Am I being punished for my past?

Got this question just recently.
“Does God punish us for sins of the past?”

The answer is “no”. God does not punish us for sins of the past if we are in Christ. The punishment we deserve, death, was given to Christ. He died once for all. So now, there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8.1). If you feel condemned for past sins you can be sure that this is not coming from God. When Jesus spoke to the adulterous woman in John 8 he said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.” If there has been a pattern of sin in your life or one “big” sin, if you are in Christ, Jesus has paid for that sin. You are now called to leave it or that lifestyle behind. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We are no longer bound by that sin. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

For those not in Christ, God’s wrath still rests on them. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Fortunately, John 1:12 says, “to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” So, God’s wrath that we deserved was poured out on Jesus so that we wouldn’t have to live eternally separated from God.

Assuming that you are in Christ, you could be feeling one of three things.
1) Guilt. That’s not from God. Satan is an accuser and will use whatever he can to hinder you.
2) Consequences. Many times the consequences of our actions continue to remind us of our mistakes. For example, you shoot your wife because you are angry at her for burning the toast. Consequently, you are not going to have any more toast made by your wife. Our actions carry consequences.
3) Discipline – God will bring trials and tests into our life to purify or refine us. That discipline could feel a little like punishment because at the time it stings. Read Hebrews 12:11. But it is intended for our ultimate good. God chastens those he loves. He isn’t bringing tough things into your life because he is angry at you. God is taking you through a season of refining because he wants the best for you.

Be encouraged that the bible says that God who began a good work in you is able to complete it (Philippians 1:6). He casts away our sin as far as the east is from the west never to be remembered (Psalm 103). God never remembers. He gives us the ability to remember past mistakes so that we won’t make them over and over. So, remember that you screwed up, stop kickin’ yourself in the tail and get on with your purpose for being on the planet.

Here are some bible verses that might help in your study.

John 19:30
Hebrews 9:28
Hebrews 10:17-18
Romans 8:1
Hebrews 12:1-13


Parenting mistakes part 2.

Yep. I’m no expert. When I get it all figured out, you’ll be the first to know. Here are the final 5 parenting mistakes I’ve made or am not so proudly making right now.

Mistake #6 – lecturing instead of teaching.

It’s way more fun to teach before than to lecture after. Teaching sets boundaries and establishes expectations. Lecturing is punitive. I can teach my son way more about life on a three hour fishing trip than I ever could lecturing after he messes up. The problem with all that is that lecturing is easier and good teaching is harder.

Mistake #7 – Not being an example of what a great life looks like.

Sometimes I do a better job of disciplining my kids than discipling them. When you’re discipling them, everything is in play. How to love. How to live. How to lead. Quiet times with Jesus. How I treat my wife. My diet and exercise habits. How I handle money. My ministry. How I treat people. My work ethic. How I submit to authority. Everything…

Mistake #8 – not remembering that my kids are still children.

Sometimes I’m too serious and respond too quickly. I find that I worry too much about being embarrassed by my children. Sometimes I want them to act like an adults, but I have to remember that they still sleep with stuffed animals.

Mistake #9  – Not preparing my kids for what’s next.

I figured out a while back that if I prepare them for what’s next they are not as inclined to go into freak out mode in public. If I’m going into a store, I tell them before hand they’re not getting a toy. They don’t know the difference unless you tell them. Before going to the library, I tell them that no one talks loud in a library. Before leaving the playground I say, “five more minutes.” They typically will do pretty well with transitions when they are prepared.

Mistake #10 – not ditching the kids regularly.

We’re blessed to have family to help out with sitting. But even if you don’t, you’ve got to get rid of them curtain climbers once and a while and hit the town. Sanity is at stake. We went through a period of about a year without a steady date night. We could tell the difference.

Well, I’m learning more every day and would love to learn from you. What are you doing that works?

10 Parenting mistakes part 1

I’m still learning how to be a good parent. Here are a few mistakes I’m making or have made. Maybe you can add to this list.

Mistake #1 – Backing off of “NO”.

If “no” becomes something besides “no” on the small things, it will come back to bite you on the big stuff. Even though I know erosion is bad, sometimes I’m a softy.

Mistake #2 – Allowing my children to negotiate.

Anytime a kid is asked to do something, their initial response will be to negotiate. Negotiating obedience is bad. Obey first.

Mistake #3 – Me not being on the same team as mom.

A divided house cannot stand. If they’ve asked mom and got a “no” before asking me, it is not going to go well in the land. Undermining authority and manipulation is bad.

Mistake #4 – Saying “be careful.”

What does that do? It makes you think you’ve done your job as a parent to protect your child but really has no actual effect on their safety. It would be just as beneficial to say, “be careless.” I want my kids to take risks. If something is too dangerous then I should say “no”. If I don’t say “no,” my kids know to go for it, full on. That of course doesn’t eliminate injury but it does remove a layer of decision making from a child that they should not have to make. I still catch myself saying “be careful” sometimes.

Mistake #5 – not spending enough “no strings” time with my kids.

This is a hard one. I know they will do better in everything if motivated by love.

More tomorrow…