I chose the lesson in Ministry, even though it was the midweek lesson, because I wanted to get them talking about ministering to one another.  As a group of 7th – 8th graders (no 9th at this time),  you can imagine what they can be like at times.  Everyone is fair game, and they often think it’s funny to trash one another.  When we have newer people come in, it really becomes a problem.  Each year we work on this and make progress.  Then the year turns over and new students come up while others leave and the whole process starts over again.  I expect that, but I want them to learn to love and minister to one another.  I want them to look beyond certain behaviors and recognize that the disruptive student may have all kinds of things going on in his life.  I want them to welcome even the unlovely into the class.  I want them to become aware of ministry opportunities right at home, and I want them to see others as Jesus sees them.  I want them to get that vertical relationship going so they can better their horizontal ones.  I want….  I think God wants this too, but, like God, I recognize that it’s all a process.  I am content with baby steps at this stage, but I always want to be pushing for more growth while I have them.  They are the ‘plants’ I am responsible for watering and feeding once a week (and beyond).

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever put that in words quite that way before.  As I said, this is a goal, but I would love to see progress in their spiritual (and other) lives before they move on to the next stage of the game – those high school years — gulp!

 

That said, my overarching thing was this:   Why is it so difficult to minister to family (or “family”)? 

 

Now for a short leap into a different aspect of the topic.  My daughter and I took my husband out for dinner tonight for Father’s Day.  As we’re all sitting there, family stuff happens.  You know what I mean, the tongues come out and feelings get hurt.  We don’t mean to hurt one another, but how often we do!!!  We are so kind to strangers, but not those we are close to.  What’s up with that?  {Anne and Ron over at Freedomborn posted a great poem on this subject:  Our Family)

 

Step into my parlor. . .
(original image from morguefile.com)

This is the image that popped in my mind as I listened to the chatter at our table (and of a family sitting near us).  Our families are dumped in the blender.  Our tongues are the blades.  We get together and start slicing, often in the name of “just kidding” or trying to get a laugh, and soon there’s blood and hurt feelings everywhere.  Of course that leaves us with open wounds, maybe not even caused by the person in question, and we add defensiveness to the mix.  I hope your family is not like this, but I’m guessing there are moments (or certain members) when this happens.  It leads to more than hurt feelings.  It leads to broken relationships (horizontal and vertical).  We often justify it or pass it off as just family, but it is wrong.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue:

  • James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. James 1:25-27 (in Context)
  • James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! James 3:4-6 (in Context)
  • James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:5-7 (in Context)
  • James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-9 (in Context)

 

 

I found this on facebook, and thought it fit well with this topic. 

Back to our original topic.  While my students may jostle each other and things like that at times (esp. boys), the real problem is in the tongue.  My own tongue is not innocent either.  No matter how hard I try to bridle it (or surrender it to God to bridle), it still sometimes slips out of it’s harness and strikes.

 

My point:

Part of ministry is in learning to minister kindness in our words to others.  It’s allowing God to control our tongues and thinking before we speak.  It’s remembering that it’s pretty hard to meet someone’s need when we’re stabbing them with the blade of our tongue.  Kindness is something we should use EVERYWHERE.  Not just with strangers, kindness, encouragement, healing words work with those we are familiar with and love too.

 

Do you minister with kindness even to your family or those you are close to?  Is your tongue a run-a-way blender blade, wreaking havoc on those in it’s path?  Do you have ways that help you remember to be kind to all others?  Anyone have any good teaching ideas for this age group?        For those who write – do your words spread healing and ministry or is your pen like a double edged sword?  Have you struggled with this in the past and found success in learning to minister with kindness, even in your speech or written word?

 

I know none of my readers have problems with this issue, but I’m guessing you all know people who do, so you can understand this post 😀

Blessings and a healing tongue to all of you  .  .   .

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