Holes and Compassion

I had several  speaking engagements in June and I think I might have learned more than my audiences.  My biggest take-away was that most people in this world have holes and lots of them.  Some holes are huge and are a result of trauma. Major trauma like sexual abuse, divorce, death of a parent as a child, physical and verbal abuse, addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, accidents that result in serious physical damage, absent parents, and other dramatic trauma.  But trauma doesn’t always have to be so dramatic either.  Holes can come from major disappointment and loss.  Getting cut from a sports team or not making a drama production can cause a hole. Loss of friendship from a move across the country or a friendship ending due to bitterness and jealously can cause a hole.  Hurtful words from a parent to a child can cause a hole.  A child not meeting his parent’s expectations can cause a hole in both parents and children. The bottom line is that we are all broken people.  I don’t care how confident people appear on the outside, on the inside, they have holes.  The difference is what you FILL the hole with.  Now I am Bible-thumping and I really hope that I live my faith out-loud.  I have chosen to fill my holes with TRUTH from the Bible.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know that I am God’s masterpiece created to do good things.  I know that there is no condemnation in Christ.  I know that God forgives those who ask and makes us new creations.  BUT, lots of people don’t know these truths or they have forgotten them and they fill their holes with garbage….pride, pity, financial success, impure images, impure relationships, bitterness, anger, selfishness, rage, isolation.  They settle for a substitute for love and relationships instead of God’s plan for love and relationships. Our culture offers lots of dangerous options for filling our holes.  Most of them are cheap replacements for GOD’s TRUTH.  For example, an insecure girl buys into the lie that she ought to dress provocative, act sexy and aggressive  in order to snag a boy…evening sending him nude photos on SnapChat (that was the story I heard over and over in June from lots of moms), but this was never God’s design.  So as moms, what do we do???  Teach your kids about God’s truth.  Encourage inner beauty with your daughter and character development.  Integrity starts with developing character traits such as perseverance, discretion, confidence, sincerity, modesty-both of dress and heart, poise.  Spend lots of time with your kids.  Did you know that kids who have dinner less often with their parents are more likely to be involved in many risky behaviors. (1) So this summer, make dinner a priority!

Because we all have holes, we all need compassion.  Many people haven’t filled their holes with God’s Truth and they have traded Biblical Truth for a cultural norm…in relationships…in media…in addictive behavior….in sexual promiscuity…just to name a few.  People need compassion and acceptance…that doesn’t mean that we approve of all behavior however.  You can LOVE without APPROVAL.…any parent knows that.  I love my children even though I do not approve of their behavior or choices.  As humans we tend not to like people who don’t agree with us or approve of our choices.  And that’s where LOVE breaks through….Love says, “Think twice about that decision.”  Love challenges and says, “Are you feeling pitiful or prideful in this situation?”  Love sharpens, chastises, corrects, challenges; love doesn’t always agree but it is patient, kind, it is not boastful, it is not proud, it does not self-seek.  It is not easily angered nor does it keep record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. (2) Love sees the holes in others and responds with compassion rather than judgement.  Loving is way harder than liking.  Love, not agreement, keeps families together, communities together.  I live in a wonderful community and I definitely don’t see eye to eye with all the members of my community…but I would help any of them in time of need because I choose love.  Teach your kids this concept:  Loving without agreement.  If your family identity is based on Scripture, then you will have to love people without agreeing with them because your convictions will be different.  But isn’t that what Jesus did?  He loved people, not their choices.  We can do the same.

TIP:  This summer, eat as many dinners together as a family as you can.  Moms, read the book Girls Uncovered by McIlhaney, Bush.  Teach your kids how to love people, not agree with them. And get off SnapChat.

(1):F.I Luntz, What Americans Really Want…Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears (New York: Hyperion, 2009),257.

(2) I Corinthians 13: 4-7, NIV study Bible.