Thursday, October 15, 2009

Evaluating Your Blessings

Is a blessing always a good thing?

I'm involved with this group at my church where we talk to young men about life and God. Anyway, during a recent session this young father, who I think is still a teenager, asked me whether he and the mother of his child should stop having sex even if they plan on getting married soon.

I told him that if he wasn't married now, he shouldn't be having sex, period. He didn't like that answer, but then he changed course. He asked me why some folks talk about children as a negative consequence of fornication, but then turn around and call his little girl a blessing. He couldn't figure out how his daughter could be a blessing if the only way she came in to the world was because he was doing something contrary to God's will.

Good question, right?

Is it possible for a blessing, (children are typically seen as a blessing by most most Christians) to be a bad thing?

Calling something a "blessing" implies that your life is positively impacted by it. But, as all parents will tell you, children can both negatively and positively impact your life.

I wouldn't trade my two boys for anything, but that doesn't mean I don't think fondly of my life before parenthood. Being a parent is a massive responsibility, and it's only natural to grow weary of carrying that burden on occasion.

I told the teenage father that sometimes God can bless us, and punish us at the same time. Having a child is a blessing, but the responsibility that goes along with parenting can feel like a punishment at times. When you have to handle the hassles of parenting outside of a marriage, it quickly becomes apparent why God intended for children to be raised inside of marriages.

I've found that like most parents, God doesn't refuse to care for his children, or bless them, just because they misbehave. He has the ability to bless and chastise at the same time. Unfortunately, we as humans often lack the ability to see the duality in our situations, particularly when our situations seem negative.

Black Girl In Maine talked about something related to this topic recently. She discussed the fact that given their economic conditions, some folks really shouldn't be having children. She noted that the idea that all you need to raise children is "love," is ridiculous.

I agree with many of her points, but her post made me think.

Just because something is difficult doesn't make it bad. Conversely, every blessing doesn't come easy. Children are the epitome of this principle, but it applies to most things in our lives. Too often we expect good things to come with no strings attached. Some of us mistakenly believe that when God blesses us, he'll magically do all the work.

Snap out of it.

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5 comments:

T.A.N. Man said...

The lack of a dedication to truth is the issue. We all know that there are pros and cons to all of our situations, but when we want to avoid criticism for a particular element of our life choices, we oversimplify. "The Devil is in the Details."

Black Diaspora said...

Good post.

Here's what I read once, from an almost unimpeachable source:

"Call a thing neither a bless nor a curse until you see how it is used."

That's the stick I use to measure outcomes that appear, at first blush, to be either a blessing or a curse. What use are they put to.

And the recent brutal death of Derrion Albert has the potential to bless as well, provided his death is put to "good" use.

I put "good" in quotations, because good is opened to interpretation, and infinite possibilities.

His death might be seen as a "blessing" if it's used to bring the community together to prevent similar, senseless deaths in the future, but that's not the only use it could be put to.

Conversely, it could be seen as a "curse," if it's used to brand kids like him, as you've suggested in an earlier blog entry, as "terrorists," or precipitate a law-enforcement crackdown that focuses purely on suppression, without regard for the cause of the problem.

Black Diaspora said...

Actually the quote should read:
"Call a thing neither a blessing nor a curse until you see how it is used."

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