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Bad Grades in School
“My child brought home an F, so I must be a bad parent.”
“My husband is looking at pornography, so I must be a bad wife.”
“What I’m experiencing right now doesn’t feel like it lines up with what I read in the Bible, so the Bible must not be true.”
If these kinds of thoughts have tormented you, there’s good news. In Bad Grades in School, Derek and the Life Transforming Panel dig into the causes of these kinds of thoughts and the unproductive actions which inevitably follow them, and help you to replace them with the truth as God presents it to us.
If you’re anything like most people, chances are that you’re spent a lot of time and energy (not to mention frustration) trying to change those around you, enduring hurtful and negative feelings the entire time. After all, if your child comes home with a bad grade, it’s easy to blame yourself. And if your spouse is turning to negative habits, whether porn or alcohol or anything else, it’s easy to blame yourself as a spouse. After all, there’s plenty about you that’s less than perfect.
The truth is, however, that we are not to blame for the thoughts, feelings, or actions of others, no matter how close they are to us. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we have no influence on others.
What it does mean, though, is that by putting aside the false notion that our value (and the value of those around us) is based on or performance, and replacing it with the truth that Christ is in us, and we have intrinsic value because of that, we can begin to approach those around us from a position of true empathy. Not only is this generally more productive, but it allows us to live in the peace and joy which the Holy Spirit gives us instead of the turbulent emotions which come from trying to make others comply with our expectations.
By learning the art of renewing your mind, taking wrongful thought patterns (lies of the enemy, cognitive distortions) and replacing them with the truth of God, you set aside much of the strife and frustration of life and replace it with the peace that God intends you to have. The first step is learning to identify negative emotions and thoughts.
When an emotion or thought is leading you away from peace, towards wrath, anger, pride, judgment, or any other harmful thought or emotion, you can know that it’s not from God. While God does bring conviction to our hearts, His conviction is always geared towards renewing our minds, restoring us, and helping us to grow. When truth (and God, who is truth) is behind a feeling or emotion, we can have peace even if the circumstances around us seem less than ideal.
Often, when we find ourselves feeling angry or frustrated because of the perceived failures or shortcomings of those close to us, we take it personally, as a reflection of ourselves. The reason for this is that we’ve bought into the idea that our value is tied to the approval of others and/or our performance. We reason that if we were good parents, our children would do well in school and that if we were a good spouse, our mate wouldn’t be involved in the struggles they’re having.
The truth, however is that God is in Christ, and Christ is in us. Therefore, perfect righteousness is in us, just as we are. When we realize this, we begin to understand that our value is not even based on our own performance, much less the performance of our spouses or children. We further realize that they also have value regardless of their performance.
When we come from that position, we begin to have more concern for those around us rather than having concern for the effects their performance has on us and our self worth. Add to that the fact that God is in control, and that He can help them better than we can, and you have a formula for freeing yourself of the need to control those around you. And when you do that, and begin to live in the grace and freedom God intends for you, you’re generally in a much better position to help those around you as well.