Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Tattoo Trend You'll Never See

Picture this with me. It's night. You pull into the gas station to fill up your tank before taking off for dinner and a movie night with the girls. All of the sudden, you hear a loud noise as a long-haired guy on a motercycle pulls into the lane next to you. Not gonna lie - he's kinda big, you're kinda small. He's kinda scary, and you're pretty scared. He takes off his helmet to reveal that in addition to being bigger than you, his hair is also longer. He takes off his jacket to reveal a huge tattoo. Through your sunglasses, you peer a little closer to find that the tattoo has a huge heart and proclaims, "I LOVE MOM." Somehow, that pit in your stomach seems to ease a little bit. But should it?

Luke 14:26 - "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple."

Okay, let me go ahead and tell you that I know what's going through your head. Okay, Miss Seminary...check your copy of the Bible, assuming that you have one, for the Ten Commandments. I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to honor my parents - that includes loving them! Yeah, yeah, yeah - you're right! Exodus 20:12 - it's right there. Okay, and what about Ephesians 6:1-2 which says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the Earth." Now, all of you out there who's parents have instructed you to hate them, raise your hand. Yeah, I didn't think so. So what in the world does Jesus mean when he says that if we want to be his disciple we have to hate our parents and other family? Okay, I understand that too. So give me a chance to explain myself before you think I've totally lost it...

We are to love God MORE than our earthly family. This verse examines our love for our family in comparison to our love for God. Our love for God is to be so strong that it makes our love for our family seem like hate. Matthew 6:33 tells us to "seek FIRST his kingdom and his righteousness." Your first priority and first love should belong to Jesus Christ, and all other things should be dim in comparison. Think about how much you love your parents - and then think about how your love for God should overshadow that love so much that it appears that you don't even love them at all. Later in Matthew (10:37-38 to be specific), Jesus claims, "He who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." So your parents should love God more than they love you too!

You should not DECREASE your love for your parents, but INCREASE your love for God. You are absolutely supposed to love your parents. (If you ever wonder just how much love, respect, and obedience you owe to your parents, read through the book of Proverbs. Example - Proverbs 15:5 calls a child who rejects his father's discipline a fool, but one who obeys is sensible.) But do you know what Jesus said when the Pharisees asked him what the greatest commandment was? Without pausing, Jesus quickly responded in Matthew 22:37-38, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment."

If you put anything in your life before God, you are not a true disciple of His. Disciples are to believe the Bible, trust in Him for salvation, let the Holy Spirit work through them, and walk as Jesus did. That's a pretty tough job description. Luke 14:33 says we cannot be His disciples if we do not give up all of our own posessions. You cannot put anything in your life before God - not people, not things, not ANYTHING.

That's tough stuff, but guess what? THAT'S TOUGH. You don't have to like it. But it's what the Bible says. If you believe the Bible is truth, then you'll do what it says, whether you like it or not! I mean, I don't like Math. But if you tell me, "Michelle, 2 plus 2 equals 4", I'm not going to look at you and say, "No way!" Just because I don't like it, that doesn't mean the basic facts of math aren't true.

So let's recap. Love your parents, but love God more. Put him above everything and everyone. So don't rush out and get that "I hate Mom" tattoo. Oh, and 2+2=4. :)

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"