Saturday, December 18, 2010

REVERT (verb) 1:To go back to a previous state;

This week, the kids and I ran into our former pastor at Walmart.  No, not THAT former pastor... but the one who replaced him.  It was amazing how I instantly reverted back to the person I was when I was a member of his church.  As soon as he saw us, he walked over and hugged me.  I hugged him back.  I didn't even think twice about it.  After talking to him for a few minutes and then going our separate ways, my nephew said, "You should have told him that you don't hug anymore."

Good point.  Too bad the fact that I no longer hug non-related men didn't even cross my mind until he said that.

As I thought about it later, it reminded me of something that happened with my niece almost a year ago.  (Some background:  My son went to the same Christian school from Kindergarten until graduation.  My niece and nephew went to public school until the year after my son graduated, and then they started attending his old school.  They were there for two years, and then went to a very small Baptist school for a semester, and have been home schooled ever since.)

Last winter, we went to their old school to watch my son in the yearly Alumni basketball game, where the alumni play against the current team.  We had been very unhappy with the person that my niece was when she attended that school, and so I was concerned about how things were going to go with us seeing her former friends/schoolmates.  At that point, they had been away from that school and those friends for nine months.  I remember thinking that nine months is the amount of time that it takes to get a new life (pregnancy), and hoping that it was also a sufficient amount of time for their "new life" to have changed them.

It was amazing how quickly she reverted back to that old person.  After the game was over, we were standing in the middle of the court talking to my son and his friends, and some girls came over to talk to her.  She INSTANTLY got "the look" on her face.  The best description that comes to mind is "haughty".  When she was in public school and in the first Christian school, she had this LOOK that would always be on her face whenever she was with her friends or being corrected by an adult.

It was absolutely amazing to see how quickly that look popped onto her face.  It was instantaneous.  But the good news is that she and I had talked about the whole issue ahead of time, and she seemed to have been putting a lot of thought into not wanting to fall back into her old ways... and so when we were at the game and I saw "the look", I said "Put your eyebrows down" and she said "Sorry" and changed her expression.  I cannot begin to tell you what a huge amount of growth in maturity that was for her!  In all the years that she would have that look on her face, she would always deny knowing what I was talking about when I would correct her for it.  So this really felt like a huge victory.  :)

I love it when God shows me deeper truths through seemingly small real-life examples.  The example of K last year at the basketball game, and me the other day at Walmart, have taught me a few lessons.  (If you can think of any others, please comment!)

  • "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33)  In this verse, "communications" means "company" or "companions."  I'm not necessarily suggesting that none of K's friends from her former school were saved, but I am suggesting that every single one of them acted like the world, and acted absolutely no different than how you would expect public school kids to act.  And I'm certainly not suggesting that my former pastor is evil company.  He loves the Lord very much and it shows.  And if I had told him that I no longer hug non-related men, I have NO doubt that he would have respected that. But what I am suggesting is that if a companion consistently causes me to lower my standards, that is a companion that I probably should not be spending much time with.
  • But really, the blame comes down to ourselves.  Those friends did not force K to act in a certain way for two years, and to stumble when seeing them after nine months of being apart.  My former pastor did not force me to hug him.  This reminds me of an example I've heard before.  When someone squeezes a ketchup bottle, ketchup comes out.  The reason that the ketchup is coming out is because the ketchup was in the bottle to begin with!  Just like when peer pressure squeezes a child and rebellion comes out.  The rebellion couldn't have come out if it hadn't been there to begin with.  Or with anger.  If someone "causes me to lose my temper," did they really cause it? Hatefulness wouldn't come out of me if it weren't already there.  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  Matthew 12:34b
  • The two examples that I have given are very different. The example about my niece is an example of someone who was made aware of a persistent sin in her life, and was aware of the upcoming temptation.  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us... Hebrews 12:1a.  She knew ahead of time that this would be an issue, and so she had time to pray and think about it ahead of time, and to make a plan.  (Her plan of attack was to sit with us and try not to talk to anyone, and she did a pretty good job of it!) I had been praying about it and had asked a couple of others to be praying about it.  Things went pretty well, but even when they didn't go well, she was willing to change and was easily corrected.    
  • In the other example, I was pretty much blindsided.  I didn't know it was coming, and I wasn't prepared for it. This is my own fault!  I need to be aware of my standards to the point of them being as a second nature to me.  I wouldn't "forget" that I don't wear pants, and "accidentally" buy a pair of them!  So I'm not sure why I would forget about the hugging issue.  I suppose it's because the dressing issue is an every day issue, and the hugging is not.  But regardless, it has taught me that I need to be more aware of what I believe, and more mindful of what standards I have chosen to follow.


Bridget said...

Excellent post Vikki! I love the changes I have seen in the kids since first starting at PIBC. They have both grown so much. I think it would have been hard to stop a hug in the circumstances you were in. If it is not something you have thought out beforehand then it is almost impossible! Now is the time to work out how you will handle this in the future! Recently, I thought about what age we stop hugging our boys at church and decided Garrett is more grown up now and a handshake is more appropriate (even if I am ~Aunt~ Bridget).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and I have caught myself reverting as well. I will post some more comments after I chew on it a while.

Vikki said...

Bridget~ Thank you!! :) I agree that it would be hard to stop a hug in that circumstance BUT the thing that bothered me was that I didn't give it a thought whatsoever... until G called me out on it.

Vic~ I'll be very interested to read your comments after you've thought more about it!

Anonymous said...

Let's say Sunday night or Monday. I want to share some of my own lessons on this. It wouldn't hurt to remind me later...

Sherry said...

Great post Vikki! We had the same problem in the Spanish speaking church that my husband Pastored in N.C. Half the church were Mexicans, whose custom was to hug as a greeting and half the church were Cubans, whose custom was to kiss each others cheek as a greeting! So, we and the children had to prepare ourselves ahead of time to remember to quickly put our hand out to shake as soon as anyone was coming or looking our way! :) It was awkward at first because they would pause and stare at our hands for a moment until they remembered that we only shake hands! Occationally, someone who just arrived in America and didn't understand yet, would shake our hands and then go ahead and try to hug or kiss our cheek. :)
This can be really tricky when your on the mission field and it's part of their culture and that's all they have ever known. You have to do a lot of praying that people will not be offended by what they see as our coldness. It's a difficult thing!
I loved all that you shared in this post! We are so proud of Kenzie and Garret and all the growth we have seen and you have shared about them, they are both so sweet! Your family is such a blessing to us! Miss you guys! We hope to all be well SOMEDAY and see you all again!

Anonymous said...

Well the comments that were going through my head actually became my sermon for Sunday night. I plan to expand it and rework it into a blog post, though.