10 September 2012

Spaghetti Sauce Stains, Restoration, and Justin Bieber

My kids are awesome. So fun. Love life. Moody. But sweet as can be.

One of the best traits of my kids(BB and Peach, for those who haven't read from when I first started ths blog)is their desire to help out around the house.

BB is my 6 year old, flighty boy who will gladly help out...for a good, rock solid 20 seconds before he wants to move on to other things. He is the same way with schoolwork, and is probably how I was at that age.

Peach is my almost 4 year old little girl who is doggedly determined in everything she does. Very temperamental. But when she sets her mind to something, she locks in and gets the task done. And she wants to do it right, or she starts crying.

This difference, as you can imagine, can lead to some vicious fights that would make the Hatfields and McCoys cringe.

That's a post for another day.

Last week, BB decided to help wash the dishes.

That's right. I said WE wash our dishes...WITH OUR HANDS. No fancy, new fangled electronical machine to do it. I often kid with people that our dishwasher is 41 years old...get it? And we still don't have internet at the house. Our house was built in 1969, and we have decided to live that way still today! (For some reason, my mind just started singing "Party Like It's 1969"...no offense, Prince, but I like my version better)

After cute little BB went off to bed, I went into the kitchen to put the dishes up. BB only washed his and Peaches' dishes that are those 2 compartment plates like some cafeterias have to keep the mystery meat from getting green bean juice on it. (Hey, I wrote a post about Green Brean Juice...go read it!) One is an Owl and the other is a Dog.

Well, in the drying rack, they fit stacked perfectly together. The Dog was on bottom and the Owl on top. I grabbed them both and was reaching to put them in, when I decided I better check them.

If you are a parent of a 6 year old flighty boy, you know what I found. The top plate was clean. The Owl was very clean. But the bottom of Owl and the top of Dog was filthy. Covered in spaghetti sauce and flecks of beef and tiny smashed noodle shards (does that work?) were all over them.

So, here's the question...what did I do?

COMMON SENSE would say...I cleaned them up.

I grabbed the washrag and detergent and got them clean. And that is what I did. Doesn't that make common sense?

What does NOT make sense would be if I said "I was grossed out by them, so I just threw them away." Agreed? Please say that you agree with this, or the next portion of my post will be useless to you...With some effort and time, I was able to get the plates usable again. Throwing them away would be..well...stupid.

Now...let's go to church.

What do we do when we find out that Deacon Jones, who looks clean on the top--- he is addicted to porn?

How about this...we find out that Sally-Sue in the youth group who goes on missions trips and sings solos on Sunday nights--- she's 2 months pregnant.


What should we do?

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should RESTORE HIM in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."- Galatians 6

Now, there will be a follow-up post written about my own train-wreck experience that started this entire blog and also gave me the name Lazarus...

I don't know much...but I know this. There is time for proper church-discipline. A good friend of mine and I have been hashing this issue out lately, and the Bible teaches there is a time for this.

But those times are rare.

Yet, I have seen many of my friends hurt, damaged, shunned, belittled, thrown out and banished without ANY effort on the part of the church to RESTORE the person.

Like me having to physically invest TIME and EFFORT to get that plate as clean as I could, so should the church invest TIME and EFFORT to restore.

I have no idea who reads this blog. I don't know where you are, who you are, or why you happened here. So, even though I don't know you, I still want to challenge you...

DON'T THROW PEOPLE AWAY WHEN THEY GET DIRTY! Put TIME and EFFORT into RESTORING THEM! Perhaps on the other side, they will be stained. They may never regain the luster they once had, but that's o.k. LOVE them and help them clean themselves up the best you can.

There have been a few people in my life who have come along and, whether they know it or not, have been vital in the process of my personal restoration. I was one of those thrown out, shunned and damaged. I have teetered on the brink of...alot of things, but there have been a few people who KNEW what I had done and LOVED me anyway and PRAYED with me and for me, and took genuine interest in my life...

So, to Joe, Eric, Lamar, Angela, Lindsay, and Scott....thank you.

Only JESUS could save my soul, but you saved my LIFE.

Don't throw people away.

I beg you.


  1. What a great analogy.

    This post was worth the wait. I'm looking forward to hearing your story.

  2. Good post. The souls of men are eternal treasures and should never be cast aside flippantly b/c we don't want to get our hands dirty with their sin. If deacon Jones and Sally-Sue are repentant, then restoration will be possible. It's the cases where they are not repentant which become the most controversial. Btw, what did your post have to do with Bieber? I saw the artist formerly known as Prince mentioned, but were's the Beebster?

    Moving on...

    Having watched two cases of neglected church discipline lately, I definitely have a new perspective.

    In one case, the pastor chose to avoid breaching the issue for some time and when he did, he erred on the side of compassion. Of course, by compassion, I mean that he allowed the couple to keep living together with the hope that they would soon be married. Nothing more. As time has gone by, it looks like the unmarried couple has moved on b/c they were offended that they couldn't substitute teach in children's church together just b/c they were sleeping together. Go figure.

    From that situation, I learned that we should never procrastinate when there is an obvious issue of church discipline required. We should clearly define the terms with the individual(s) involved. We should communicate clear expectations for the individual(s).

    The second situation is ongoing. A wicked, wicked man has stolen another man's wife and yet is still in a teaching position at his church. The man is going through his own divorce and now has initiated the divorce of another marriage. The woman involved did not have biblical grounds for leaving her husband; she simply wanted someone who was going to treat her better. They are still currently together and the man has not been disciplined by his church in any manner. A friend of mine and I felt the need to exhort this wicked man's pastor to seriously address the situation, which is glaringly obvious. I am still praying that all involved will repent and do the right thing. At the same time, I'm very disheartened by the fact that a pastor can sit by and watch this happen but be so timid in dealing with it directly.

    There are many cases where compassion should be exercised in great quantities, but in the above case, I believe that the wicked man involved shows no desire for repentance and in fact has physically threatened anyone who tries to intervene including the woman's rightful husband. In this case, I think the church should be swift in communicating his error and put him out of fellowship for the sake of their own purity and so that the wicked man will hopefully come to repentance through his shame and knowledge of his own depravity. The process of restoration can only begin once repentance is present in that man's heart.

    Love, compassion and kindness should be an absolute minimum when dealing with issues of church discipline. In many cases, restoration will be possible, but not if gossip, anger and malice enter the process. Speak the truth (no matter how harsh it is) in love. It's a tricky balance that can only be accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit. For God himself righteously condemns us but at the same time offers perfect compassion and love. No wonder many of us have been restored through his mercy. We know what we deserved and are blown away by his grace!