I’m back from my July break refreshed and recharged. I have a renewed sense of God’s desire for us as women, to help one another heal, grow, and thrive even in a scary uncertain world. It’s time to leave behind some of our old ways of thinking and being so that we can fully mature. Paul says when I was a child I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I learned to think in new ways (1 Corinthians 13:11). This is a journey for us. To leave behind the beliefs or ideas or ways we thought were right and continue to press on renewing our minds with God’s word and his truth.
I’ll be doing a free webinar in August on the 4 Beliefs that Christian women have that keep them feeling helpless, scared, and stuck in destructive marriages. To register, please sign up here.
This week’s question: In your blog listing “10 Lies that will Mess Up Your Life” you stated the first lie is Life is Not Fair. Can you explain that more, please?
Scripture says you reap what you sow. I don't understand this. I sowed love and kindness; teaching God's word to my children. My daughter ends up struggling with depression, promiscuity, addicted to substances, and in rehab. Why?
My girlfriend raised her kids the same and her daughters are doing well. It can make me sad, angry, and jealous. I want to scream, “It's not fair!” But, if I tell myself that life is not fair, then what am I to do with that scripture??? I DIDN'T reap what I sowed, so the Bible must be lying. How am I misunderstanding this passage?
Answer: I'm sorry you’re experiencing disappointment and pain with your daughter’s choices. Most of us do the best we know how to teach and show our children love and the wisdom of God’s path for life. Yet, they still may make poor choices.
First, God knows exactly how you feel. When Adam and Eve sinned, he grieved over their choice to go their own way. He lamented when the Israelites refused to follow him and worshiped other Gods. God is perfect. Yet his children rebelled and went their own way. In Deuteronomy, Moses lays out two choices before the Jews enter the Promised Land, inviting and reminding them that God says, Choose Life (Deuteronomy 30:19).
You sowed good things into your daughter. Those good things are still there, but your daughter also has her choice to listen or not listen, to obey, or not obey. [Tweet “That’s not your responsibility or your fault even though it grieves you.”]
Second, it’s important to remember that God is your heavenly father. He does not lie. There is no shifting shadow in him. The Bible says that God is love and light and there is no darkness in him at all (1 John 1:5). So, therefore, your conclusion that the Bible has lied to you about sowing and reaping cannot be accurate. Please allow me to propose another way of looking at this passage on sowing and reaping.
It seems as if you have used this passage as a guarantee that if you plant something, for example, corn, you are guaranteed by God to always reap a beautiful harvest of corn. But I don’t think that’s what this passage says. Nor does this interpretation align with other things that the Bible teaches. Jesus teaches us that in this world, we will have trouble (John 16:33). In other words, Jesus says life will not be easy or fair.
Is it fair that you were born in the United States and others were born in a third-world country with fewer resources? Is it fair that one mother gives birth to a child who is gifted with athletic talent or intellectual ability while another is born with illness or lifelong disabilities, even though both took good prenatal care of themselves?
When the apostle Paul writes, “we reap what we sow”, (Galatians 6:7) he is using a farming metaphor to illustrate the natural law of consequences. If you plant weeds he says, don’t expect corn. Paul says, don't be shocked or disappointed when you live a reckless life you experience negative consequences such as poor health, bad relationships, and/or money problems. That’s what happens when you sow weeds in your life. Proverbs 5:11 says something similar.
Using this same farming metaphor, if you plant corn seed that doesn’t always guarantee that you will reap an abundant crop of corn. Why? The outcome of farming (good crops) doesn’t just depend on you. You can diligently plant your seed but other things can get in the way. There can be a drought or flood. There might be a fire. There could be pests that eat up all the seeds or corn. Then you have no crop or a less abundant one through no fault of your own.
[Tweet “We are responsible for stewarding our own life by our choices and we are not responsible for stewarding anyone else’s life, including our children once grown.”] You parented your daughter with godly values. Right now she does not embrace those values. She’s sowing life-sucking weeds into her life story. As she begins to live through the painful consequences of those weeds, pray that she will wake up to what she is doing and repent.
God desires us all to repent from our waywardness even as he is a perfect father. Please do not blame yourself for your daughter’s choices. But also please don’t blame God. His word is true. Life is not fair. Sin is real and sin corrupts. Jesus warns us that we have a real enemy who wants to ruin our life. He does it primarily through lies (John 8:44). His first lie to Eve was the same one that he’s tempting you with. “God is not good” (See Genesis 3:1-5). Eve believed Satan’s lie instead of listening to God and ate the forbidden fruit and Adam followed and life changed for everyone.
Your daughter is far from God right now, but it sounds like you too might be far from God because of your disappointment and anger. I encourage you to run back home to your heavenly father and continue to be an example of truth and love to your daughter so that when she is sick of sin, she knows where to find the truth that will set her free.
Friend, when your life story didn’t turn out the way you thought it would or was “taught” it would if you just believed a certain way, how did you deal with that disappointment, hurt, and confusion?
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