Even though my father died in 2010, I still hear his voice. Joe Easley was a man of sayings.
- Turn the light off when you leave the room.
- Do it now or sooner.
- Easleys tell the truth.
- Don’t confuse other people’s problems with your own.
- The reward of work is not the end of work but the work itself.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
- By the yard it’s hard, by the inch it’s a cinch.
And many others.
When I was a child, my dad’s sayings annoyed me. When I became a man, they brought a smile to my face. When I became a father, it only seemed fair that I bequeath them to my children.
Perhaps no task is as daunting as parenting.
We want our kids to know Christ, to tell the truth and to be people of good character and courage. So what do we do? We drill sayings of all kinds into their heads. We repeat these truisms and principles over and over and over hoping they’ll stick. Too soon, all kids test the boundaries to see what they can get away with and if we are good to our word.
Even when our children become young adults and even marry, we still have the urge to remind them of the things we told them all their lives. The adage you never stop parenting may be true, but at same time, how and when do we remind them?
Peter’s readers were scattered throughout the Roman world, persecuted and attacked for their belief in Christ. Into that world, God’s word came to these believers to encourage them in their suffering and in 2 Peter, warn them of the insidious danger of false teaching. False doctrine is deadly.
Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder. – 2 Peter 1:12–13 (NASB)
In these verses the apostle is careful that his readers not think he was overbearing. It seems he’s saying, I know you know these things but I’m going to tell you again…
Perhaps it is like a parent telling his / her child, I know you know this, and I know I’ve told you many times, but I want to be certain you are firm in your understanding. The word “established” means to be fixed firmly in place, set up, or to cause to be inwardly firm or committed.
To paraphrase, Even though you know these things, and they are fixed in your mind, and you are committed to them, I want to impress them all the more.
Peter underscores his rationale for reminding them of what they know because he considers it right. Right in the New Testament stresses a high standard, what is upright, fair and just. It can be used to mean righteousness, a major theological idea throughout Scripture. It can refer to an upright person and being righteous in the sight of God and walking blamelessly.
Some believe Peter was near death. The date of his letter and his reference as long as I am in this earthly dwelling strongly suggests he is thinking of his mortality. If we think of 2 Peter as a man’s dying words, they may take on a heavier weight.
Finally, he colorfully writes, to stir you up. The HCSB translates it as to wake you up. Both are good renderings. How many times have we had to wake our kids on school mornings? And if we didn’t wake them up, they’d oversleep and be late? All four of my children responded in a variety of ways: groggy, grumpy, tried to ignore me, or occasionally startled and jumped out of bed. What a great picture of not slumbering away or forgetting what we have been taught, but a “snap out of it” and “wake up” reminder.
A good rule of thumb is not only repetition, but restatement. Sometimes we know the right thing to do, but it just might be a friendly reminder from another believer that cements the decision for us.
We all have a sphere of influence. Our families, friends, or we lead a company or group.
So let me ask the question, is there a proper time for you to remind others of things that they know?
An axiom I’ve lived by for many years is do the right thing in the right way, and then go home. At first blush, it sounds cliché, but I’d suggest there’s some substance in that statement. We can, in fact, do the right thing in the wrong way or the wrong thing in the right way. The principle requires both content and timing.
So whether we’re parenting, encouraging our spouse, leading a group, or just being a solid believer in the place we’re planted, we may need to remind folks. Or, better yet, what do you need to be reminded of?
- Christ loves you.
- Sin will never satisfy us. It’s a lie we choose to believe.
- You know, deep inside, this is the wrong decision.
- Will this push you towards Christ or pull you away from Him?
- God is not mad at you. He loves you and wants you to trust Him, not yourself.
- Good and godly people struggle with this all the time. What do you think makes the difference?
A word of caution. None of us may play the legalist or Holy Spirit. We’re certainly not the apostle Peter. But we can lovingly, graciously remind other believers to do what they know is good and godly.
And by the way, turn the light off when you leave the room.