Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dart Practice

I'm going to do something here that I've never done before. I'm going to post the same writing on both my blogs. For those of you who are unaware, I am daily writing my response to my Bible reading as I read through a chronological Bible this year on my other blog, "Pondering In His Presence". You are more than welcome to visit whenever you can. Whether or not you are reading through the Bible or not with me, I hope you will find some encouragement. Sweet blessings to you all today.

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“It’s pretty sad when it’s hard being a Christian at a Christian school.”

That sentence has echoed through my thoughts over the past couple of weeks. A friend of mine expressed her frustration to me while sharing a situation that had devastated her recently. For the second time now her teenage son, who attends a private Christian school, has been the recipient of threats to cause bodily harm.

Wait a minute. Don’t the majority of these students profess a personal relationship with Jesus? Should not these pupils be the most loving, kind and forgiving young people? Would they not be the first to respond in any situation with a Christ-like manner? Oh how we long to answer affirmatively to those questions. We want to believe there’s a difference. Sadly, their actions speak louder than words and reveal their true heart condition.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to point a finger or criticize Christian education. I’m just saying that pain seems compounded when it is delivered to us from those whose faith and beliefs walk the same path as ours. “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.” Psalm 55:12-14

Sadly this behaviour is not contained within the halls of education. Outside the walls of these institutions, homes are tutoring these children in lessons that cause division. Denomination against denomination. Preferences against precepts. Relativity against absolute truth. Grey against black and white. Church against church. Country against country. The lines that divide us aren’t geographical. Anger rises. Jealousy flows.

I attended an event years ago that remains etched in my memory. The attendees at this celebration were all believers to my knowledge, yet what I witnessed that evening broke my heart. As conversation took a turn, and jokes became brash, crude and questionable, I was shocked to see what the majority considered “acceptable”. I felt like an outsider among my brothers and sisters in Christ. My heart ached.

Yes, it is sad when it’s hard being a Christian among other Christians. When the ridicule comes from family and not foe the pain cuts deep. I think this is what Job was feeling when his friends began to offer advice and help. Job 12: 4 says, “…my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer.” Have you been there? Sitting in a circle of Christ-followers, sharing passionately what the Lord is doing in your life, and the blank stares and condescending remarks cut deeper than any physical wound. The pain is not just the callus words that strike you, but the agony that these dear friends don't understand, having ears yet they do not hear.

Maybe it’s criticism, disapproval, judgement or fault-finding that has you sitting with Job this morning. You have been the target of some dart practice and the remarks have all hit the bulls-eye of your heart and you have been viciously wounded. As Glynnis reminded me this morning in her excellent devotional, we can’t get side-tracked by critics. Respond like Job, cry out to Him and seek His face. “He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.” Job 12:22.

11 comments:

Yolanda said...

Joy,

Still working through the hurt of a dart, inflicted by my family. And the only consolation is that they don't know any better....unblievers.

Thank you, Sister, for this heart felt post.

Yolanda

PS: Many are walking wounded.

Runner Mom said...

THis was great! It is so hard to sometimes be a Christian w/i a group of "Christians." I am struggling with this right now. A Sunday School teacher who professes to walk with the Lord uses profanity while teaching. I have major issues with that. Many in this class do. We are praying about the loving way to get through to this man. I needed to hear your thoughts today. Thank you!
Love you,
Susan

Melinda said...

I remember my daughter telling me that she knew more kids on drugs/alcohol at the private Christian school than at her own public high school. It astonished me.

Excellent post.

Hugs,
Melinda

Beth E. said...

One of the most hurful situations we have endured over the past couple of years has been at the hands of a family within our own church body. The story is very long...the details do not need to be spoken, anyway, but it has been a very long, painful journey for my husband, me, and our family.

Too often these days, problem students - many have been expelled from public schools - are placed into a Christian school environment, in the hopes that the teachers/staff can "straighten them out."

Please say a little prayer for me. I'm having some neck/shoulder issues. Details are in my blog.

Blessings...

ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

Hello! Thanks for the birthday wishes. Isn't it wonderful to find fellow Canadians on the www?!

By the way, very thought-provoking post. Sad business.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Joy,
What a heart felt post.

After being home schooled his entire life, our middle son entered 9th grade at a well-know Christian school. Like a deer in the headlights, he was stunned to hear the language that came out of all the supposedly Christian kid's mouths. It was his worst year of school ever, and we went back to home schooling for grades 10, 11 and 12.

I'm not against Christian schools or their students, truly I am not. But how can we be salt and light if we're using the same vulgar language as those who don't know Christ?

We need to walk the walk. Period.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

My kids attend a wonderful Christian school where nothing like this would be tolerated. That being said, I know that wasn't your main point. Yes, I've been in places where I've felt like a bit of an outsider even though all claimed to know Jesus.

It makes me think about my own behavior and how others are "reading me." I've learned a lot over the years and now tolerate less nonsense on the part of others. My mouth lends itself to letting others know when I deem them to be out of line. Otherwise, I just remove myself.

But it's those subtler (sp?) ways that need some fine tuning. Gossip is such a quick leap for me.

Thanks for your thoughts here as they pertain to our brother Job and his companions. Can you even imagine sitting there with your sores and scrapes and getting a sermon? Heavens.

peace~elaine

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Spent my time in a Christian high school. I know this story. See it in our churches to day also. Oh that we would just be Jesus to others...

In His Graces~Pamela

Cheri Bunch said...

Good morning, Sweet Joy!

This is so true.....sad but true.

My heart has broken over the way we misrepresent our Lord Jesus. He was the exact representation of the Father's glory.....He has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can represent Him well. We CAN be fruit bearers of His sweet but Divine nature!

My boys were just recently shunned by one of our dear friends who is a pastor in our town. My boys spoke to him and he grunted and turned his back to them......

A couple of weeks later I heard that the pastor was speaking on the most important commandments: "Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself."

I was challenged to pour out some self control I was so disappointed in the way he had treated my sons and then preached such a message. It made me cry lots of tears......and I apologized to the Lord for our poor misrepresentation of Him.

Sorry I took off on this. Wounds are fresh. I appreciate you sharing.

Have an awesome day!

Love to you!
Cheri

Cindy said...

Joy,

I am on Facebook. Email me with your name and I'll check out your posted pics.

Cindy

Sita said...

Wonderful insights, Joy...with heart...
It hurts most in the 'family' 'cause that's where our heart..our trust..is given...all my deepest hurts have come from the Body...cause we're a broken bunch...
so sorry about your friend's son...so far it has been positive for my sons at a Christian school..my sons know that most of the kids actually do not have a personal relationship with the Lord...just a Christian heritage...nevertheless, dicipline over 'bullying' like that is not tolerated and dealt with...
Blessings to u, my dear sister-in-Christ...