Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Attitude Adjustments

"Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respect them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Heb.12:9.

"Father of spirits" in the Mitchell translation reads "Mentor of attitudes", a novel idea. The concept of God as a celestial attitude adjuster differs dramatically from Mitchell's understanding.

According to dictionary.com mentor means to act as a wise trusted counselor/teacher or influential supporter/sponsor. Correction, on the other hand, can be providing advice and council which may take the form of punishment with the intent to reform, improve or rehabilitate. It is to chastise or reprove.

I viewed God as an attitude adjuster, one who monitored my behavior. When (not if) I veered off course, He would set me straight. He is after all perfect, and He does after all demand perfection...right?

Suppose for a moment that Mitchell is correct. What could an attitude mentoring session with God sound like?

God: "Hmm, a bit harsh. Did you really mean to use that tone of voice?"
Me: "Well no...but they deserved it. You saw it God. What they did was just plain wrong."
God: "Even so, would you want Me to talk to you like that?"
Me: "No...but if I don't stand up for myself and set them straight now, they'll just keep doing the same thing over and over again."
God: "Interesting perspective. In the future is this how I should correct you? You know, set you straight?"
Me: No...but this is different. They really hurt my feelings. I just gave them a taste of their own medicine to see how they liked it."
God: "Well now, since you're on the job, I guess I can resign my position as the Great Physician and let you take over. You seem to know just what people need."
Me: No, I didn't mean it that way...but if I don't watch out for myself, no one else will."
Maybe I shouldn't have said that.
God: "Really? Well I glad I know what you think about my ability to care for you."
Me: No.......(really squirming now)...but You seem so busy all the time and it feels like I get lost in the shuffle most of the time."
God: If I understand you correctly, you see me as sort of a slacker, undependable."
Me: No, I wouldn't put it that way... but you could show up on time more often when I'm in a tight spot. Maybe toss a miracle my way now and then."
God: Let me see if I've got this straight. You're disappointed with me because I don't rescue you when you get in a jam. When things get tough you to take matters into your own hands. So, should I treat you the same way you treat repeat offenders?"
Me: no.....
God: Well, it seems you've finally run out of buts, so now will you let me help you?

Without lightning bolts or caustic words, God performs radical surgery on our attitudes and never loses the patient on the table. He doesn't leave us crippled emotionally and stunted but gently guides us past all our buts to the one aspect of conflict we can control...ourselves. He'll provide the right attitude for every situation. More often He'll propose the "soft answer turns away wrath" approach, not only as our response to others but also as His relates to us.

I think I'll opt for the mentoring program. My attitude needs continuous work and a consistent dose of His wise counsel sounds like a solid and less painful treatment plan. Instead of bracing for an angry outburst, I'll anticipate His quiet faithful application of trustworthy advice and help.

How about you? Do you see God as the Angry Corrector or the Wise Mentor? In the past, how has He gently worked with you to re-phrase your response to a difficult situation? When you have blown it, how has He gently corrected you in order to be more Christ-like the next time?

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