Jehovah’s Witnesses And The Bruce Lee Moment

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The Bruce Lee Moment is the moment when you defeat someone and look cool doing it. It’s more than just beating an opponent. It’s stealing that opponent’s soul. Crushing their spirit. Tasting the blood from the wound that they gave you, making a crazy screaming noise and jumping 6 feet in the air to deliver the final blow. If photographers are present, they take pictures of Bruce Lee Moments and turn them into posters and t-shirts.

I’ve never had a Bruce Lee Moment.

Until last Friday.

I was surprised to see the two ladies standing in my driveway. Sort of. Lately, pretty much every belief system on the planet has sent its representatives to my driveway. But seeing as how they never call first, I’m still surprised when they stop by.

The two ladies were very nice and well-dressed. They wanted to tell me about Jesus. Actually, they just wanted to give me something about Jesus. It was one of those flyers the Jehovah’s Witnesses always give out. You know what I’m talking about. The one where Jesus looks like one of the Allman Brothers.

After they handed me the brochure they started to walk off. I stopped them with a question.

“Tell me about Jesus.”

And so they did.

I had more questions.

“Do you worship Jesus?”

They assured me that they did. They loved to worship Jesus. They wanted everyone to worship Jesus.

Then came my next question.

“Is Jesus God?”

They assured me that he was not. Jesus was a higher being. He was an angel. He’s good. But he’s not God.

Here comes my Bruce Lee Moment.

“If Jesus isn’t God, what are you doing worshiping him? Isn’t that idolatry.”

They had nothing to say.

Just when I started to jump up into the air and make that funny screaming noise, just when I moved in for the soul-killing, spirit-crushing death blow, just when the imaginary photographers in my head were starting to take my picture and turn it into a poster, something happened.

Something stirred in my own spirit.

In a way that only he can, God quietly reminded me of my mission. It’s not to win a debate. It’s to lovingly tell the truth and make disciples.

So I never got to make that funny screaming sound. I set my nunchucks on the ground and just talked. But I tried to do so with a motive of love rather than a motive of winning or posterizing someone.

Our conversation went as expected. We went back and forth about the Trinity. They quoted John 14:28. I referenced Philippians 2 and Hebrews 1. Those passages always seem to come up in these types of conversations.

Finally, it was time for them to leave. I asked if I could pray with them and they said no. But that’s when things changed. They asked if they could come back. They said that they wanted to hear more of what I had to say about Jesus. And then they thanked me for not yelling at them. Basically, they thanked me for not having a Bruce Lee Moment at their expense.

It is impossible for Christians to make any kind of an impact without the truth. Trust me, plenty have tried by sacrificing what is right for what is socially acceptable or popular. What’s left is something that looks like salt but tastes like nothing (Matthew 5:13).

Others have a firm grasp on the truth but not such a good idea of what it means to love others. These are the ones who try to Adam and Steve homosexuals away from sin and who believe that holiness is best displayed through loudness, rudeness and Facebook rants WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS!!!!!!!

Instead, God calls his people to speak the truth but to do so in a loving way (Ephesians 4:15, 25-32).

When Christians abandon truth, no matter how loving we may appear or how winsome we may be, we really aren’t saying anything different from the rest of the world.

When we speak the truth without love, no one listens to us, no matter how loud we talk (1 Corinthians 13:1)

So I still haven’t had my Bruce Lee Moment. That’s okay. If I did have one that morning in my driveway, those ladies probably wouldn’t come back. No one wants to be Chuck Norris to your Bruce Lee (apologies to all the Chuck Norris fans out there).

But they do need to hear the truth.

And no matter what you have to say or how eloquently you say it, no one will listen if you’re not saying it in love.

To End All Race Wars

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There weren’t supposed to be anymore after this one. World War I. The war to end all wars. You’ve probably heard that phrase before. You’ve probably also heard the phrase, World War II. So much for ending all of the wars.

Racism was dead. That’s what we were told after the election of Barack Obama. Racism, just like war, is still with us. It seems that humans aren’t so good at putting an end to things, no matter how bad we may hate them.

Why? Why can’t we get rid of racism? The Klan isn’t what it used to be. Blacks and whites share the same water fountains and schools. We have a black president. But we still have a racism problem.

It’s a problem that can’t be fixed by a new government program. Remember, the great advances that took place under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s were not done in partnership with any government. They were done in resistance to government.

And the problem can’t be fixed by somehow morphing all varieties of cultures into one, as if that were even possible. Some of the most racist comments I’ve ever heard came from the mouths of white kids who loved hip-hop and had reputations for “acting black.”

Racism is a heart problem. It’s a worship problem. When Christ is not the Master of our hearts, we will quickly find something else to worship. Sometimes that something else is our race. The first and most frequent order of business for worshipers of race is the classic double standard. That’s what happens when people stop at nothing, even faulty logic, to protect their race god. It’s what happens when things like truth, love and grace take a backseat to skin color.

You live in a pretty nice neighborhood. The white guy who lives a few houses down from you doesn’t take care of his yard. It must be because he’s just too busy. The black family on the other side of you is just lazy when their yard gets out of control.

When the white guy’s dog growls at you and scares your kid, you mutter something under your breath about that guy needing to get a new dog. When the same scenario plays itself out with your black neighbors you say something to yourself about it being a cultural problem and “just how those people are.”

I grew up just south of Atlanta in Clayton County, Georgia. In the 1970s it was the place to be. In the 1980s, when I was living there, it was slowly becoming the place not to be. So people started leaving. Not all people. Mainly just the white people. Most of them were moving a county or two south, further away from the Atlanta sprawl. People called it the white flight.

A few months ago, Spike Lee lamented the fact that garbage is getting picked up and schools are improving and white mothers are pushing their kids in strollers down 125th street at 3 a.m. in his old New York neighborhood. When he goes on a profanity laden tirade to tell white hipsters to get out of his neighborhood, he’s just “pointing out basic facts of gentrification.”

World War II let us know that World War I wasn’t the war to end all wars. The ignorant comments we still hear from socially conscious filmmakers, super rich NBA franchise owners and our own muffled voices remind us that racism is still around.

I am the pastor of a church. Towaliga Baptist Church. There’s another church in my town with a similar name. Towaliga County Line Baptist Church. My church is full of white people. County Line is known as a “black church.”

Several weeks ago, two black men knocked on the door of my office. They were from out of town and trying to get to a funeral at County Line. As soon as I opened the door, one man chuckled. He wasn’t expecting to see a white guy in blue jeans. His words are stuck in my head.

“I think we’ve got the wrong church.”

Minutes later, I had the same conversation with two black women looking for the same funeral. This kind of thing happens to me a lot.

I really want it to quit. I’m tired of churches and neighborhoods being classified as black or white. I’d like to see us somehow manage to live on the same street and worship in the same building, realizing that we can be different from each other and still get along.

But it’s never going to happen if we don’t first address the double standards that keep showing up in our hearts. They can’t be corrected with a new government task force or silly clichés about love being color blind.

It will take a lot of grace, repentance and forgiveness. It will mean laying down our double standards and refusing to worship our race god. Even then, we won’t be perfect. But we can do our best to make things better while we wait for the return of our Master.

The One before whom people from every tribe, language and tongue will finally lay down their weapons and join in worship together.

The One who will end all wars.

Is Your Wife Raising Another Kid?

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Living in a house full of little boys is a lot of fun. Unless you happen to be married to one of them.

The childhood years keep getting extended. In some cultures, 12 was the age when boys became men. In today’s world, we are told that it’s somewhere around 32. That’s great if you’re in the business of selling video games and superhero bed sheets that fit king sized mattresses. But, like I said, it’s not so great if you’re a woman who happens to be married to one of those 32-year-old bundles of joy.

The man who really cares about his family will occasionally ask himself, and his wife, if he is being the man that his job calls for or if the only difference between him and his own kids is that he’s more advanced in potty training.

When you get home from work, does your wife feel a sense of relief that help has arrived or does she feel like the daycare just got one kid busier? Little boys expect to be waited on. A real man offers whatever services he can to his wife.

Does your family take a backseat to your dreams? Has your family basically become the single-parent variety while you pursue whatever other passion gets your heart beating faster? Little boys tend to think that the whole world revolves around whatever passion is driving them at the moment. A real man puts his family ahead of his hobbies.

When the dishes pile up and dinner is a little late, are you quick to criticize or do you jump in to serve? Little boys ask, “When is dinner going to be done?” Real men ask, “How can I help?”

Does your work end when you get home? Do you have a date every afternoon at 5 with your couch, your man cave or the outdoors? Have you convinced yourself that you’ve worked hard all day to earn some me time? Little boys shut it down for the day when one job is done. Real men know that no matter how hard their day was, when they get home their most important job is just beginning.

Have you bought into the lie that says, “If momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy?” Are you willing to be a leader and make tough decisions, even if those decisions are unpopular? Little boys usually shy away from conflict when it gets too thick. A real man makes the decision that’s best for his family, not his popularity or comfort level.

Does your wife exist only to meet your needs? Do you ever consider what you can do for her and how you can help her to grow? Every kid’s favorite word is mine. A real man knows that his wife really belongs to God and manages his relationship accordingly.

Is affection a way of life in your marriage or is it just something that you do when you want a little more from your wife in return? Is your wife losing the comparison game in your mind? The one that she may not even know that she is playing? The one that has her going against some Hollywood starlet, the new girl at work and the thousands of images downloaded on your computer? Have your kids ever seen you kiss or even hug your wife? Little boys never have much to do with real girls, preferring instead the fake ones in cartoons. A real man knows that there is no woman on earth better than the real woman he is married to.

At some point in our history, it became very uncool to be a real man. So men started going to salons for facials and therapists for better contact with their feminine side. It left us all confused. So in response, some overemphasized only certain aspects of manhood while completely ignoring the others. That left us with little boys who drive really big trucks and are great at making babies but who have no idea how to treat a woman or raise a family.

Being a real man doesn’t have a lot to do with your automobile preferences or hobbies. The real question of your manhood is answered in the day to day routine. Do you respect women? Do you love and lead your wife in a sacrificial way? Do you raise your kids or are you just one of them?

Gentlemen, it’s a tough job that we have.

It’s not a job for little boys.

It’s a job that calls for a real man.

What will be your answer?

How To Raise A Person Of Interest

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a good boogeyman.

Charles Manson is old and in jail. Jeffrey Dahmer is dead. Football players at Auburn are busy with their summer conditioning.

If the lack of creepy men roaming our neighborhoods and cities has left you feeling a bit down, fear not! You can always add more drama to our lives by raising your own little person of interest. All it takes is one simple step.

Disregard your child’s capacity for evil.

There’s this dog at the end of my street. She’s evil. When I walk in front of her house, she barks real loud and chases me with her teeth showing. The kid who lives there always says the same thing.

“She won’t bite.”

True. She won’t bite. But only because I can outrun her.

But if she was younger and faster, she would bite.

Humans can be the same way.

Some parents refuse to discipline their children until they’re old enough to walk. Or drive. Or join the military. Their reasoning sounds simple enough. Babies can’t do anything wrong. Just look at them. They’re so cute.

Simple. But wrong.

Babies lie. If you don’t believe me, put one in a crib and leave the room. (Editor’s Note: Only do this to your own baby. Don’t just find someone else’s baby and tell them that you need a baby for an experiment you read about on some pastor’s blog.) When you leave that room, there’s a good chance that your baby will cry. And not a cute cry. It will be more like the kind of cry you would expect if the baby woke up to see Charles Manson, or an Auburn player, standing next to his crib.

So you run in to check things out. You pick the baby up. Suddenly, all is right in the world.

Babies are cute. But they’re also liars. They get it from their parents.

Have you ever tried changing a baby’s diaper when she didn’t want to be changed? It’s like a wrestling match. And it’s not cute. It’s rebellion.

That doesn’t mean that you need to beat your baby. It just means that you need to realize her capacity for evil. Just because she can’t roll her eyes, huff and cuss at you doesn’t mean that she’s not trying to do those things. Never mistake inability for innocence.

Well, unless you’d like to see your kid on the news someday. And not for getting first place in the county-wide art contest. In that case, just ignore their cute rebellion until they turn 13. And then wonder where things went wrong.

Broken Down Blessings

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I didn’t really think anything the first time I saw the stain. Driveways have stains. Big deal. But then the stain started to grow. That’s when I knew that I had a problem. And this problem was leaking from gently used 1992 Toyota 4Runner.

I did what any self-respecting American male in my situation would do. I called a friend and asked him what was going on. Our conversation went a little like this.

“Hey, what’s it mean when stuff is pouring out from the front of my car?”

“Check the hose underneath the car. Is it tight?”

“Well, there’s a thing-a-ma-jigger clamped on to another thingy pretty tight.”

Nothing makes you feel less manly than using the word thingy in regards to an automobile. I’m pretty sure that my grandfather never said thingy. Ever. If Dale Sr. would have been there, I would have gotten a beating.

Leading up to all of this, I was feeling pretty confident. Less than an hour before, I was laying under another car. A minivan. A woman from California was pulling into my neighborhood with a tire that looked like it belonged on the side of the interstate.

I got out to help.

Before I did anything, I prayed. Not for her. For myself. And it wasn’t one of those out loud prayers either. This was the kind of prayer that’s best kept quiet.

“God, help me. Help me not to do something stupid. Help me not to kill myself. Or this woman’s minivan.”

If you’re a single mother of four young girls, the last thing you want to hear from the guy changing your tire on the side of the road is, “God, help me not to blow something up like last time.”

Half of my neighborhood stopped to check on us. I was afraid that they were going to check how long it took me to change this lady’s tire. Instead, they were just offering to help. They were just worried for this lady. And me. One neighbor, with tools much more equipped for the job than my roll of duct tape and a pocket knife, got out to help me. The woman from California stood on the side of the road and watched us change her tire while her four daughters played with my son.

When she drove off, I prayed again. Not for her. For myself. Quietly.

“God, please help that tire I just put on to stay put on. And if it doesn’t, please help this woman to forget where I live.”

For as far as I could see the lady’s minivan driving off, my prayer was answered. To date, there have been no legal notifications sent to my home regarding the improper changing of a tire.

Laying under my own car was much more difficult. A tire is one thing. A radiator thingy is quite another. There’s not even a mark to tell you where to put the duct tape. While I was under there, I thought it would look silly for me to immediately get back up. So I just stayed there underneath my leaking radiator and jiggled some wires.

That didn’t help.

Early the next morning, I dropped my problems off at my mechanic’s place. Less than an hour later, I got the call. I was nervous when the lady on the other end said my name. Her voice sounded kind of like the voice of the college math professor in my dreams when he tells me that I forgot to do an entire semester’s worth of work and that I’m still wearing my pajamas in front of the whole school. I was worried.

She said that my radiator looked fine.

The radiator hose was the problem.

“How much?” I asked with fear and trembling.

“Less than a hundred dollars.”

I was relieved. And then I thought about what that relief meant.

When I was a kid, my mom’s car broke down a lot. A hundred dollars worth of repairs would have devastated us. But when those repairs came, so did the people who were willing to help. I grew up witnessing these broken down blessings quite frequently. Then I thought about the woman from California with the shredded tire. Her van probably wasn’t even worth a hundred dollars. She told us that where she was from people would never stop to help her. Broken down blessings.

My car didn’t break down in a strange neighborhood on the other side of the continent with some weirdo working on it. It started leaking in my driveway. Usually, when something like that happens, I’m tempted to ask God why.

It’s funny but I never ask why he gives me the means to take care of these little problems.

“God why have you made it where a one hundred dollar radiator thingy is not financially devastating to my family? Why?! And why have you given me another car to use for taking my kids to soccer practice? Have you forgotten me?” saith the young pastor as he lamented in sackcloth and ashes. 

I tend to associate God’s blessings with getting something for free or not having to deal with inconveniences. Certainly, those blessings do exist. But there are also blessings in our difficulties. Broken down blessings. Sometimes those difficulties serve as good reminders of God’s faithfulness.

I don’t know what set of circumstances brought that woman and her daughters all the way across the country to Jackson, Georgia. Just like I don’t know why God allowed my radiator thingy to start leaking. Or why he allowed it to be easily repaired.

But I do know that God is good.

And with each new day comes a new flood of his mercies.

Sometimes it just takes a shredded tire and a leaking thingy to notice them.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

The Devil’s Diary

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The day was great. It really was. Sundays are usually extra busy for me. Especially Easter Sundays. This one was no exception. I know that I’m not supposed to say this but there is a part of me that really does love Easter.

For a while now I’ve been paying extra close attention to one particular church. They really have been a nuisance to me. I long for the days when they return to their silly arguments about carpet color and this person not shaking hands with that person at some event. If last Sunday was any indication, those days may be closer than I first thought.

This church takes the Bible seriously. That’s a serious problem. But there are ways around it. So my team has been working hard to make sure that the church continues to think very highly of the Bible while at the same time not actually taking the time to apply what it says. A brilliant strategy, really! At the moment we are working on an older fellow who is campaigning diligently to have the Ten Commandments placed in the middle of the town square. On any given day, that man breaks seven or eight of those commandments and can’t name more than two of them. I love it!

But my finest piece of work involves another fight. This fight has nothing to do with liquor stores or that new gentleman’s club in town. It’s all pretty much contained within the church building. There are two families who hate each other because of something one said to another. Or was it about the other? It’s been so long, I can’t remember. All I know is that there is nothing more satisfying than a church full of people that can’t get along.

And the really good thing is that nobody knows why they can’t get along. So much time has passed and so many cruel words have been spoken that the hate has become a habit. Practically speaking, this particular church has three ordinances: baptism, communion and bitterness. Not a bad batting average, if I must say so. Especially when you consider how that bitterness has a way of canceling out the other two ordinances.

One of my servants has been working on a man who visited this church on Easter Sunday. He’s been curious about this gospel business so we’ve been working hard to keep him blinded. At first, we were worried about him visiting a church where people would talk and sing about sin, repentance and salvation. But just a few key conversations was all it took to turn the whole event into a dumpster fire with eternal consequences.

We made sure that as few people as possible spoke to this man. Those who did were rude, superficial or arrogant. But we did want to make sure that this man spoke to at least one family in this church. That would be our precious friends with the bitterness issues. They spent the first half of the service telling our man everything that they thought was wrong with this church.

We had ourselves quite a memorable party when our man got home from church and spoke to his mom during a big family lunch. She’s been trying to take our blinders off of him for quite some time. Her expectations were high.

You could see it on her face when she asked him the question.

“So what did you thing of the service?”

I was so happy to see this woman’s hope disappear with her son’s answer.

“It was okay but it’s just what I expected. The people all complain and fight with each other. Trust me on this, when I go out tonight, there will be no complaining or fighting. Just good times. Why bother with church when all they do is fight when I can just catch a sermon on TV every now and then and hang out at the club where it’s all love?”

Every Easter I’m reminded of that terrible day with the empty tomb. In a lot of churches, I’m reminded of my terrible future. But not in all of them. In a growing number of churches I’m reminded of why I do what I do. There really is no greater joy than seeing people who are searching for Jesus get turned away at the last second because of Jesus’ own supposed followers.

And I didn’t have to do anything spectacular. No blinking lights. No scary voices. Just a little bitterness between so-called brothers and sisters.

If things go my way, I’ll have that man with me tonight. And to think, we almost lost him. All it took to save the day was a visit to a church that was willing to let me do a little of my work. I love it when churches rent out their space and their people to me.

It really was a great day.

Calling It What It Is: Gay Marriage And Other Deceptions

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You can change the rules. That’s good. Sometimes rules need to be changed. But at some point, after one too many rule changes, you also need to change the name of the game.

Say you want to add instant replay to Major League Baseball games. Great. Suppose you also wanted to take away all of the bases and stop keeping score. Okay. Just don’t expect us to keep calling it baseball.

Marriage works the same way. The institution of marriage wasn’t invented by the GOP in the 1950s. It was invented by God. In a garden. Long before the creation of GLAAD, democrats, republicans and Fred Phelps.

Since that time, we have been hard at work with our rules committees trying to change  God’s creation into something a little more in tune with our liking. Adam failed to lead, Eve was eager to take his place and a crafty serpent was more than willing to take advantage of the resulting chaos. He’s still taking advantage.

It took some time, in this country at least, but the name of the game has officially been changed.

When our government began to sanction, and in many ways force you to agree with, gay marriage, they effectively removed the bases and stopped keeping score. We aren’t playing baseball anymore.

No government has the power to take what God has created, sanction the perversion of that creation at the point of a gun, and continue calling it the same thing. To put it another way, there is no such thing as gay marriage.

Along with our government’s new found soap box of love and acceptance for all, many in the church began waiving the white flag. Some conceded defeat and retreated back to their sanctuaries, afraid of being lumped in with Phelps and his kind. Others fully embraced the new game. They even brought Jesus into the argument, pointing out his frequent references to love along with his failure to directly mention anything about homosexuality. Interestingly, this same crowd is a little slower to reference Jesus’ words on hell, judgment, marriage and adultery. They also aren’t too quick to come to the defense of the likes of a Bernie Madoff or a Justin Bieber, saying that, “Jesus never directly addressed Ponzi schemes or out of control pop stars.” Play on! Love wins!

The committee on rules changes, it appears, likes to make changes that work to their advantage.

These changes go beyond the realm of marriage. It’s fascinating to hear politicians use phrases like, “protecting our freedom,” “Rule of Law” or “free society” as they continually change the rules of the game.

In a “free society” does the ruling class typically take the citizens whose freedoms they are entrusted to protect to court simply because those private citizens have a different idea of how to provide health insurance for their employees?

Does “protecting our freedom” usually involve bullying cattle ranchers, stealing land from farmers and slowly but surely taking away a citizen’s right to protect himself?

The rules have been changed. So much so that our leaders started playing a completely different game a long time ago.

People have always disagreed in this country. That’s a good thing. In a truly free society, there will be different ideas about taxes, jobs and military intervention. But what is happening now is more than simply different opinions on policies. That was the old game. There’s only one word that can adequately describe the new game.

Tyranny.

Isn’t that what we used to call it when we heard about this kind of thing happening in other countries and in other times? Why is it, now that we are playing this new game here in our country, that we fail to call it what it really is?

Words matter. I know, I know. People like to tell us that they don’t. But that’s just academic babble. Sit in a doctor’s office, have him look you in the eye and say the word cancer. Words matter. Even when we don’t want them too.

I don’t have all of the answers for how we should be playing this new game with its ever changing rules. But I know that Christians can’t retreat. We have to be bold with our love. Even when it’s hard. Even when our love is called hate. And as long as we’re sticking around, it would help, when confronted with the reality of this strange new game, if we started calling it what it is.

A Warning To The Eye Rollers

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The apartment was new. And it was clean. Much cleaner than our house. All my mother had to do was sign her name and we were moving in. But before she did that there was something else she wanted to do. She wanted to show me around the new place. She wanted to see what I thought.

Imagine Simon Cowell listening to Creed and Nickelback at the same time. That’s how critical I was. The rooms weren’t laid out right. The bathrooms were too small. And then there was the front door. The front door might as well have not even been there. There was just one little button on the doorknob to lock us in away from any evildoers wishing to do us harm.

“That looks real safe,” I said in my infinite teenage wisdom.

At first, my mother didn’t reply. She just looked at me. It was one of those looks that hurt much worse than any spanking because I could tell that she was the one who was hurt. Finally, she quietly responded.

“You know, I’m doing the best that I can here.”

I would have rather been beaten.

I was an eye roller. It seemed like every command my mother gave me served no other purpose than to get in my way. Most of the time I followed through with those commands. I obeyed. I was a good boy.

But I didn’t obey with the right heart. I didn’t honor my mother. I wasn’t such a good boy after all.

We eventually moved out of that apartment. It was in our next apartment where my mother found out that she was sick.

It was in the several other places that we lived afterwards where she would wake up screaming in the middle of the night because she was losing control of most of the muscles in her body. And it was in those places that her mind slowly started to go.

My aunt and my sister did the real work of caring for her. I tried my best. I drove her to the doctor occasionally. I carried her to her bed. I spent a few nights next to her in the hospital. And I tried to do it without rolling my eyes. I was learning how to honor my mother.

My wife and I were packing up our house one day. We weren’t moving. We were just going on vacation. Were. We were going on vacation.

My sister called and told me to get down to see my mom as fast as I could. By this time, my mom was living in a nursing home in middle Georgia. My wife and I sped to see her. We were about 20 minutes away when we got the call. She died.

I can’t remember the last words I said to her. But I’m glad that it wasn’t some critical comment about the house she did her best to provide for me.

A lot has been written and said about obedience. And that’s a good thing. But obedience is nothing more than camouflaged rebellion if it is not accompanied by honor. There will come a time when we no longer have to obey our parents. After my mom’s sickness got really bad and I was living on my own, she would call me and say some of the craziest things. I don’t know if it was the medicine or the disease but something was messing with her mind. She would tell me to do things that were impossible to obey.

I think that’s probably one of the toughest stages in life. The stage where you have to be the parent to your parent. The stage where you no longer have to obey. Where all you can do is honor.

Maybe I’m just getting too old. Or maybe some kids today really are getting bolder in how they talk to their parents. A while back I heard a kid talking to her mom like people talk about the bad guys on pro wrestling. And she was rolling her eyes. Just like I did.

I thought about my attitude towards my mother that day back in our new apartment. My mind jumped to my frantic drive to a middle Georgia nursing home only to miss saying goodbye to my mother by 20 minutes. I thought about how glad I was that, even though I didn’t get to say goodbye the way I wanted, at least we ended on good terms. Real good terms.

I interrupted that girl. I told her to watch the way that she talked to her mother because she never knew when her last goodbye would be. I hope it helped.

No matter how old you are, watch the way that you talk to and about your mom and dad. Last words don’t care about your calendar. You never know what or when those last words will be. But there is one thing that you can do between now and then, even if you happen to be passed the point of obeying.

Honor your father and mother.

You’ll be glad you did.