19 October 2008

He almost got away with it!

Last night was unique for my family. Usually when it’s a family member’s birthday, we have a small party in the evening. We cut the cake, bring out the confectionaries and sit around our dinning table. Each individual gets to ask the birthday man, woman boy or girl any question in the world and it must be answered! After that is done, the birthday man, woman, boy or girl is given the opportunity to tell each family member, anything that is upon their heart to do with the particular person, be it advise, rebuke, praise etc. Dad says it’s the only time we [the children] get to tell “dad and mom” whatever we want and be able to get away with it!

Anyway, my brother and I have birthdays under 3 weeks apart. None us had any evening party but last night we gathered in the sitting room to perform the “question and answer ritual”.

Actually we [the kids] were busy watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” when dad interrupted the movie. Well we all gathered round and got started. I was first as my birthday came before my brother’s. My interest is not what happened during that session but what happened afterwards. When we were done my Dad asked us to get our bibles so we could look at something.

About a month and a half ago my cousin got expelled from school for drinking, bless his heart. Two of my cousins live with us but are only home 3 months a year because they are in boarding school. Well, they are in their final year and were returning to school after their final break before they finished high school when one of them got expelled after arriving drunk (or rather arriving, having drunk alcohol) at school on his first day after holiday. Well, he came right back home.

Its worth mentioning here that my dad is a very calm man. You could come home from killing someone and he won’t pounce on you but greet you almost as though nothing happened [hyperbole (!)]. Well that’s how he greeted my cousin, with a smile on his face, of course telling my mischievous cousin that “they needed to have a chat”.

Dad’s an extremely busy man and did not have that “chat” with my cousin. It was beginning to look like he was going to get away with it. Well, didn’t he get the shock of his life last night when dad not only addressed the issue but addressed it quite strongly, for lack of a better word!

My cousin leaves for his boarding school to write his final exams (as that is where he is registered) tomorrow, Monday.

After we got our bibles that eventful evening, dad asked us to turn to Matthew 5:44.

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" - Jesus
of Nazareth, as recorded in Matthew 5:44 (NIV translation)

We discussed the passage a while, then dad asked, “Why is it important for Christians to love their enemies?”

Dad wanted a particular answer and after a while it was crystal clear. If Christians do not love their enemies they will misrepresent their Father who is in heaven and will cause the world to mock God.

Then came the punch line! Dad used this same analogy in the home setup. He said that when we as children of the home go out of the house to school or whatever we are perceived as reflections of our parents. Therefore if we carry ourselves in any way, whether positive or negative, people will say “So this is the way this child’s parents have brought him/her up.” Therefore, if my parents have brought me up with Christian values and I go get myself drunk on the first day of school, I a misrepresenting my parents.

Dad went further to illustrate how that my cousin had misrepresented dad and mom. It was really embarrassing for him, he must have wanted to sink 6 feet underground but I think it was well worth it, especially if the point was driven home. We love him and care for him too much to see him wind down the spiral of alcoholism and drunkeness. We will do everything in our power to prevent it!

Dad said in closing that it is not easy to represent parents correctly as children or God correctly as Christians, but we should be driven by gratitude for our parents and for God.

In the case of our parents, they have clothed, fed, educated, loved, cared and served us each and everyday of our lives, surely the least we can do is not make them the subject of mockery by misrepresenting them.

In the case of the Christian, God has chosen, called, justified, adopted, set free, transformed, imparted peace, joy and love and redeemed. The list is endless! Surely the least we can do is not make him the subject of mockery by misrepresenting him.

It was quite an evening that Saturday, the 18 of October, 2008.