“You’re Different. I Hate You. You’re Going To Hell.”

Lately it seems to have become “cool” to be hateful, insulting, and mean to anyone who has a different opinion or is promoting love in Christ’s Name.  This appears to be especially true of many “Christians.”  Many of my gentle parenting friends have noticed that it is getting worse and a great deal of  “Christians” tend to take pride in it.  To be fair, I must say that many liberals tend to be quite hateful as well and I have been attacked many times by them for my conservative beliefs.

Basically, you are attacked by the opposite side of what you believe AND by both sides if you happen to fall in the middle of issues.

This hatefulness is happening mostly among the conservative Christian Right with topics such as gentle parenting and transgender people with regards to them using public bathrooms and locker rooms.  I feel the need to cover the transgender issue, as rare as it is, these children and adults are committing suicide at very high rates.

In fact, “41% try to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6% of the general public. The numbers come from a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, which analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” (Ungar, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/16/transgender-individuals-face-high-rates–suicide-attempts/31626633/).

And having a transgender child means that gentle, Biblical parenting is even more important.  After all, gentle parents never force anything on their children.  They allow them to be who they are while still teaching them Biblical values.

Before I get into the transgender issue, I want to cite an important verse.

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’  And He said to him, ‘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. ‘The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ ‘On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:36-40, NASB).

Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul.  AND to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This means to love one another.  No matter what!

As I write this, I understand that as a Christ-follower, I must love while holding steadfast in His Holy Word.  I do not want to fall into sin.  But as this post points out, His Word is also the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

I also realize that Christ-followers get in trouble for calling “sin” sin.  This post is to show that many “Christians” are actually sinning, perhaps unintentionally, by making a big deal out of something they don’t understand.  I was guilty of this.  Also, I truly believe (because I used to be this way and sometimes still am) that some “Christians” are so afraid of sin that they reject stuff without trying to learn more about it. They stand firm “in the Lord.” They think, “How dare you say transgenderism is biological and real?” “It’s of satan!”   This type of attitude hurts non-believers who are watching us trying to figure out this Jesus thing out.  Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7).

That being said, let’s get into the transgender issue as there are many misconceptions about it.

I think that when most people think of transgenderism, they immediately think of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I know I did for a long time.  But transgenderism and transvestism are very different.  Transvestites are people, usually men, who dress up as the opposite sex.  I do believe transvestism is a sin according to the Bible because men do it for mainly sexual pleasure and don’t truly identify with the female gender.  Despite me saying that this is a sin, I do not judge them.  What they do in their private life is none of my business as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

This goes for homosexuals as well.  Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, but they are free to live how they choose and I love my homosexual friends.  If my child turned out to be gay, I would love them unconditionally and wait for God to work in them instead of trying to change them.  I also no longer believe that the government has the right to enforce this type of morality since it’s not hurting anyone else.

On the other hand, transgender people are born truly identifying with the opposite sex.  This is rare!

Take Jazz from the show I Am Jazz for example.  Jazz explains it as she has a girl brain that somehow got stuck in a boy’s body. And, she insisted she was a girl since she was young, despite her parents raising her as a boy.  Sadly, I guess some parents push transgenderism on their children, which if this is the case, it is wrong. Children should never be forced into anything!

Yes, God created us male and female in His image.  However, God is not in control. Sin is in the world. Stuff happens during pregnancy that alters the brain and parents have a baby boy. In Jazz’s case, she was raised all boy for the first few years of her life. Her name was Jarrod.

But she kept insisting she was a girl. She loved girl things from a young age. In fact, she had nightmares from a very young age about developing male characteristics such as a beard and mustache, deep voice, and an Adam’s apple.  She has two older brothers and an older sister, so she was exposed to a lot of boys and girls things. Her parents found it strange she naturally gravitated to the girls stuff. No one forced anything on her!  If anything, they made her go to preschool dressed as a boy because they didn’t understand exactly what was going on.

Here is a link to the first episode of I Am Jazz where all of this is explained very well as to what it was like for all of them.  I highly recommend watching the whole season.  I understand some of you may have reservations as I did when my husband first wanted to watch it because I thought it was going to be just a bunch of liberal garbage. Boy was I ever wrong!

As I said, her parents waited, figuring it was the typical phase all preschoolers go through, but she kept insisting she was a girl so they researched it and saw that this was real for a minority of people and suicide rates are sky high for this group because of the intolerance.  Therefore, they allowed her to be who she is.

And, sadly, transgender people are highly likely (“The Human Rights Campaign report documented 21 transgender homicide victims so far in 2015, almost all of them transgender women of color, and likely an underestimate due to the difficulty of tracking the homicides. Among all 53 transgender murders from 2013 to 2015, not a single one was prosecuted or reported as a hate crime, the report found.”) to be murdered and hurt, so I don’t see why so many people are so concerned about them committing crimes.  Sure, there are bad people in every group, but when I tried to Google “crimes committed by transgenderism,” I came up with very few stories.  The rest were about crimes committed against transgender people.

I think that thinking transgender people will attack others is just a fear people have who don’t understand this. I used to be one of them until we watched I Am Jazz. She is a wonderful girl trying to be who she is and gets called names, judged, and even has had death threats. Most are from “CHRISTIANS!”

Also, some people say that transgender people are mentally ill and schizophrenic.  Research shows that a low percentage of transgender individuals do indeed have schizophrenia.

“A relationship between two distinct disorders can be inferred if they cooccur at a higher level than would be expected by chance. According to recent estimates, the prevalence of schizophrenia is approximately 1 to 8 per 1,000 population [6], and that of GID is even lower, estimated at around 1 in 10,000 for male-to-female GID and less than 1 in 25,000 for female-to-male GID [7]. Their cooccurrence would therefore be expected to be rare: a crude estimate, obtained by multiplying prevalences, would be less than 1 in 1,000,000 individuals.

Hospital and clinic-based studies of individuals with GID have found rates of schizophrenia far in excess of both this estimate and the general population prevalence; however, comorbid mental illness is likely to have been overrepresented in such samples. A Dutch survey of 186 psychiatrists evaluating patients with GID found that 31 (16.7%) reported seeing patients with comorbid GID and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia [8]; however, it was not possible to calculate the percentage of patients with schizophrenia from the data provided by the authors, and the study has been criticized on the grounds of response bias, low external validity, and lack of a standardized means of confirming the diagnosis of psychosis [9]. A second Dutch study compared 20 patients who underwent gender-reassignment surgery and 27 in whom this treatment was deferred or delayed; no patient in the former group had schizophrenia, while 2 in the latter (7.4%) received this diagnosis, and a third was reported as having “psychotic episodes” [10]. An earlier clinic-based study obtained similar results; in a sample of 51 individuals with GID referred for psychiatric evaluation, 8% were found to have schizophrenia [11]. An unusual clustering was reported in African-American women with GID at a clinic in the United States; two of these five subjects (40%) were diagnosed with schizophrenia and a third was noted to have a “schizophrenic character” [12].

More modest but still significant results have been obtained in population-based samples. A recent study from Ireland found that 8 of 159 patients with male-to-female gender dysphoria (5%) had comorbid schizophrenia, as opposed to none of 59 patients with female-to-male GD [7]. Psychiatric evaluation of 230 self-referred applicants for gender-reassignment surgery in Spain, after excluding patients with psychosis but no clear diagnosis of GD/GID, identified six cases (2.6%) of psychosis, with equal rates in male and female subjects [13]. Though these figures are lower than those of the referral-based studies, they are likely to be closer to the true prevalence in this population and are still far higher than would be expected by chance alone. A study of Taiwanese students which measured symptoms, rather than diagnoses, found a strong correlation between symptoms of GID and schizophrenia in male students [14], also suggesting an effect of gender on this association.

Taken together, these studies provide indirect evidence for a link between schizophrenia and GID, on the grounds of their greater-than-chance cooccurrence. However, not all studies in adults or adolescents have been positive. A study of 579 subjects with GID from Japan found only one case of schizophrenia (0.17%) in a female-to-male patient, a rate which is comparable to the lower bound of general population values [15]; however, another publication involving the same sample makes it clear that five subjects with schizophrenia were excluded from the first paper, yielding a corrected prevalence of 1.02% [16]. A study of 435 patients attending a gender clinic in Texas found only four (0.92%) cases of schizophrenia [17]. In a sample of 83 Iranian patients with GID, no cases of schizophrenia were reported [18]” (Rajkumar, 2014, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/schizort/2014/463757/).

So to worry about all transgender people being schizophrenic is totally unnecessary.  Yes, rates may be slightly higher than the general population, but this study still shows that the numbers are low.  If you read the entire study, the author points out limitations of the research as well.

I truly believe that forcing Jazz to be a boy would be sin. She is leaning toward liking boys as this video shows.  But even though her sexuality is something she is still exploring as most teenagers do, making her be a boy would highly possibly make her be gay because she would have to live as her physical body dictates instead of her brain. Her brain is all girl. She didn’t choose this. Her parents didn’t choose this. It just is. So saying, “No, you are a boy and that is how you will live” means forcing her into a sinful homosexual lifestyle. I don’t think God approves as He warns us not to lead children into sin (Matthew 18:5-6).

Also, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, therefore, these people are probably the gender that they identify with to the soul. Just like my soul is not disabled but it’s stuck in a body that is disabled. For all we know, people who were too scared to come out when they are alive are the gender they identified with in Heaven. It’s not for us to say, “You must be a girl because you were born in a girl’s body.”  It is between the person and God.  God is more than capable of working with them to do His Will.

Of course, if my child started insisting he/she was the opposite sex than what he/she had been assigned at birth, I would listen and wait and if he/she kept saying it beyond 5 or 6 when that phase of exploring is over, I would listen and let him/her be who he/she is. I don’t see it as a sin. I see homosexuality as a sin. Far be it from me to force my girl to be a girl who is a really a boy and likes boys thus making him be gay.

This article is interesting regarding the biological differences in a transgender brain.  Sadly, many people who do not understand this believe that parents should just wait until puberty sets in and see if that “fixes” the “problem.”  These people, including some doctors as this article shows, believe that simply putting the children in psychotherapy will “fix” them.  This could not be farther from the truth!  Even when I was at my most legalistic stage of my walk with Christ, something about these therapies and “camps” to “fix” homosexuality just never set well with me.  In fact, research shows that psychotherapy does more harm than good for these children.

“Some right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change their sexual orientation or gender identity, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy. The research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful. Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation and gender identity. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of conversion therapy.

Psychiatrist Dr. L. Spitzer, who once offered a study on reparative therapy, has since denounced the practice and has apologized for endorsing the practice….

American Academy of Pediatrics

Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.   Parameter on Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Orientation, Gender Nonconformity, and Gender Discordance in Children and Adolescents” (Human Rights Campaign, 2016, http://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy).

Maybe for children who are not truly transgender, it may help, but I would be extremely careful with it.  This is so much more than just a “moral” issue.  It is a biological one.

And waiting until after puberty sets in is very emotionally dangerous for transgender children because they will get all the characteristics of the gender that they do not want to become.  This makes transitioning to the gender that they do identify with much harder.

Some may argue, “How do we know this is definitely what the child wants?”  Every transgender child has ongoing psychotherapy as he/she progresses through the process of blocking the hormones of his/her biological gender and goes on hormones of the gender with which he/she identifies.

“Physicians usually require that any transgender client who wants a medical intervention be assessed first by a mental health provider. A letter may be requested stating that the client’s mental health would improve from a gender transition. “Over the last two to three years, a number of medical associations have made statements about the medical necessity of transitional care for transgender people,” says dickey. While still somewhat stigmatizing, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria ensures that more services for transgender people will be covered by health insurers.

It is standard practice to treat the client for any psychiatric conditions that might be present before starting a medical transition. After that, medical treatment may include hormone therapy to diminish unwanted secondary-sex characteristics and produce or enhance secondary-sex characteristics of the desired gender. A 2011 study led by Colt Meier, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Houston (Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health) showed that hormone therapy was associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as increased quality of life in a sample of more than 400 transgender men.

In addition to hormone therapy, transgender people may opt for surgery to alter breasts, genitalia or other sexual characteristics. Other transgender people may choose a “social transition” that involves only cosmetic changes in dress, grooming or name, for instance, and no medical intervention.

Psychologists help clients in transition by providing guidance on how to pace the process through small steps so as to make adjustments easier for themselves and the people they live and work with, Bockting says. He stresses the benefit of linking transgender clients to support groups or online communities where they can learn from others who have taken the same journey. Providing resources and counsel to families to help them understand and accept a transgender relative ultimately benefits the client, too, he adds. Other clients appreciate a therapist’s help in navigating the frustrating barriers of changing a name and identity documents after a transition, he says (Glicksman, 2013, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/transgender.aspx).

Doctors take the treatment of transgender children very seriously.  They go slowly to make sure that the teen is responding well to the treatment.  They make sure that this is still what the child wants.  If at any time the child changes his/her mind, doctors can stop treatment and reverse what has happened, though the earlier they do that, the easier it is to reverse the process.  This is precisely why waiting for the child to complete puberty is dangerous because it makes the transition to the opposite gender much harder.  

“In the prepubertal population, there is an additional treatment possibility: the suppression of puberty using continuous gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, which have the effect of blocking the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. This, in turn, prevents the secretion of endogenous sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) from the gonads, halting the progression of puberty, including the development of secondary sex characteristics. During this time, patients are medically monitored and receive regular psychotherapy. Giordano says that the fundamental benefit of this treatment strategy is that “children gain time to reflect over their gender identity, without becoming trapped in a body that is experienced as alien” [5]. The bulk of this reflective process occurs with the help of a psychotherapist, who oftentimes asks the child to have a real-life experience living as the other gender (i.e., in dress and behavior) to help determine whether or not he or she desires the transition [6].

The importance of preventing development of secondary sex characteristics during this period cannot be overstated. Once these children, who are already experiencing considerable distress over their gender incongruence, undergo the pubertal development of the “wrong” sex, their psychological well-being deteriorates significantly, and many develop depression and suicidal ideation [7]. They can experience alienation and harassment at school if they are unable to participate in cross-gender activities or use cross-sex restrooms. They can be bullied and abused. Such circumstances can lead these youths to drop out of school [8] and develop significant psychiatric morbidity [9]. Because these risks can be so great, the need for medical and psychological intervention is paramount. Suppressing puberty and allowing children the opportunity to explore their true gender identities decreases their risk for suicide [10].

A child who decides to change his or her sex then starts cross-sex hormones. Because puberty was arrested before development of secondary sex characteristics, the child will achieve a “more normal and satisfactory appearance” after the transition [5] than if he or she had waited until adulthood, in which case many irreversible features (e.g., height) or solely surgically reversible features (e.g., breast and genital development) would have formed. Giordano also believes children who have been treated before puberty have better psychosocial outcomes, such as greater comfort with their physical selves, better social adjustment, and fewer psychiatric complications. Should they decide not to change sex, ‘puberty suppressant drugs can be withheld and development restarts as normal'” (Lambrese, 2010, http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2010/08/jdsc1-1008.html).

The research shows that while there are always risks to medical procedures, the physical risks do not outweigh any emotional and psychological risks of not allowing these children to have the correct biological appearance of the gender with which they identify.  The struggle these children and parents face is very real!  They don’t need us giving them grief over a very difficult decision they have made.  This isn’t for us to judge!

And we want everyone to come to the Lord but if all the child hears is how angry God is at him/her, how is the child ever going to hear His voice?  There have been cases where transgender people went back to their biological gender because that was what God wanted them to do.  Our job is to make sure we are showing God’s amazing love to them.

As I stated above, I am not promoting sin!  I am not promoting transvestism.  I am not promoting homosexuality.

I am promoting authenticity, love, and acceptance of all people of all ages!

I am also promoting love for a small group of children who are born in the wrong body.  And for “Christians” using the verses about not wearing the clothes of the opposite gender to say that transgenderism is “sinful,” by forcing a girl to be a girl when every bone in her body is saying that she is really a boy, you are causing him to sin by being a girl instead of the boy he is.

Now onto the ridiculous bathroom issue that Christians and conservatives are fighting over.  They are not being loving at all.  I saw a hateful video by a “Christian,” and it was posted by another “Christian” on Facebook.  I will not link to it because it is too hateful.

People are worried about men using the ladies bathroom, which is understandable.  But how many times have guys walked into the ladies bathroom?   Not many.

Yet, I am not hearing much about transgender woman who identify as men using the men’s bathroom.  Why?  Why are people so freaked out over transgender men who identify as women using the women’s bathroom?  I think that says a lot about how society views men.  They are viewed as big, hairy animals that let their penises guide them.  That is sad.  And if men dare to show emotions, they are labeled as “weak.”

We should value both genders!  Not all men are monsters.  And women are actually strong because we can carry babies in our womb for nine months and give birth and nourish our babies with our breasts.  Men can protect and provide for their families while still being nurturing to their wives and children.  Both genders are equally important and have equal value and can be whoever God wants them to be.  Instead of stereotyping and limiting the genders, valuing them can help with whatever gender confusion may be going on in our society.

You know, evil people will do evil no matter what. I don’t believe that true transgender people should have to use the bathroom based on their genitals. Can you imagine the violence that would occur to a man that truly identifies as a woman going in a men’s bathroom?  She would be ripped apart and/or worse. I honestly don’t know why this is a problem.  Why not freak out about gay people using the bathroom of the same sex that they are attracted to?  I guess some do freak out over lesbians use the women’s bathroom if they dress more male.  Sad!

Also, many have voiced concern about their little girls seeing male genitalia.  In my 34 years of life, I have never seen nakedness in the ladies bathroom.  I asked my husband if the same were true for the men’s bathroom and he said there has never nakedness in the men’s bathroom in his life.  Yes, it does happen but it is rare.  Again, Google shows no real results when I Googled “indecent exposure in public bathrooms.”  And being attacked by a transgender person is even rarer in public bathrooms.

Also, the majority of sexual abuse child victims know their abusers.  That being said, there are pedophiles everywhere.  They come in all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.  I understand that people are nervous about this fact.  Parents must be diligent about watching their children.  We’ve heard horror stories of boys being sexually abused by their priests or girls being sexually abused by women even though it is a bit less often than men.  My point is that being with the same gender doesn’t necessarily mean that children are safer.

As someone with a severe physical disability, my husband must take me to the bathroom which is always a pain without a family bathroom as someone must make sure all the ladies are out and guard the door while he takes me. Heaven forbid I ever have an emergency, we will have no choice but to barge into the ladies’ bathroom!  Many caregivers of people with disabilities have the same problem with taking the person they are caring for to the bathroom in public if they are of the opposite gender.

“Anyone, who is caring for a seriously impaired person, who is his/her opposite gender, will also experience hardship from the passage and enforcement of segregated bathroom laws. I often think, when some nasty stranger feels compelled to judge, snark at me, or yell at my son, isn’t our life complicated enough?  Perhaps we should instead get some understanding and help instead of dismissal and condemnation.

I’d say the same for what the vast majority of transgender people have endured their entire lives – the dismissal and cruel attacks. What ever happened to live and let live? Must so many people who are different dread something as fundamental as going to pee in a public restroom? Is it more a sign of the degradation of society, that we make exceptions to the rules of segregated restrooms for some people who are different or differently abled, or is the true degradation that the bigotry of some against “other” is so pervasive that we’re reduced now to making laws about where people urinate?

It is crucial to understand that passing strict gender segregation laws not only demeans and endangers our transgender brothers and sisters, but also puts severely disabled people with caretakers of the opposite gender in extreme danger in many cases.

It’s for the safety of people with disabilities and transgender men and women, who are much more likely to face danger when they walk into a restroom which doesn’t seem to visually correspond with their gender, that these laws must not pass. I see this as a life or death issue, not a punchline, not a “distraction issue.” I hope someone doesn’t have to get harmed, assaulted, or killed before the rest of society wakes up to what can happen if these laws are passed and enforced.

It’s not just federal law that public facilities must accommodate my son’s needs, it is also the moral thing to do” (Tidd, 2016, http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/04/how-do-the-new-new-bathroom-laws-affect-kids-with-special-needs/).

I truly believe that family bathrooms are necessary for a variety of people.  They simplify things for parents with children of the opposite sex who don’t want their children to go alone, people with disabilities that need help, transgender people, and people who don’t like going in a multi person bathroom.  What is the harm in accommodating everyone??

Jesus said to love one another. I wish more Christians would just love. It’s a major reason why my husband and I don’t call ourselves “Christians” anymore. Love. Reject sin but love because we’re failing at showing The Light to a very dark world.

We are also supposed to be humble and consider others as more important than ourselves.

Romans 12:3-8 (NASB):
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

May we truly follow Jesus’s example when it comes to dealing with people.  After all, Jesus forgave and loved the Samaritan woman at the well!

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?   You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”  He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:7-26, NASB).

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References:

Bianco, M.  (2015).  Statistics Show Exactly How Many Times Trans People Have Attacked You in Bathrooms.  https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.ZHkggaq6X

Flaherty, L.  (2014).  Do you know the difference between transexual, transgender and transvestite?   http://campus.ie/surviving-college/personal/do-you-know-difference-between-transexual-transgender-and-transvestite

Glicksman, E.  (2013).  Transgender today.  American Psychological Association.  April 2013, Vol 44, No. 4  Print version: page 36. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/transgender.aspx

Human Rights Campaign. (2016).  The Lies and Dangers of Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.  http://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy

Kitschmix.  (2016).  Lesbian Forcibly Removed from Women’s Bathroom by Police.  

Lambrese, J.  (2010).  Suppression of Puberty in Transgender Children.  AMA Journal of Ethics.  August 2010, Volume 12, Number 8: 645-649.  http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2010/08/jdsc1-1008.html

McHugh, P.  (2015).  Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme.  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/06/15145/

National Center for Victims of Crime.  (2012).  Child Sexual Abuse Statistics.  https://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

Rajkumar, R.  (2014).  Gender Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia: Neurodevelopmental Disorders with Common Causal Mechanisms?  Schizophrenia Research and Treatment.  Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 463757, 8 pages.  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/schizort/2014/463757

Russo, F.  (2016).  Is There Something Unique about the Transgender Brain?  Scientific American.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-something-unique-about-the-transgender-brain/

Sanghani, R  (2015).  Female paedophiles: Why women sexually abuse children.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11899484/Female-paedophiles-Why-women-sexually-abuse-children.html

Stafford, Z.  (2015).  Transgender homicide rate hits historic high in US, says new report.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/13/transgender-homicide-victims-us-has-hit-historic-high

Stoltzfus, D. (2011).  Written vs Living Word.  http://everythingisknowable.blogspot.com/2011/12/written-vs-living-word.html

Tidd, J.  (2016).  How do the new bathroom laws affect kids with special needs?   http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/04/how-do-the-new-new-bathroom-laws-affect-kids-with-special-needs/

Ungar, L.  (2015). Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/16/transgender-individuals-face-high-rates–suicide-attempts/31626633/).

The Prince Of Peace Versus The Prince Of Darkness

I’ve had many Christian pro-spankers say that I was doing the work of the “devil” after engaging in discussions about why spanking/hitting children is neither Biblical nor from God. When some of these people learn about my book, Gentle Firmness: Conveying the True Love of Jesus to Your Children Through His Example, they get even angrier and say that I am from the “evil one.”

Others have accused me of twisting God’s Word in order to fit my own beliefs about not inflicting pain on children in order to “discipline” them. They quote the same verses from Proverbs at me about using the rod to “discipline” children. They’re so certain that these verses must be taken literally despite the original Hebrew meanings showing that all of the rod verses that seem to advocate spanking/hitting children were never meant to be taken literally, that they quickly become accusatory and insulting. One must ask, “Who is really driving these people?”

It turns out that I am in awesome company when it comes to being accused of being from satan when it comes to teaching and promoting peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing.  Jesus Himself was accused of being from satan after healing a blind and mute man in Matthew 12:22-37.

Let’s look at that passage:

“Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.
If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.

You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:22-37, NASB).

Here Jesus did something awesome by healing a man and what did the people around Him do?  They questioned who in the world He was.  Then the Pharisees concluded that Jesus must be “satan.”

love how Jesus answered them by pointing out:

“And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’” (Matthew 12:25-28, NASB). 

What Jesus was saying was that satan cannot and would not drive out his own demon. Also, it is interesting that throughout this chapter whenever Jesus did something good and right but contradictory to the Law, the Pharisees and other teachers of the Law of Moses got angry and accused Jesus of doing the devil’s work. I find this interesting because there is no good in satan.

Yes, satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) because, after all, he was once an angel full of God’s light before he got proud and fell, but there is no good or light in satan. Satan comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus, on the other hand, comes to give life abundantly (John 10:10).

So, why would supposedly “God-loving Christians” accuse other Christians who are trying to teach Truth and peace regarding how God wants us to treat our children of doing satan’s work and/or of being heretical?  And why do they actually boast and laugh about hurting their children in Jesus’s name?

I believe the passage above has our answer. Let’s look at the end of that passage.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37, NASB).

As I discuss in great detail in my book, most Christian pro-spankers were “lovingly” spanked/hit by their parents, and thus, have the message literally ingrained in their brains that having been spanked/hit in Jesus’s Name was good and right. They have denied and repressed the physical and emotional pain of being hurt by their parents.

Therefore, as this passage points out, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit. We can force our children to behave exactly how we want them to behave, but this does not guarantee that they’ll have pure hearts and will bear good fruit. In fact, spanking/hitting children tends to make them angry and resentful. As Greven (1992) states:

“Anger is a child’s best (and often only) defense, for it arises out of a powerful sense of self, a self being violated and abused by painful blows and hurtful words. The child has been hurt on purpose (bolding for emphasis by author) by an adult in order to teach a lesson in discipline, but the child experiences this pain and reproach as an assault upon the self as well as upon the body. Often the result is not only anger but also hatred and a powerful desire for revenge, which often takes the form of imagined mutilation or murder of the person who inflicted the pain. These powerful emotions are permanently stored in unconscious memories, but sometimes people also remember them quite consciously, years after the events that provoked the feelings” (p. 124).

The devil is our accuser.  He is the one who puts us down and tries to get God to be mad at us.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down’” (Revelation 12:10, NASB).

So when angry “Christian” pro-spankers hurl accusations at those who are trying to help them see and understand God’s amazing love for all of us, especially children, God’s love does not shine through them. Only anger and hate comes through. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to love and bless each other and leave revenge up to God.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21, NASB).

Yes, we are to gently correct each other of sin according to Galatians 6:1-2, but the key word is gently, because accusing people and inflicting pain on them only causes fear and defensiveness.  Jesus told it like it was with the Teachers of the Law, but He was always gentle.  And no, He did not hit anyone with the whip He made to drive everyone out of the Temple. He loved people.

He still loves us and uses His gentle love to bring us to Him so that we may be saved.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NASB).

Christ does not hurt, accuse, insult, or punish us to make us come to Him. He offers love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to us. He is the Prince of Peace.

However, satan hurts, accuses, insults, steals, kills, and destroys.  Do you really think satan wants us to discipline (teach and guide) our children in a graceful manner without inflicting pain?   Jesus created children.  He knows how vulnerable the young brain is and how harmful spanking/hitting is to that young, vulnerable brain. Why would the Prince of Peace who, despite being absolutely sinless, suffered and died for all of humanity’s sins call us to physically punish our children for their mistakes?

Out of our mouths come the things that are in our hearts.

I leave us with a beautiful passage that describes exactly who Jesus is.

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes” (Isaiah 40:11, NASB).

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Source: http://20reasonsnottospank.blogspot.com

Reference:

Greven, P. (1992). Spare the child. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

The “Strong-Willed” Child

So many Christians view “strong-willed” children in a very negative light.  There’s a book by James Dobson entitled The Strong-Willed Child that I can’t stand. Dobson’s way of punishing these children include multiple spankings/hittings and other harsh punishments in order to break their wills. Equating love with pain has been proven to be damaging to children.

I’m well aware that Dobson claims all research proving spanking is “harmful” to children is somehow “biased.” As someone who has conducted my own scholarly research, I can assure you that strict guidelines are upheld. There are many more studies showing the harmful effects of spanking than the few small studies claiming “loving” spanking isn’t harmful. It makes me feel physically ill that many Christians use this horrible book on their children.

Yet, in the Bible, we see that God uses many strong-willed people to do His Will!

The most strong-willed person in the Bible that God used to do so much good for the kingdom of God, I believe, is the Apostle Paul.

We see in Acts 9:1-2, and even in the previous chapter, that we meet Paul first as Saul, a devout Hellenistic Jew and a Pharisee that enjoyed persecuting Christians. He approved of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 8:1. Needless to say, this Saul guy was one bad dude. And yet, God had a radical plan for Saul. In Acts 9, we see that as Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute even more Christians, Jesus got Saul’s attention in a big but non-painful way. Saul went blind. Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him in Acts 9:4. Jesus told Saul to meet a man in Damascus who would tell him what to do. Saul, blind, obeyed God and look what happened:

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ’Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again'” (Acts 9:17-19, NIV).

From this moment on, Saul, who became Paul, lived his life for God, fearlessly proclaiming the gospel to all surrounding nations despite numerous beatings, imprisonments, and shipwrecks. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote between thirteen and fourteen books of the New Testament—this is over half of the New Testament.

And anyone who is very familiar with the New Testament knows that Paul tells it like it is. He didn’t sugarcoat anything that God inspired him to write. He encouraged his fellow believers, but also rebuked and corrected them in his letters. Through Paul, God gained many believers into His kingdom.

God did not break Paul’s will. God molded Paul’s will into doing good instead of persecuting Christians. Had God broken Paul’s will, do you believe Paul would have clung to God through all the suffering he went through to share salvation through Jesus Christ?

Broken, compliant people are usually not strong people in that they find it very difficult to press against the tide. Strong-willed people have an easier time of questioning authority. They also have an easier time of pressing on when persecution occurs.

“We are struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, NASB).

What I wish Christians would stop doing is viewing children as “strong-willed” and “manipulative.” And view them as intelligent, high spirited children who need much connection and guidance.

We should involve them in decisions about how the family needs to get things done.  We also need to provide them with appropriate alternatives for limits. For example, “You may not go upstairs right now but you can help with making dinner.” Or “Yes, you may go upstairs after I finish vacuuming.  I need you to pick up that toy.”

Having high spirited children can be very challenging.  But they can be disciplined without punishment. These children need to be heard. They need some control over their environment. They need lots of connection with us. They also need to have a great deal of consistency. By taking the time to truly work with high spirited children, we can channel that strong will into doing good and, ultimately, God’s Will.

I highly recommend the book, Raising Your Spirited Child.

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Original image source: http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl34s.htm

Physical “Discipline” Is NOT Biblical Nor A Part Of The “Rod” Verses

Once again I have seen another Christian leader try to claim that physical “discipline” (I hate when people try to call corporal punishment “physical discipline” as hitting a child is NOT “discipline,” it is punishment!) is a part of the “rod” verses of Proverbs.  They just do not understand that the Hebrew meaning of the “rod” verses do not include the use of corporal punishment with children.

If they did, God would have provided more instructions on how, when, why, and at what age children should be spanked/hit.

I mean, inflicting pain on a child is serious business.  Why would God leave it up to a bunch of sinful adults to figure out how to use corporal punishment?  And these sinful adults don’t even agree on what is “abuse.”  Here are quotes from the popular “Christian” advocates of spanking:

The child may be more strong-willed than the parent, and they both know it. If he can outlast a temporary onslaught, he has won a major battle, eliminating punishment in the parent’s repertoire. Even though Mom spanks him, he wins the battle by defying her again. The solution to this situation is obvious: outlast him; win, even if it takes a repeated measure” (Dobson, 1970, p. 45).

For example, a dime sized bruise on the buttocks of a fair-skinned child may or may not indicate an abusive situation. It all depends. In an otherwise secure and loving home, that bruise may have no greater psychological impact than a skinned knee or a stubbed toe. Again the issue in not the small abrasion; it is the meaning behind it” (Dobson, 1996, p. 25).

After you have spanked, take the child up on your lap and hug him, telling him how much you love him, how much it grieves you to spank him, and how you hope that it will not be necessary again. Then if he is still not restored, you are to check your own spirit to see if you have handled him roughly… [or] brought unholy anger on this holy mission, and if you have, seek forgiveness from God. If your child is still angry, it’s time for another round, ‘Daddy has spanked you, but you are not sweet enough yet. We are going to have to go back upstairs for another spanking'” (Tripp, 1995, p. 149).

“On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again” (Pearl, 1994, p. 80).

It is very scary to me that they say different things, but yet, advocate harsh, “loving” spankings.  Also, dark skinned children must suffer much more pain than a lighter skinned child as bruises don’t show up as quickly on dark skin.

But since there is yet another “Christian” leader teaching parents to spank/hit their children in order to “Bibically discipline” them, I will explore the topic once again. I cover all of this in my book, Gentle Firmness.  

This time we’ll focus on Proverbs 22:15 (NASB) which states:

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

We know that the Hebrew meaning for “rod” is Shebet and that the rod was a large stick with spikes on the end of it.  The shepherds never used it to hit the sheep.  Shebet is also used in the Bible as a symbol of authority.

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The Biblical rod. Source: http://20reasonsnottospank.blogspot.com

The problem most Christians have with this verse as well as the other “rod” verses that seem to advocate using corporal punishment with children is that the Hebrew word for “discipline” which is Muwcar includes “chastisement” in the definition.

What confuses most pro-spanking Christians is that the English definition for chastisement includes physical punishment.  However, it means verbal correction as well.

When looking at the dictionary, there are many synonyms for chastise.

Let’s look at some of them: “Rebuke, Lecture, Scold, Reprimand, Bawl Out, Dress Down, and Lecture.”  Yes, it can mean physical punishment, but it also means many other things!

Given the Biblical context in which chastise is being used here in Proverbs, we are walking on very shaky ground if we choose to interpret it as a command to spank our children. God rebukes us all the time. No, it’s not pleasant, but it’s not in a harsh tone and He immediately forgives us when we repent. And yes, if we choose to do our own thing against His will, He will allow, not inflict, pain into our lives.  It’s called natural consequences.

Another issue with insisting on punishing and spanking/hitting our children and using the Bible to justify it is that Jesus suffered and died for ALL of our sins!  How come adults can just pray for forgiveness and they are forgiven?  But our children who are just learning don’t get grace and forgiveness until they “pay” for their “sins.”  How is this Biblical or Christ-like?

Finally, sadly, some Christians do follow this verse to a “t” and spank their children for being children. Yet, when we really study this and other verses that seem to advocate corporal punishment with children, we see that there is no reference to spanking/hitting children.  It is also important to understand child development as God created children to think and behave the way that they do. To constantly hit them for being “unwise” by adult standards is neither Biblical nor fair. And you can’t beat foolishness out of children any more than you can beat the devil out of them.

Jesus has raised children’s status and has called us to be like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, Jesus had plenty of time to teach about children and NEVER said anything about spanking/hitting them!

We are to drive out folly by teaching, guiding, protecting, and comforting our children. To do anything other than that, especially to take the above verse literally, would be to teach children that no matter what they do, they will never be able to measure up. Does this sound like the way to raise children up in the Lord?

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References (I don’t recommend any of these):

Dobson, J. (1970). Dare to Discipline. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Dobson, J. (1996). The New Dare to Discipline. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Pearl, M. (1994). To Train Up A Child. Pleasantville, TN: No Greater Joy Ministries.

Tripp, T. (1995). Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press.

 

God Came To Earth As A Human Baby!

As Christmas draws near, I always enjoy thinking about how God chose to come to Earth as Baby Jesus.

God coming down as a BABY and doing what all human babies do really says a lot about how He truly feels about children.  He could’ve come as a man, but He chose to be a BABY.

Our Almighty God was born the same way as all babies are, and nursed from His mother’s breasts!  He was like all children.   I believe Jesus cried as a baby and screamed as a toddler because these are developmental behaviors. Acting one’s age is not sinful when one is a young child.  Jesus was 100% human as well as 100% God.  He had to communicate His needs the same way all babies and children must.

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Of course, Jesus was sinless, so when He became an adolescent Who could act maliciously, He didn’t.  Yet, God, the Father, didn’t send Jesus out to the desert to be tempted by satan until He was an adult.

Whatever you believe about the “sinful nature” of children, this tells me that God, the Father, knew that Jesus’s brain needed to mature in growth and The Word before He could withstand the evil one.

Much of what most Christians deem “sinful” in children is simply immature brains that cannot control impulses. It is not sin until the child truly grasps sin. How dare we call children “sinful” when God, the Father, waited for His Son to fully mature before sending Him into the desert.

I find this all truly amazing!  I think we, as Christians/Christ-followers, really need to reflect more on things such as this as it gives us greater insight into the true character of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It would make no sense if He really wanted us to leave infants to cry-it-out and/or to spank/hit our children!   After all, He was a Child!

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Encouragement For Dealing With Difficult People

Philippians 1:27-29 (NASB):
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, …” 

This was today’s devotional on Biblica.com.  It really encouraged my husband and me as we’ve been dealing with some difficult people lately.

Anyone practicing and advocating gentle parenting usually end up running into those who just don’t understand why we are so passionate about treating children with respect. We tend to get put down and berated for not spanking/hitting or otherwise punishing our children.

It can get quite discouraging.  And lately, especially on Facebook, there seems to be more arguing and dissention over everything!  Standing for Biblical Truths seems to be highly frowned upon nowadays. 

Thankfully, we can take courage in the above Scripture. We don’t have to be alarmed by our opponents (easier said than done. Trust me, I know!). Jesus has been right where we are. He had to even walk away and shake the dust off His feet when people would ignore and insult Him. Then on the Cross He put up with horrific treatment.

I often mess up when dealing with difficult people. It’s hard to be insulted and put down for teaching gentleness and love for children. But Jesus gives me grace when I fail. He’ll do the same for you.

And when we show kindness to difficult people, we show them the Gospel. And we teach our children how to be kind to everyone while exercising boundaries when needed.  Since this is the Christmas season, may we share uplifting things with each other in order to stop some of the hate and dissention in the world.

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Why We Need To Change Our Perceptions

We all have different ways of perceiving people and life events. Some of our perceptions are accurate and factual. Others are based on preconceived notions and experiences. Some perceptions are good. Some are quite negative and downright harmful.

For example, a while back I watched a show where they researched how different people perceived certain groups of people.  I don’t remember all four groups that the majority of people put others into based on how they perceive them.  But, one group stood out to me as it hit close to home.

That group was called, “not dangerous, incompetent.”

Guess who was put into this group.

The disabled and the elderly.  Had children been a part of this research, I’m sure children also would have been placed into the group as well since the majority tends to perceived children as incompetent.

What is sad is I am severely physically disabled due to my cerebral palsy, and yet, I have a Master’s Degree.  Every day I must deal with people that perceive me as incompetent.  This is why I’m working on getting my first children’s book published to change the negative and inaccurate perceptions of having a disability.

The elderly are very competent!  They have years of wisdom even if their bodies won’t allow them to physically accomplish that which they once could.

And finally, children are extremely competent!  They are capable of so much more than we give them credit.  Yet, we never appreciate their abilities, but punish them for not being adults.

Thankfully, Jesus never liked how society perceived and viewed children.  He gives us a high command when it comes to children.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
I believe that our society as a whole despises children. Children are the least respected people of our society.

They are murdered before they are born.

They are left to cry alone.

They are spanked/hit and publicly shamed.

People argue about their “right” to treat them however they want.

They are called horrible names.

The saddest thing about this is it’s Christians promoting much of this. Yet, Jesus is the One who elevated children’s societal status.

The way we view children is how they will behave. And when Christians perceive and view children as “sinners” and “manipulative,” they react and punish what they perceive as “defiance” when the child simply is trying to communicate with us.  That’s why Dobson’s (and others like him) view is so dangerous.   Not only does he call children horrible, degrading names in his books, but he sets up an adversarial parent-child relationship.

Interestingly, God calls children blessings in Psalm 127:3. I view children as little people in need of help, guidance, and discipline (teaching). When the focus is on cooperation instead of control, children cooperate. I’ve worked with some pretty difficult children and was able to get them to cooperate through positive discipline strategies such as modeling, child-proofing, validating feelings, fulfilling the child’s physical and emotional needs, setting realistic limits and boundaries, helping children comply, giving choices, and using natural and logical consequences with children. Children do better when we perceive and view them as God does.

We need to change our perceptions of all people–young and old, disabled, or any other differences.  We need to do our best to base our perception on fact.  Smaller humans are competent!

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Withhold Use Of “The Rod” On Your Children To Truly Love Them

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24, NASB).

Many Christians misinterpret this verse to mean that they must spank/hit their children if they truly love them.  But, as with all of the “rod” verses in the book of Proverbs, this was never intended to be taken literally.  Let’s examine a few key points regarding why this verse means to teach and guide rather than to spank/hit children.

  1.  Shepherds never hit their sheep. Nor did they break their sheep’s legs when the sheep wandered away. Rather, shepherds used their rods to protect their sheep. If you injured a sheep and had to carry it around, that sheep as well as the entire herd, would be more vulnerable to predators. Using the rod against the predator protected the sheep.  Therefore, we are to use the rod to protect our children against our number one predator: satan!
  2. This leads us to the Hebrew word for “rod,” which is Shebet.  Yes, it was a big, heavy stick that was used in the Bible to strike people. But, the only people it was used to strike were adults in the Bible.  Not once was a child ever hit with the rod in the Bible. It would have killed the child.  Shebet is also symbolic of authority. It makes more sense that we are to use our authority to teach and guide children.
  3. Love doesn’t hurt. Or at least it shouldn’t!  God came down as Jesus to take the horrible punishment for all of humanity’s sins!  We now live in the age of grace!  Not once did Jesus mention using corporal punishment with children.  Yes, we are to discipline them as this verse clearly states. But inflicting physical pain does not constitute Biblical discipline.
  4. This is not a mandate from God to spank children in order to show love to them. Love and this type of pain never go together. What this is saying is that parents who love their children will discipline (teach and guide) children in a manner that will enable the children to thrive and will ultimately lead them to Christ. Spanking and permissive parenting do the exact opposite of what this verse is saying. Being hit or not being disciplined at all does not make children feel loved by their parents. Hurting children intentionally never accurately shows love for them. God does not intentionally hurt us to show His love for us as God is love. The Bible is also quite clear on what love is and is not.
  5. Interestingly, many use the saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” to try and summarize the above Proverb.  However, it is not in the Bible and comes from a seventeenth century poem dealing with sex.

Here is what the Bible tells us love is:

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NASB).

It is quite obvious that according to the Bible as a whole, spanking/hitting does not fit into the definition of love.  Discipline your children to love them.  Use the rod against the enemy, not the children!

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Hearing vs Doing The Word

James 1:23-25 (NASB);
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

How many times have we all read God’s Word and then turned around and have done the exact opposite?  I know I have. God gently convicts me when I do this.

We all mess up. Only God is perfect. But, I feel like many Christians don’t even try to be doers of the Word because instead of loving others, including children, they are often harsh, judgmental, and condemning. Yet, the Bible says there is no longer condemnation in Christ.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s ok to condemn sin. But it is not ok to condemn sinners as we are all sinners. 

I believe children get condemned the most by many Christian sects. They insist we must spank/hit children and control them. Yet, the Bible says to treat everyone with gentleness.  This includes our children.

Colossians 3:12-15:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Ephesians 4:2:
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”

Galatians 6:1-2:

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

When we fail to extend mercy, love, and gentleness to others, including our children, we become hearers of the Word. To spank/hit, punish, and treat children harshly is forgetting the beautiful Gospel message because Jesus taught, corrected, and discipled His disciples and others.  He never hit anyone. No, not even when He cracked His whip in the temple. 

We need to be doers of God’s Holy Word. We need to be gentle with everyone. Treating children gently and working with them is one of the best ways we can be doers instead of merely hearers of the Word.

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Victory Is Through Jesus, NOT Through Law And Punishment!

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

If sin is the law, then our “law” for children is sin; demands thrust upon them they cannot possibly meet due to their current understanding and level of development.

To further clarify, expecting toddlers to stay away from breakables and punishing toddlers when they don’t “obey” us is thrusting the “law” on them, thus, making them deal with sin before they can even understand what sin truly is, and adding feelings of anger, hurt, and confusion to them by punishing them is sin.

Putting the breakables away takes the “law” away, therefore, removing the power of sin. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Also, expecting first time obedience of children is thrusting the “law” on them as God does not even expect first time obedience of us!  First time obedience is neither biblical nor developmentally appropriate. The young brain takes longer to process stimuli. Young children just process everything much, much differently than we do. It takes a lot of brain damage from physical punishment to finally get children to obey immediately. Not good. They are in constant fight or flight mode when people use physical punishment to get first time obedience. Fear and pain hinder brain development and learning.

God created children to be who they are. He created our brains. So, no children should never be expected to obey immediately all the time. Now, if there is an emergency or a good reason for immediate cooperation (I really dislike using obedience within the parent-child relationship because we’re not God and are mere sinners. Cooperation should be our aim within the parent-child relationship.), then we need to tell the child why and be prepared to help the child cooperate.

Let’s do our best not to thrust sin onto our children before they are truly capable of resisting it. Let us get the Word of God into their hearts instead! After all, it’s Jesus who gives all of us victory over our sin, not punishment.

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