Why I’m Teaching My Kids to be Contrary

By October 19, 2012General

Lessons from the Road Rage Files

The other day one of my children came to me and said, “Mama? Sometimes when someone isn’t nice to me, I just want to think mean thoughts about them. I try not to think mean thoughts but it’s hard because I’m mad. I know I shouldn’t, but what can I do?”

Not so ironically, I happened to be a little grumpy with someone that very day and had the same struggle. The Lord had dealt gently with me just in time to share what I had learned. So I told the story…

“Well, sweetheart, I actually had a hard time with this today too. When I was running errands, someone made a very bad choice while driving and almost crashed into us. I was very mad and did not think nice thoughts about them at first. It made me feel angry and mad, but God reminded me that He doesn’t want me to walk around grumpy. He reminded me that He wants me to…

not repay evil for evil, but on the contrary, repay evil with blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9

So I traded in my mean thoughts and prayed for that man. I didn’t want to at first, so I had to choose to do it.

Through gritted teeth, I prayed that, “he would become a wise man who follows after God. I prayed that he would be a faithful and loving husband and a father who leads his family with courage and strength. I prayed that he would be a man of integrity at his job and bring honor to God with his words and actions.”

By the time I was done praying, I saw that man differently. I really DID want those things for him. And my anger? Gone.”

We had a great little conversation and they really seemed to get it. (Side note: Can I just say that having older kids is SO fun…it’s amazing to see the lights go on, to see them claiming truth for their own.)

Tempation Must Always be Replaced With Vision

photo credit

When we try to stop doing something bad, we need to fill it with something good. Otherwise, it’s like telling someone on a cliff “don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down.”

What are they going to do? Look down.

Our flesh is like slime waiting to fill every empty nook and cranny. To turn from evil without doing good is like running from a bully by going into a dark alley. It’s not gonna end well. We need to run to our Father’s arms.

“turn from evil AND do good, seek peace AND pursue it” 1 Peter 3:10

I want to instill in them vision for what they SHOULD be doing instead of fear of what they SHOULDN’T be doing.

My prayer isn’t that my kids will run away from bad things. My prayer is that they will to run to Jesus so fully that everything else pales in comparison.

The first step in making that a reality in their lives is to make it a reality in my own. So today, I choose (by the grace of God) to do my best to show them how to live a contrary life…especially around bad drivers.

Will you take the “Contrary Challenge” today? When (if) you have negative thought about someone today, choose to pray a prayer of blessing instead. Pray for their health, relationship with God, family, integrity and anything else you can think of.

Tell us in the comments if you’re joining us today and let’s all pray for one another!

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  • Shawna says:

    Wow…. I had just read your post this morning about creating partnerships for encouragement and accountability for changes I want to make in my life…I wanted to be around people who would uplift me. Afterwards, I made a little list (thinking on paper of types) of how I could create one or more partnerships to help me…. I was running into a dilemma with that because my close friends and family have different work schedules, family situations, etc. I was left contemplating about that maybe I was just going to have to uplift myself (not something I’m good at, AT ALL) Then comes this post….. I guess encouragement and uplifting thoughts and attitudes can be found everywhere if I am looking for them… Thank you.

  • Mel says:

    A few months ago I was cut off in traffic and then, awkwardly, we ended up at the same destination. With very few people. Oh, and did I mention I glared at her for cutting me off, then we realized the people she was meeting knew the people I was meeting? We weren’t required to interact, went our separate ways, and later she took it upon herself to approach me and apologize! I was humbled, convicted about my own attitude, impressed, and prayed blessings for her. So fast forward a few months and I realized that an awesome lady I had just met and was serving with in a Bible teaching group was the same person! Ironically, we had spent about two hours together IN HER CAR and at the time neither of us realized who the other was. I figured it out later and we talked about it but its funny how these things work sometimes.

  • Carrie says:

    Excellent post. I suffer from negativity and to think badly about someone who has wronged me is my learned, knee jerk response. I love how you consciously chose to pray for the driver rather than curse and fall into meanness. Not easy! This will certainly be on my mind this weekend. Blessings.

  • Arlene Hopkins says:

    “Hate cannot get rid of Hate, only love can do that. Darkness cannot get rid of darkness, only light can do that.”
    I struggled with this for years while in an unhealthy marriage. Since leaving this situation, I have healed. However, I still have to deal with this from the one person. I pray for him everyday, when I really want to pray for myself. ~Matthew 5:44

  • Wow…what an amazing post. I want to take the challenge. Thank you.

  • Elise says:

    beautiful truth!!

    Joining this challenge today!

  • Chistina says:

    My prayer isn’t that my kids will run away from bad things. My prayer is that they will to run to Jesus so fully that everything else pales in comparison.

    I just love this! I’m praying this for my sister today too. Thank you so much.

  • Sharon says:

    I’m joining in! Sure wish I’d read this this morning before I let myself get angry….

  • Pam says:

    I am joining in the challenge & offering it to my son. He is 15 & out of patience with many, many people in our society. What a great reminder to extend God’s grace. Thanks!

  • Love this and completely agree πŸ™‚ I did a group study once on a book and that was one of the author’s suggestions that really stuck with me–pray for someone you’re irritated at. (Of course, it’s the very same thing Jesus says for us to do, so I’m not sure why it took a book author to tell me that, except that she also had modern day examples….)

    Anyway, I digress. I have found the same thing you did–that if I am genuinely praying for blessings in someone’s life, it’s hard to stay grumpy about it. God will change our hearts if we let Him.

    • Cheryl Love says:

      The key is the “doing it even though I don’t feel like it” part. It can feel fake to pray for someone who has hurt or offended you, but as you said, stepping out to pray in obedience, even though you’d rather think bad thoughts (and feel justified in doing so), well that obedience is what Jesus rewards. It’s so hard to do and I believe that’s why our Father gives us so many opportunities to exercise this spiritual muscle!

  • P.J. says:

    Thank you so much for all the encouraging words here! I love the Bible verses! πŸ™‚ “God bless us everyone.”