Tuesday, March 16, 2010

70 x 7 and Standing Up

In keeping up with my Lenten Commitment, I had my nose in the Bible again this morning. Odd thing happened, actually, and I'm going to chalk it up to God knowing I needed to read something important.

I'm still reading Acts. This morning's starting verse was Act 16:7. Usually I read a section and spend the day pondering. Acts 16:7-10 really could have served my brain well. It describes how the Spirit of Jesus prevented Paul, Luke, Silas and Timothy from going into Asia and Mysia. Really, doesn't that sound like something to ponder? God leads us and sometimes, if we're paying attention, that means we might be prevented from doing something. Excellent message and something worthy of pondering, yes?

I almost closed my Bible, but felt as if I needed to keep reading (God's leading). So I continued reading and finished Acts 16. The end of Acts 16 describes Paul and Silas's jail experience (when the walls of the prison shook and they were released from their shackles, but didn't leave and taught the jailer about Jesus. The jailer believes and has himself and his family baptized). At the very end, the magistrates who had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into jail send word to release the disciples.

Paul refuses to go. He states that he and Silas are Roman citizens and should not have received such poor treatment. He declares that the magistrates should come to the prison and escort Paul and Silas out themselves. The magistrates come, much alarmed that they treated Roman citizens so shabbily. They escort Paul and Silas out of the jail and invite them to leave town, which they do.

Wow. I had completely forgotten about Paul standing his ground. He knew they'd been wronged and did not shrink from the confrontation. He used facts. He used reason. He didn't just run out of jail and relish being free. He righted a wrong.

Why does this strike me today? Well, in case you hadn't noticed, my FIL is visiting. (Read about it here, here, here, here, and here.) The part I hadn't mentioned was that he made a quip to my chip-eating, healthy, average-weighted Big Kid about "wasting away to a small house." Nice, huh? I haven't said anything to FIL. I haven't stood up for my child. (The Mama Guilt is palpable.) FIL dotes on Middle One and Little One, but is very critical of Big Kid. I've respected my Darling's wishes for peace and giving his father a "free pass." Darling lives by forgiving people 70 times 7. But when is it inappropriate?

I can take the abuse. I can come here and blast him on my anonymous blog while keeping my peace with FIL. But I'm a grown-up. My child isn't and while he might behave like a little turkey, he's a kid and doesn't deserve to experience shabby emotional treatment from his grandfather. Today's lesson has struck me and shown me that keeping the peace doesn't have to mean lying down and taking it and not pointing out wrongs.

Maybe I should point out here that a girlfriend said the exact same thing to me yesterday. Gee, think God's trying to tell me something? Make no mistake, God talks to us.

I need to think about it and how to apply the lesson. Please pray for me. Please pray for my FIL. And please, please pray for my son. And please throw in a prayer for Darling - this won't be easy for him.

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