The Bible As a Basis for Good Mental Health
What I Want for Mother's Day
When I was a little girl, I would ask my mother what she wanted for Mother's Day. Her answer was always the same: "I just want you to be a good little girl." Not that I was a particularly bad child, mind you. What she meant was that nothing . . . no thing . . .was worth more to her than my good behavior--meeting her expectations. I would really rather have just bought something for her!
She taught us "The Golden Rule"--to treat others the way we would like to be treated; to be kind to others, don't fight with your brothers and sister, and share what you have with anyone who needs it.
(Thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself.)
She continually reminded us to, "Do as I say, and do it because I said so!" And furthermore, she taught us not to care what someone else does, because if they jumped into a lake, would I, too? (Honor your Father and Mother.)
(Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain), but if we did, there was plenty of pink IGA dish soap to wash those filthy words (and many others) right out of our mouths!
She expected my sister and me to "act like a lady;" and to be a "nice girl," especially since "boys cannot be trusted." (Thou shalt not commit adultery; that in matters of sex our words and conduct are purely wholesome and honorable." from Martin Luther's Catechism.)
She expected us to be honest: "Don't take each other's toys or clothing without ASKING for permission, and generally, don't take anything that doesn't belong to you!" She said that finders were NOT keepers, and losers were NOT weepers--as long as there was a Lost and Found box somewhere. (Thou shalt not steal.)
I was told that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," but since I never saw any glass houses in Stratford, I figured this meant don't throw a rock through somebody's window. As an adult, I know that it means to examine my own behavior first, before criticizing someone else. I also knew I was supposed to sweep my own doorstep first, (but since I wasn't big on cleaning, I wasn't planning on sweeping anybody's doorstep, anyway.) And, for Heaven's sake, "If you can't say someting nice, say nothing at all!" (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.)
We were expected to work hard, and not care what anyone else has. We were reminded to appreciate what we had (because there were plenty of starving children in Africa who would be more than happy to eat some delicious tuna casserole!") (Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions.)
Above all, she taught us to rely on God for our hope and strength. She frequently gave examples of near brushes with death, and other difficult struggles, when her personal relationship with God was what got her through anything. (Thou shalt have no other gods before me.)
She encouraged us to go to Sunday School and church and pay attention, because later, as the week went on, she would ask us, "Is THAT what you learned in Sunday School??" (Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.)
She knew that an abiding faith in God was like an umbrella that would protect us from the storms of life--storms that she knew would inevitably come to pass. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength.)
I realized, only much later, that these "rules" she had for her children were really the same rules God has for all of his children. If you were listening closely, you just heard a mother's version of "The Ten Commandments" . . . interpreted . . . as only a mother can.