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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lost In Translation

When my three kids were little I had an older friend, Marian, whose own children were nearly grown.
One day we were talking about the challenges of rearing children and how we dealt with their frequent squabbles over toys, personal space, chores, etc.

She said that one day one of her daughters—Cathy—came upstairs to complain that littler sister, Karen was making too much noise. Cathy couldn't concentrate on her school project.
Marian instructed Cathy to go back downstairs and tell Karen that Mom wanted her to be a little more quiet while Cathy worked.
So Cathy stomped downstairs and loudly ordered Karen, "Mommy says to shut up!"

Somehow, Marian's gentle words had been lost in the translation from her lips to Cathy's mouth.

I laughed so hard at Marian's story because I can remember skads of times when I was a kid with four siblings. We'd done the same thing when we tried to translate our parent's instructions to one of our sisters or brothers.

As adults I think we have a tendency to change our Heavenly Father's words just a bit so that our own frustrations and emotions come through:
  • Take scripture out of context,
  • Add our own comments or interpretations as if they were equal in authority to God's Word,
  • Use just a bit more emphasis on a word that is not emphasized in the text,
  • Use scripture like a sledgehammer when silence would be more appropriate.
It's not that we don't know what the Bible says.
But we have our own agenda.
Just like Cathy, we'd like to make God's Word fit our present circumstances.
We'd like God's Word to justify our actions and attitudes.

Cathy grew up to become a young woman of grace and sweetness.
But as a child, her lack of maturity showed when she tried to twist her mother's words to serve her own anger, and desire to dominate her younger sister.

Let Cathy's story be a reminder to me to accurately translate God's wise, holy and grace-filled Words.
So that I accomplish His will and not my own.

"Every word of God is flawless;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words,
or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar." (Proverbs 30:6 NIV Bible)

1 comment:

  1. Great analogy, Dena! So often, Christians beat people up with God's Word instead of applying it with love and grace.