Saturday, August 29, 2009

No Damn Good

No, to my knowledge, these words were never spoken but their message was perceived by the child.
I'll call her Brenda. A bright, talented, energetic, twelve to fifteen year old growing up in a "Christian" home. I say twelve to fifteen years old because under "normal" conditions it can take more than one year to break a child of a positive attitude.
Brenda had art talent. She could look at something and sketch it's likeness on paper better than the average person. Seeing her potential, some friends purchased some basic drawing supplies for her so she could practice and develop her talent. With great enthusiasm she set out to become the artist she was gifted to be. Be it a vase on a shelf, or something else around the house, Brenda received great satisfaction in applying her talent to recording its likeness on paper. So enthused was she about becoming an artist that her whole family no doubt heard plenty of it. I'm sure a good bit of her time also was spent pursuing her newfound aspiration.
It was probably the time involved that disturbed her father the most. Time that I'm sure he thought could be put to better use reading the Bible. With the end of the world upon us, to him, it was useless to waste time drawing. Besides, "You'll never be able to make a living drawing pictures!" he would tell her. It wasn't long before she put the pencils away. What was the use?
It was much the same way when she enthusiastically brought a musical instrument home from school. She was going to play in the band! As you can imagine, there were some pretty terrible sounds coming out of her room after school. And I'm sure by now you can imagine what her father would say. You know it would be hard to study ones Bible with all that noise. "By the sounds of it you will never make the band! Stop making so much racket and do something constructive like studying your Bible."
The music went the same way as the drawing pencils. Brenda gave up on the good things she was interested in. That in itself was sad but something sadder still was to follow. If she could not take time to develop things that required practice she soon turned to things that were easy. Things like hanging around with poor role models and their bad habits. Bad habits, you know, don't take any discipline or hard work to develop and she was out of sight and sound of her father. Brenda found she was naturally good at things like running away from home, stealing a car, getting caught, ending up in a reform school, and getting pregnant. I don't think I have to say any more about Brenda. Her life was seriously altered by a well meaning parent who had grown up in an alcoholic home, beaten and unloved, who didn't understand that the things he was saying were being heard as "Your no damn good." She simply started to live out that message.
As Brenda's father read his Bible I don't think he understood these verses: ". . . I the LORD thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." Exodus 20:5 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 ". . .whosoever shall say to his brother Raca (worthless one), shall be in danger of the council but whosoever shall say, Thou fool (stupid), shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Matthew 18:5,6,&7
This is not written to judge or shame Brenda's father, rather that we might learn from his mistakes! Here are some suggested lessons we might glean from Brenda's story: A person's value is not determined by how many religious things they do but that Christ died to redeem them. His Spirit will decide which gifts they are to use to God's glory. We cannot read the Bible all of the time and to develop ones physical talents is a worthwhile endeavor. Just imagine how the cause of Christ would suffer had none of God's children developed the talents He gave them such as graphic art, music, dance, drama, etc. We may be living in the end time but if we have Christ in us we are living eternal life! In eternal life there is plenty of time to develop our God given talents!

Brenda suffered from religious and mental abuse which stemmed from her fathers background. Are we passing on an abusive family legacy? By God's grace we can stop the cycle of abuse! Be kind! Think before you speak! Make sure your intended message is being perceived correctly by others. Let's build others up with positive reinforcement! They too can do all things through Christ who strengthens them!

Dear Father in Heaven, Please forgive us our blindness. Help us all to recognize the tremendous value you have placed on every person. Work in us to encourage and build up others to thy name's honor and glory.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

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