.

  • Polly = not mean, ever. 
  • Ethan = not mean, ever. 
  • Abby = has the capacity for mean, but very rarely. 

That leaves me. 'Nuff said.

Seriously, I can count on one finger the times Polly has been called mean by anybody. (his fictitious initials are "Y. B.") Young Bob calls Polly mean because she corrects his behavior. In Young Bob's small world any challenge to his actions or his words is "mean."

Where did Young Bob learn that behavior change = mean?

I can't say with precision but can only assume ... Young Bob learned this equation at home. If school behavior reflects home behavior then Young Bob has already been imprinted with a momentous life assumption.

What is it? His behavior is always acceptable.

Correcting or challenging or changing Young Bob's behavior is not only unacceptable, it victimizes him. Any person cutting across the grain of his actions does so with ill motive, disregarding the potential disastrous impact on Young Bob's tender "feelings."

In Young Bob's world he is only being Young Bob. You however, should you disagree with him, are being mean.

 Keep that in mind.

Posted by Tim Alexander with

Living with (corrected) vision

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I started wearing glasses at six years old. Long before there were high index lenses. Gnarly old black coke bottles framed my over-sized bucket head fairly screaming, "I've lost my slide ruler!"

 My first school fight came not long after (same week?) I wore them to first grade. In my little six year old mind it made perfect sense to me that, since I couldn't see the glasses I was wearing, no one else could see my glasses either. When some other little six year old pointed at my new glasses I punched him. Hard.

 

 

Did I mention my Dad was a preacher?

This was a Christian school? 

Kind'a hard to explain, even now.

"Why did you hit the boy?"
" 'Cause he saw my glasses."

Oh well.

For reasons not meaningful to explain here, I still wear glasses. Tried contacts galore: glass, plastic, extended wear. Just never did work out. Who knows, one day I might do the surgery thing. Might ... but I doubt it. I have been blessed with naturally poor eyesight. But, aside from the six-year old fight, seeing through corrective lenses has never been a problem for me. Nowadays it's round high index lenses in frames matching my complexion. I'm just glad to still see. Could be much worse; I know it and am thankful. 

After all these years inability to see accurately apart from prescription lenses is an accepted fact of my life. This is my height. This is my weight. This is my hair color. I am left-handed. I wear glasses. 

Moving on.

Did you know what is true for my physical sight is true for my spiritual sight? It is. Left to myself, that is, without proper examination and corrective prescription, I am spiritually blind. I am. Left to myself I stumble over my pride, break relationships in my anger, jump recklessly (dangerously) to wrong assumptions, take hold of hot grudges, get lost in swamps of lust or self-absorption, zoom past unnoticed warning signs. Left to myself I do not see how much I hurt others or the extent of my own woundedness. 

Left to myself I do not see I am a sinner. Like my six year old self, when someone else points out what is plain about about me to everyone but me I hit back. Hard. Only now I am not six. I am just as likely to internalize my awareness of sin in self-defeating, even self-destructive, ways as I am to act it out upon others. The apostle Paul touches on this "sinner's state of mind" in Romans 7, describing a kind of perpetual internal war.

I need my spiritual sight fixed. At a 'meta' level, I am spiritually blind and only in Christ is true spiritual sight possible. I need to see myself accurately. I am sinner, yes! But in Christ I am a saved sinner. I live in a fallen world, yes! But because of Christ redemption and hope are always possible. 

I need to remember, also, this world's stunning beauty reflects the general grace of my Sovereign God. As lovely as this world is, as delightful its gifts: this world is not my home. I need to see that, too.

I must travel light, always thankful for the blessings of God but always knowing something far more amazing is yet to come. 

God help me see myself through the lens Your love and my time through the lens of Your eternity.

Posted by Tim Alexander with

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