I spoke with a mum recently about how tough her hubby is on the kids. The dad sets a high standard that tests the hearts of the children.
I pointed out to her that this is a very good thing for her son and daughter, even if it is not pleasant. I drew her attention to some wisdom from Solomon.
Proverbs 4:23 warns us to carefully guard our heart because the “issues of life” come from it.
“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
There is a powerful truth packed into that short verse. I didn’t discover it, but someone pointed it out to me years ago. Simply put, what comes out of our heart determines what is a real “issue” in our life. It doesn’t just reveal the issue, it IS the issue. Our issues are not our external circumstances or what we go through, but what comes out of us in response.
Issues are internal not external.
She Has Issues
We recognise that people have “issues” in their life and we even say so. We say: “He has real issues with his job!” “Does anyone have issues with that?”
And that’s Biblical. The issue is not the challenge, but the reaction from within. All of our issues are actually “heart issues”. To repeat myself, “issues are internal not external”.
So, for example, consider a family where the father is a drunk. Each of the three kids has a drunken dad, but maybe only one of them will have an “issue” with that.
Two of the kids may live normal lives, unaffected by the dad’s drinking. But the other child ends up with a chip on his shoulder, angry at the world because he had a lousy dad.
Do you see then, that it is the REACTION that creates the issue? The drunken dad is not an issue or all three kids would have had the same issue. The drunken dad is a problem and a challenge, but doesn’t have to become an “issue”.
If we blame others for our wrong attitudes we do not uncover the real “issues” of our life. Most people shift the blame onto the circumstances, like blaming a drunken father for their problems.
But pressure and challenges bring our own junk to the surface, so we can get rid of our own issues. Challenges uncover our issues so we can resolve them.
If we have fear we can deal with fear. If we have anger, resentment, unforgiveness, guilt or other issues inside us, then pressure brings them to the surface so we can recognise them and then find God’s grace to resolve them.
Mum and Kids
Using the wisdom of Solomon, I was able to encourage the mum that her son and daughter will be much stronger and more reliable people in years to come, because their dad puts challenges on them that will make them strong.
If she is a wise mum she will guide each child to deal with the “issues” that come up in their heart, so they work through things in readiness for the bigger challenges of the years ahead.
Oh, and note that many adults today have missed out on that kind of constructive parenting. The idea of leaving a child to himself, to make his own choices and work through things his own way was the popular idea of parenting for the parents of Baby Boomers. So, many of today’s adults and youth are weakened by not having worked through their “issues” with the help of wise parenting skills.
Fraud and Treason
As I take my stand against Fraud and Treason it is interesting to see the “issues” people have with that. While most people are overwhelmingly supportive there are people who have responded irrationally and with venom. They are aroused and offended.
Whatever it is that agitates them it is not what I am doing. Others applaud and support my stand against evil. So those who mutter, criticise or similarly react are revealing that they have “issues”. As they recognise and deal with those issues they will be better people for it.
And, of course, as I do something I’ve never done before and face challenges I have never faced before that surfaces my issues as well. I have been able to pray through and resolve things that have come to the surface under the pressure of taking on evil.
Someone said “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, but it is meant to get better and better, if only we will find God’s grace for the “issues” in our life – which are in reality the issues of our own hearts.