Monday, April 30, 2012

"Don't Judge Me": Replacing the Dandelions.

"Mom, I decided I am going to fill a pot full of dandelion seeds
and sell them at the plant sale," 
Violet's voice appeared from towering over where I worked.

"You can't do that, Violet!  Nobody wants dandelion seeds.
Nobody wants dandelions,"
I countered as I potted up some hosta I had divided.

I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't convinced.

"I like dandelions.  I think they are much prettier than those ugly, boring hostas.
And dandelions grow everywhere!"

 "Yes, Violet," I tried to reason.
"That's precisely the point.
They are too easy to grow.

 They are weeds.

People try like crazy to get rid of them,
and it's almost impossible.

That is what a weed is."

I wondered how much I should disappoint my daughter
as she continued with her plan.

"Well, then I won't sell them.
I'll just give them away.

And I'm going to take one of those trays and fill it with dirt
and plant some dandelions for myself."

As she snatched up one of my trays,
I saw her heading toward my dirt pile.

I believe in letting kids learn lessons on their own.
I think, if it is possible,
and if they truly think their idea is such a great one,
sometimes letting them fail is a great lesson,
 as long as no danger is involved.

But at what price do we let our children learn a lesson?

Sometimes, they just need to be told,
"No, you won't do that.  It is a bad idea."

I could not jeopardize the rest of my dirt pile
for her experiment.

It seems lately, that there is a common phrase I hear
in overabundance in life,
like dandelions spotting an unkempt field.

I thought of my daughter's determination to do as she wanted
when it came to the dandelions.

She wasn't thinking of the entire consequences of her decision.

She was thinking of the joy the dandelions gave to her,
and even though she wanted to share them,
her gift was not truly a gift,
but might be viewed as a curse.

Often when a person spouts this over-used phrase,
they do not view the whole picture.

The weight of their decisions may seem to only affect them,
but it's a rare thing when any of our choices really only affect ourselves.
We are a joy or a disappointment to the older generation.
We are an encouragement or discouragement to our peers.
We are a model of grace or greed to the next generation.

I hope I can share an example,
and it can just be kept at that.

While we sat in church a few weeks back,
some visiting teenagers sat in the pew ahead of us.

They were being disrespectful:
talking in low tones,
one held up his phone and began texting so that all of us behind him could see.

I cannot tell you the events of their lives:
the hardships, the bitterness, the measure that made them who they are.

I can only tell you that they were not concerned for those around them
who came from similarly difficult backgrounds
and were there to receive some help from God that day.

This went on all through the introduction,
as well as all three of them getting up and leaving for about fifteen minutes,
only to return and continue.

They were holding their bouquet of dandelions,
shaking them all over our dirt pile.

My husband has a limit to what he will take when he sees a person being disrespectful.

He finally reached forward and clicked his fingers,
telling the boys to be quiet and stop being disrespectful.

I was unprepared for what came next.

One of the boys turned around and loudly challenged my husband.

I gulped, knowing he'd picked the wrong man to challenge.

A verbal confrontation ensued,
with neither my husband or the mouthy lad backing down,
until the mother who was with the boys got up and loudly hissed,
"Let's get out of here, now!"

I can imagine this boy might go out and tell his tale,
and if it's anything like I seem to hear a lot lately,
it may be something to the effect
of how Christians are "judgmental."

It seems to be a key ingredient in criticizing our faith.

If you stand up for anything
have beliefs or standards that differ 
or cannot be compromised,
those beliefs and standards mark you as being "different."
Sometimes, it seems, this difference even seems to make you no longer human,
but the focus of jokes, the mocking of those who have been offended by your difference,
the ill-used brunt of Hollywood's insolence in countless movies,
the jester in many a plot.

Christians are people.
We make mistakes,
but according to all the rest of the world,
we aren't supposed to.
We are supposed to be perfect,
because Jesus is.

And although it is a harsh judgment,
to live perfectly,
it is right.
We are supposed to be light and salt
in a dark, ailing world.

But that is exactly why we need Jesus:
because we know we aren't perfect.
We know we are flawed human beings,
albeit saved through his sacrifice on the cross
and given victory through his conquering of death.

A Christian represents Jesus,
so when we mess up,
the devil is thrilled and makes a big scene out of it
so the world can call us,
"judgmental hypocrites."

And guess what:
often we are;
and it is a shame when this is true.
Forgiveness is a flower from God
but often the damage we've done is painful.
A better choice is when we do right
because of love and gratefulness for the One who is perfect.

Though it may seem we are "intolerant" or "unloving,"
what may not be realized is that we just don't want dandelion seeds sown in our gardens;
that our dirt: our children, our homes, our lives are sacred places to be protected.
That protection may collide with others who have no basis for identifying weeds
as they accept more and more of them into their gardens
and want us to do the same.

But we can't.
We aren't our own anymore.
We belong to God and obey the Bible,
and there are very specific "rights" and "wrongs" in the Bible.

It is a challenge to teach my children to see beyond their immediate choices:
to look out beyond and around them to all those affected,
to have courtesy and kindness and love,
words of grace and humility void of pride and self-glorification,
to respect correction and apologize when wrong.
To seek truth and never reject it,
despite the assault it may bring.

More likely than not,
they may someday have to stand as their father did
and not tolerate disrespect of their God,
not back down on their beliefs,
not succumb and wither when told,

"Don't judge me."

After all, from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed
they will be making one judgment call after another.

 "Is the shower water too hot or too cold?...
Does my socks match my shirt?...
Is that choice good or bad?...
Does the Bible back up this thought, idea, decision
or is this more of what the devil has in mind?"

 I can only pray that God will give them wisdom in their judgments
and grace to obey when they are shown
that the flowers they wanted so much
are actually weeds,...

but that God gave us a world full of beautiful bouquets,
when they make the decision to look away from the weeds
 and embrace the flowers.

"Judge not according to appearance,
but judge righteous judgment."
John 7:24


  1. Wow, what spiritual insight! Thank you!

  2. Oh My Goodness Miss Pumpkin Pie - - - this is absolutely on target.

    Thank you.

    I believe it is called discernment, and you seem to have it in spades.

  3. I thank God for the talents God has blessed you with Tonya, because we all get to share in your thought provoking posts!

  4. Thankyou so much for posting this. It was an encouragement to me in a trial I am going through caused by my family standing up for the right. The Lord used you to speak to me, as I have been discouraged lately. Thanks again!

  5. Wonderful Truth shared. Love all the pictures! :)

  6. I am absolutely astounded at your insight. This is better than many preachers I have heard over the years. Maybe you should try writing daily devotionals for women. I always knew you were a good writer, but this is inspired.

  7. Great Post.
    As Christians we forget that we are called to walk the straight and narrow. Which is another way to say: unpopular.
    I am sure that one day, maybe years from now, those boys, when they think back to that episode with your husband, will know full well they deserved being reprimanded.
    You did a great job putting together beautiful shots with your inspired words.

  8. shaking dandelions all over my precious dirt...what an interesting word picture. Gave me something to chew on.

  9. Beautiful and full of discernment! Perfect for a world full of the "Me, Me, Me" mentality. Thank you for sharing!

    By the way, I know no one wants dandelions in their yard, however, more people than you know would like to have those seeds! They are a very healthy and medicinal little plant! :)

  10. I really enjoyed the words "forgiveness is a flower from God" Very well said. Very Beautiful words and beautiful Blog.

    Praise be to God.



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