James 3:17-18 (NASB)17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, REASONABLE, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
“There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable: those who serve God with all their heart because they know Him,
and those who seek Him with all their heart because they do not know Him.” – Blaise Pascal
The above quote can make sense because Psalm 14:1 states that one who says there is no God is a fool, Psalm 14:1 therefore not wise.
Therefore, the one who is either seeking to truly know God or already has a personal relationship with Him can be considered ‘reasonable’.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
This month’s focus is on being reasonable. The ESV Bible uses the words, “open to reason;” NKJV translates it as “willing to yield.” To further examine the word reasonable we should each ask ourselves these difficult, yet worthy questions:
- Am I truly open to reason?
- Am I willing to examine and/or have my ideas examined?
- If someone wants to discuss my thoughts or advice, does such a discussion lead to an argument?
- Do I become defensive or give the silent treatment because I have become offended beyond words?
- Does willing to yield describe me?
- Do I find myself always having the last word and/or always having to be right?
- Is submission a word I would rather ignore than apply?
Why does James state that wisdom from above is reasonable? Because wisdom from God is governed (controlled, guided) by reason and it is that wisdom that helps us recognize truth. In addition, if we lack wisdom, we can ask God, who gives generously to all. (James 1:5) Wisdom that is reasonable helps us distinguish truth from error or misunderstanding.
Another aspect of being reasonable involves listening. Listening gives us a chance to understand before drawing conclusions and responding. Self-control is necessary to listen well and to be attentive to what is being communicated. James 1:19 states, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath/anger.” Provers 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath…” It can be difficult to learn that our thinking is erroneous, especially when it is specifically pointed out to us. But if we are wise and reasonable, we will graciously put aside our inaccurate thoughts and proceed with prudence and patience. To be reasonable implies humility, a heart willing to yield. The truism, “actions speak louder than words” will either refute or give credence to our reasonableness. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” (Phil 4:5 ESV)
Questions and Answers:
Question: When is a child old enough to reason with?
Answer: It isn’t as much the matter of what ‘age’ a child is when it comes to the concept of ‘reasoning with’, rather does the child have the moral principles in his or her ‘moral warehouse’ or heart from which to draw from in order to ‘reason’? Asking ‘why’ questions of your child can help provide a window into his heart. As a parent, having an awareness of what is in a child’s heart then provides direction as to how to proceed — either reinforcing his thinking or instructing by providing the moral reason. Since we are parenting for the future, giving our children the necessary ‘tools’ to make good decisions, we need to infuse in them the wisdom and truth they need to make good decisions. Practically speaking, reasoning with a child does not mean Mom must download all the reasons why or why not a certain behavior or action should occur. Rather, over the course of time, as mom and dad have placed the age appropriate ‘why’ in their child’s moral warehouse, they begin to use questions encouraging the child to draw upon those principles and so the child begins to see how the principles apply to many situations in their life. These questions may also reveal areas where more biblical or practical input is needed. It’s an opportunity for parents to impart principle, wisdom and reason into the child so they can pull from that knowledge to make decisions about how to respond in life situations.
The Discipline of Sobermindedness
The CFH Board shares insights about how fear, the busyness of life, and past experiences can overtake our thoughts and cause us to abandon clear thinking. Suggestions are given as to the importance of soberminded living and what it looks like to walk sobermindedly in our present culture. To order click here
Reasonable – governed by reason, thinking speaking or acting rationally, open to reason
Reason – n. a faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes truth from falsehood, good from evil, which enables the person to deduce inferences from fact (v.) to debate or discuss.
Submissive – yielding to the will or power of another; humble.
Isaiah 1:18-20 “come now, let us reason” and similar thoughts of speaking rationally are included in Acts 17:2; Acts. 18:4 & Acts 24:25
“Reasoning” is a skill that can be taught and exercised. When preparing our little ones between ages 3-5 for the next level of moral training, be sure to provide a ‘reflective’ time, a time for input retrieval. Can they tell you what they did wrong, and why they are being corrected for a certain behavior? This helps train a child to ‘reason’ and be responsible for the information placed in his moral warehouse. Knowing he’ll be held responsible for the information, he will become a better listener. Allowing your child ‘reflective time’ will: 1) help to prevent having a child who does not “remember” why 2) it helps avoid ‘prompting’ to the correct answer and 3) it avoids receiving a ‘parroted’ response from the child believing “this is what mom wants to hear.”
In later years when the pre-teen or teen is challenged with new ideas or beliefs that need to be discussed, the moral principle in his heart will surface as a mom or dad uses their ‘relational influence’ to guide the discussion. Parents of teens will achieve more in the communication process when the interaction is a ‘dialogue’ [reasoning together] not a monologue [lecture]. They need to have the freedom to either accept or reject their parents opinion without dad or mom taking offense. Seek the Lord for wisdom to know how, when and if to address areas that are not mandated by either direct precept or indirect principle in God’s word. Not everything falls neatly into the ‘morally wrong’ category according to scripture; rather it’s a wisdom issue.
One additional thought regarding “reasoning together” involves husband/wife. Set aside time to discuss and come to a mutual agreement, about truly biblical mandates from God and those things you have made into mandates for your family. From toddler to teen being reasonable is a skill to be taught, honed, evaluated and re-evaluated throughout your parenting journey.
Meet the Board – Bethany Mounts
Family: My husband, Brian, and I have been married 20 years as of May 2014. It still feels like yesterday! We have 3 sons… Camden is 17, Burke is 15 and Gus is 12. Our family chose home school for education into the middle school years. Each of our sons transferred to public school in different grades, based on God’s direction and timing. They are currently in 11th, 9th and 6th grades, with Gus’s transition being the earliest.
History with CFH: I joined the board in October 2013 and I am honored to be serving alongside my fellow board members as Vice President.
We were introduced to GFI through Prep for Parenting when Brian and I listened to the cassette tapes while waiting for our first baby’s birth. I can’t imagine how our parenting journey would have unfolded without Prep to guide us. Camden was a perfect Prep baby— two and a half years later…. Burke, not so much! It was then I learned of the Contact Mom ministry as I was put in touch with a mom who helped me answer questions about my second son. When we attended a GFI National conference about a year later, I was encouraged to consider becoming a Contact Mom myself. So in 2003 I completed the application process and began helping moms as I had been helped. GFI has been a part of our family from the beginning through leading classes, attending conferences, the Contact Mom ministry and now serving CFH.
Our Hometown: We currently live near Charleston, SC and we hope to stay here for quite a while! Previously we lived in Barbados for 4 years and we have roots in IN, WI, KY and OH. Knowing we were returning stateside, we prayed for a chance to live near a GFI community. Little did we know He would do above all we could ask or imagine by providing a job for Brian right here in Charleston where we are blessed with a strong community!
Things I Enjoy: This year has been one of transition since I worked myself out of my job as a homeschool mom. I have time now to volunteer with the high school band and middle school orchestra that my boys are involved in. Couch Time often turns into an after dinner walk for me and Brian. I enjoy knitting and recipe reading. And now that I have a bit of extra time, we actually get to taste some of those recipes!