How do you handle difficult people? Do you respond with sinful anger and frustration or do you respond as Moses did? What about parenting difficult children?
Exodus 17 & 18
Exodus 17 & 18:
Handling difficult people
What a group these Israelites were! Again they turn on Moses. Even though they were being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, instead of turning to God in prayer, they blame Moses for their thirst. His response is to go straight to God and again God meets their need supernaturally.
What do you do when faced with difficult people? Do you go straight to God or start talking to your girlfriend, your buddy, your co-worker, or someone else? I wonder how many times God has been ready to help us, but we failed to acknowledge our dependence on Him by going to Him in prayer and asking for His wisdom and favor.
Sometimes you have to wonder why God chose the Israelites as His covenant people. But these were the “children” God had chosen and asked Moses to shepherd. Whom has he asked you to shepherd? a strong-willed child? a dawdler? a talker? several unruly boys? an alien who inhabits your teenage daughter’s body? or maybe it’s a class of rowdy 6th graders or a group of high school students?
If God has given you a child who is difficult for you, what is He doing in you? He chose that child for you just as He chose the Israelites.
The goal of life, Paul said, is to please God in whatever we do (2 Cor. 5:9). We please Him by becoming more like His Son (Matt. 3:17). So what Christ-like qualities is He developing in you? love? joy? peace? some longsuffering maybe? kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? (Gal. 5:22-23).
The same passage that tells us to bring up our children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord, also tells us not to provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6:4). And in Colossians 3 we are told not to discourage them (Col. 3:21).
Do you provoke your children to anger by your inconsistency? by demanding one standard of obedience from them while you have another for yourself? by your impatience or unkindness? by criticism or teasing? by comparing your child to others? by failing to keep your word? by pridefully refusing to admit when you are wrong or have sinned against them?
None of us will parent perfectly, but if we fail to seek God and ask for His help, we will fall far short of what we can and should do.
If you’d like more information about Christian parenting, you can sign up for a free newsletter called Character Health from Steve and Megan Scheibner. They offer great parenting tips and helps.
There are also a number of good books on the subject. Here is a list of a few of them:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman
Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
His perfect way
Verse 30, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Not only is God perfect, holy, and just, but His way is perfect! He is never late, never wrong, always in control, and, if we belong to Him, always working for our good and His glory.
What the Lord hates
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all sin every day and one sin is enough to send us to hell. But there are some sins which God in His Word singles out as those He hates! The first is pride or contempt for others, often revealed though a haughty look. The second is lying. He hates fraud and deceit. Next he lists murder, the shedding of innocent blood. And no one is more innocent than a child, inside the womb or out, no matter how or when he or she was conceived. Our country, including our leaders and many others, will have a lot to answer for one day.
Next is planning and scheming wickedness. Followed by running to do evil. There are those who just seem to enjoy hurting others. In fact, they’re in a hurry to do so. A false witness who speaks lies. Again lying is singled out in regard to giving a false testimony. And the one He most emphasized when he said “yes, seven …” is sowing discord or disharmony among believers. When we gossip about one believer to another or plant seeds of discontent, we are doing what God hates!
Dressed for the wedding
Like the wedding guests the king brought in from the streets, we all come to Him dirty and without proper “clothing,” sinners in need of cleansing and forgiveness. The “wedding garment” is His righteousness offered as a free gift. Those who were properly clothed had merely accepted the King’s gracious provision. Have you? It’s only when we are clothed with His righteousness that we are able to love others with His love.
We truly are all sinners in need of His grace. And there is no sin too great for Him to forgive. But forgiveness involves agreeing with God about our sin, seeking forgiveness through prayer, and turning from our own way to His. Do you know for sure that you are clothed in His righteousness? If not email me at email@example.com or download the free article “Will I go to heaven?” on the free resources page.