Thursday, August 22, 2013


Discretion:  The ability to avoid word, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences.

Discretion isn't a word I hear often.  Well, unless it is when encouraging adventure and then you hear "throw discretion to the wind!"  But I'm not talking about playing it safe or avoiding conflict.  I'm also not talking about being legalistic.  I'm talking about what so many character traits seem to go back to:  Considering the needs of others before yourself.

Today I overheard one sibling verbally stabbing another.  Hurtful words, laughing at another's pain, ugliness. My heart hurt and my anger boiled.  A few minutes later it happened again between a different pair of kids and I decided to forgo our planned Bible study on Luke and teach my kids the value of a good, old-fashioned word study.

I pulled out my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  My kids looked at me like I was crazy.  We sat down in the family room and I explained what we were going to discuss.

The tongue.

I taught them how to look it up and we dove into a few scriptures, discussing what God wants for us.  Pouts and tears eventually decreased as we focused on God's promise to those who fear Him, who follow Him, who live in the freedom of His love.  The conversation was difficult at times, not because they couldn't understand but because our idea of reward is often so different than what God offers.

We spent the most time on Psalm 34:11-16...

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous 
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Then my sweet Katie asked a difficult question, about a young girl we knew who passed away suddenly a few years ago.  What about her?  She was a strong, outspoken, godly Christian girl.  Why did she die so young if God promises many good days?

So then we have to she not seeing good days right now?  Is she not where she dreamed of going? Did she leave a legacy?  Isn't she remembered even now as a light for Christ, showing her friends the way and shining as a beautiful example of what following Jesus looks like?

Hard.  So hard.

I told them how none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  How one day Dad and I will be gone and the way they treat one another now will very likely determine their relationships as adults.  How words, once spoken, can never be retrieved.  Saying you're sorry will never undo what has been done.

"Like trying to put toothpaste back in a tube," said Katie.


We have the chance to leave a legacy.  The words we speak, the attitudes of our heart, the way we treat others all contribute to that legacy.  If we wait until we are "grownups" or whatever the milestone may be it may be too late.  We have to live and love with discretion now.  Choosing our words carefully, taming the tongue, being kind, living a lifestyle that shows grace to those around us and woos them into Jesus' arms, all of these fall into the category of godly discretion.

In the same Psalm, if we go back a few verses, is verse 5:
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

What does this mean in light of teaching our kids discretion?  Keep your eye on the prize!  We have a reward that awaits, a crown of righteousness bejeweled with the acts of obedience we offer up to our King! Living for Jesus, obeying Him even in the hard and mundane things, choosing our words carefully and building up walls of protection around the sanctuary of our homes together instead of knocking them down is worth the fight!  Live with abandon, love big, follow God with reckless faith but use discretion so as not to have to stumble over the undesirable consequences of hurtful words or selfish actions.

It is a tough line, but that is why God made us a that we can encourage one another and build each other up.

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