Tattling On Myself

Working with kids and doing my best to help train them to make wise decisions, I end up tattling on myself quite often. When they loose their temper and take out their pain on those around them, after the consequences have been delved out and they have calmed down, we talk about the proper response when we are upset. I share with them when I lost my temper and regretted it but then when how different is is when I handle things properly.

They know I struggle with being nice when I am tired or hungry also. When I overreact to things they do, I apologize for not setting a good example. “Everyone makes mistakes” is a common theme for my daily life. In that though, it’s not an excuse. I am a big proponent of knowing why we do the things we do, but that doesn’t give us a license to behave badly. On the contrary, it can be key to helping us make better decisions in the future. This morning I was reading Genesis 26:1-11 where this guy named Isaac is in a new town with his wife Rebekah but didn’t let anyone know it was his wife. He was scared they would try and kill him for her so instead of facing the unknown, he lies about who she is. This has always been a bizarre lie to me. They were in fact cousins, but not brother and sister. But the interesting thing about his lie is that his father told the same one many years ago about His wife, who was in fact his half-sister. (It was a very different culture back then so this was not so uncommon. But that’s another topic for another day.) In fact, Abraham, Isaac’s father, lies about his wife being his sister, not once, but twice. The first time was when he was in Egypt . Abraham is so scared of Pharaoh that he allows him to take his wife into his harem. Yes, you heard me right. Abraham literally allows another man to have his wife. But God protected Sarah in this by sending down some sickness to get Pharaoh’s attention and stops it before he sleeps with her, but think about how that must have felt for Sarah. I can’t imagine the distrust that breeds or how painful that would have been. 

And if that isn’t bad enough, Abraham does it again when he visiting a place called Gerar. The king he lies to is King Abimelech. Interestingly enough it is 60 or so years later that Isaac finds himself in Gerar lying about the identity of his wife… to King Abimelech. Whether or not this is the same man or his son, is unclear from the ancient texts. But what is clear is that Isaac followed in his father’s lying footsteps. And this morning as I was reading, I wondered if Abraham had told his son about his past sin of lying about his wife’s identity? Would Abraham have been too embarrassed to tell his son that he once was going to let the most powerful king sleep with his mother? Would he have been too proud to tell this; that he not only once, but twice was going to let another man be with his wife? Or was he in awe of God’s protection and told his son how God provided a way despite his shortcomings. I imagine it would have fit nicely into the recount of when God provided a sacrifice to take the place of Issac when he was a boy. So what was Issac thinking when he lied about his wife being his sister? He knew that in this culture another man could have easily taken her because women were no more than property to be exchanged. Was he confident in God’s grace and protection? Did he haughty assume there would be a way out? Or was he so caught in his fear that he was begging God to undo the damage he had gotten them into? Was he broken and repentant of this lie? Was Isaac even aware that his father had done the same thing many years before? One thing I pray I do well is warn the five kids I get to work with of the pitfalls that I have fallen in to. Being organizationally challenged and never really knowing how to stay organized until I was well into adulthood, we talk about the "how’s to" of keeping things in order on a regular basis. Also, having lived a very unhealthy lifestyle until right before I turned 30, we talk about nutrition and what is good and why we avoid chemicals and fake sugar (high fructose corn syrup) in the treats we buy. I mean I couldn’t do the monkey bars until I was 38 and wasted my youth not being healthy. And when it comes to how we handle things when we are mad or hurt, I have so many regrets for the countless times I have unleashed my rage and vicious words on those around me. So I share these stories with the kids in my life when we talk about how to handle ourselves when the anger is welling up. I do not want them to have the same regrets as I do. I love where I am in life and I love who this journey has made me, but man, too often I took the hard way to get here. If I can pass on wisdom to the ones coming behind me, then I will tattle on myself as much as is takes.

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