Monday, October 1, 2012

For Your Own Good...

"I'm doing it for your own good." 

I'm guessing we've all heard this or said this at least one time.

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I turned on the television one Saturday morning as I was finishing my coffee and watched the last half of an old show called Leave It to Beaver. I like watching these old shows with strong values and families that actually love each other. In this particular episode, Beaver had somehow won a contest and the prize was a sports car--a real car!  When I tuned into the show, Beaver's parents, Ward and June, were discussing how to handle the situation. Obviously Beaver was much too young to have a car so Ward decided he would sell the car and save the money for Beaver's college education. Dad was about to break the news to Beaver.

In the next scene, Ward is in Wally and Beaver's room giving them the bad news. Dad calmly explains the impracticality of the situation and finally ends with the phrase, "I'm doing it for your own good." After Dad leaves the room, Wally asks Beaver why he's crying and making such a fuss since Beaver knew all along he wouldn't be able to keep the car. Beaver's reply was, "Just because it's for my own good doesn't mean it doesn't hurt."

For your own good. 

Don't you just hate hearing those words? That phrase usually follows something we are enjoying, something that is giving us pleasure. Yet, there must have been something about that "thing" which was deemed not quite right or not the best by someone in authority over us. So, for our greater good, that thing (a privilege, toy, snack, etc.) was removed from our life. No amount of crying, complaining, or manipulation helps.

It occurred to me as I was watching this episode that there might be a spiritual application to this scenario. I immediately thought of something God recently asked me to give up. I have been part of the music ministry at my church for many years and have always enjoyed it. Music ministry is a good thing, right? Why would God ask me to give that up? I don't know the answer to that yet. I do know that in the long run it's part of God's plan and it will be for my own good. Did it hurt to give that up? Yes, a little bit. It's not easy to give up something good, something known, something that is part of my identity. But if there is something I've learned in recent months is that quick obedience to the Lord is much more satisfying that trying to ignore or run from God. As I was preparing this post I ran across this quote which seemed so appropriate to use here:

"Every difficult thing that God has asked you to do
is something that will benefit you
in the long run." ~ Joyce Meyer via Twitter

I'll just have to trust that the Lord knows exactly what He's doing. One day I will be able to look back into my rearview mirror and see that it was exactly the right thing to do. Just as Beaver said, "Just because it's for my own good doesn't mean it doesn't hurt."

"A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline,  
a mocker refuses to listen to correction."
Proverbs 13:1

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; 
yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields 
the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
Hebrews 12:11

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
 so my ways are higher than your way 
 and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 
Isaiah 55:8-9

What about you? Has God ever asked you to give up or do something that was good? How did it turn out?

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