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Now that I am an adult, I see clearly the wisdom my parents had with both my sister and I when we were teens.  We made mistakes, and sinned of course, but I do believe that because of their choices as parents, we are who we are today.

When I was a teen, I despised trends, and really wanted to be my own person, to some degree.  I was serious about my faith from a young age, and yet was attracted to somewhat crazy hairstyles, funky clothes, and so on. I do remember one day in particular though, when I borrowed a short skirt from a friend, and when trying to leave the house with it on, my Mom insisted, “You are not going out of the house  like that.”

This is what continued through my teenage years.  Freedom to express myself, but an insistence of modesty.  So there I was, with crazy hair and clothes sharing my faith with non-Christians.

But when I became a Mother, I had a very long list of I will nevers. . .

And boy did I learn.  It was the first year of my oldest son’s life that I did several of those I will nevers.  That has continued on through my journey as a Mom.

As one example, I said I would never have a gaming system in my house.  I have four boys, and three gaming systems now (not that they all work).  I never wanted a TV in my house. . .I have a 52’ flat screen.

Now, I have done the unthinkable.  I let my 13 year old son get his ears pierced.

I am a home schooling Mother of four boys, and participate in a program for home schooled children, where they attend once a week.  The bulk of our friends are Christian Home Schoolers.

While many, but not all have placed various kinds of judgments on me regarding this issue, I am equally guilty for doing my own share of judging people for things I should not have.

It is amazing how the Lord uses things like this to teach us.  I am humiliated.  By my own judging of others and because of my self righteousness at times, when I participated in that judgment.

My 13 year old son has pierced ears.  This is the same son who stayed up with my husband and I just last week late into the night talking to us about what he was learning about God because of his studies in Genesis, and God’s dealings with His people.  This is the same son who roller blades to Church two hours early, to help set up the chairs (since our Church meets in a school), and to help with the sound and power point.  This was something he volunteered to do on his own.  This is the son whose spiritual growth has been evident through repentance, prayer and sometimes even tears over his sin.  This is the son who shows love to others that some have a hard time loving.  I am sad that all some see is two holes in his ears, and their judgment of him and our family is based on that.

I hope that we can learn to see the difference between sin issues and issues of Christian Liberty.  With Christ as our example, we need to be living lives of love and grace, not judgment and self righteousness.  I only point this out because I see now, that I am guilty myself of these, so many times.

Having done lots of research and reading on legalism, my very godly Mother called me late last night, as she is reading through a book by J.I. Packer on the subject of The Holy Spirit.  She knows what I am going through right now as a result of the fallout from the decision my husband and I made about the piercings and read the following to me:

“Experience shows that pitfalls surround those who make moral struggle central in their thinking about the Holy Spirit,. Their tendency is to grow legalistic, making tight rules for themselves and others about abstaining from things indifferent, imposing rigid and restrictive behavior patterns as bulwarks against worldliness and attaching great importance to observing these man made taboos.” J.I Packer from his book, Keep In Step With The Spirit.

I think that says it all.

9 comments
  1. Colleen,

    I glanced past the author and started reading the post. I got to the short skirt part and got a REALLY interesting visual.. the thought of Shane in a skirt….

    As to the crux of the post. Thanks for sharing. I love the quote and I am sure I will use it. I minister to a lot of post modern people and the whole absolutely no drink, no pierced ears, no, no no and no have really turned them off.

    1. @ECM, That’s hilarious, actually! Nicely done.

      On the substance of Coleen’s post, I could not agree more. I understand that a lot of thought went into this decision, and I have a hard time seeing how anyone can honestly question the decision you and your family reached.

      If there was a biblical prohibition against the piercing of the male earlobe, I suppose it would be more of an issue (though if the prohibition came from Leviticus or some other book in “my” part of the Bible, I don’t think it would apply strictly to a Christian – – it would be akin to the dietary laws or the restriction on certain clothing). I don’t see such a restriction, and I can’t understand how a faithful, thoughtful, and compassionate 13-year-old who consults his parents about this decision would be “dishonoring” them . . . so why would anyone judge him for this? Or you?

      Personally, I think this article demonstrates good parenting at work. Well done!

      1. @Coleen Sharp, I love it when kindness and truthful observations merge like this. Glad to provide a little support at a time when you were feeling judged.

        Also, totally agree with Bob Mueller, below: kudos to your mom for the perfect timing!

  2. Colleen,

    The more I read of your writing, the more I find to like. You make me think, and examine myself.

    Great post, and especially kudos to your mom for being able to find and share the perfect passage at the perfect time.

    This is the second time in a month that I’ve been prodded to examine myself based on the writings of friends. Hmm….
    .-= Bob Mueller´s last blog ..Home Bible Study Groups Banned in San Diego? =-.

  3. Enjoyed your article. I grew up in a somewhat legalistic enviroment but did not fully recognize what it was until I got a little older. Performance based Christianity to “please” other people in the church, whether it be the Pastor or others, takes your eyes off of Christ and puts them on human beings and all their baggage. Pride is the “core corruption” for all of us. I reached a point that I felt I had given the Lord whatever talents and abilities I had… but later came to realize I could not give God what was not mine. When I realized I had to give Him the “right to myself” it opened up a new new level of understanding. The “do’s and don’t’s” of legalism normally produce “Christians” who never get very far beyond the milk of the Word. Our witness to the lost must include demonstration, not just information, and legalists usually only focus on the “information” part. Well- I better take off these ear rings and get to bed. 🙂

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