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Pastor's Column

Don't be so stubborn

  Has anyone ever accused you of being stubborn?  I recall back in my seminary days mentioning to my Old Testament Hebrew Professor, Dr. Peters, that my grandfather was born in Stettin, Pomerania, a province in northeast Germany, now a part of Poland.  My professor's comment was, "The Pommern are very stubborn."
  I didn't know if I was to take his comment personally or as a generalization.  Stubbornness is not only a German trait but it shows up
to a degree in every human being.  Even little children display a bit of stubbornness when they defy guidelines set down by their parents.  "Don't climb on the ladder, Junior.  You might fall and get hurt."  "Crash! Cry!"
  In one of his many books Richard Carlson in "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" suggests a practical way to deal with the problem of stubbornness.  His strategy is to write down the five things you are most stubborn about - things like: "Men aren't good listeners."  "Women spend too much money." It helps a person identify where our worst problems with stubbornness lie so we can deal with them.  Carlson admits the first time he tried it he
insisted he wasn't stubborn.
 He tells of a friend who stubbornly insisted, to the point of being obnoxious, that his wife spent too much money.  As he started writing, he
was more than a little embarrassed to discover that he actually spent more discretionary money on himself than his wife spent on herself.  His
stubborn attitude softened considerably and their marriage improved immensely.
  We might say a stubborn attitude is part of our human nature.  In fact most often it can be traced to our sinful nature.  The word "stubborn", or its translation equivalent, is found a half dozen times in the Bible. Every time it refers to a sinful, defiant, arrogant, idolatrous, wicked,
rebellious attitude on the part of people who are in the process of wandering away from God.  (Deuteronomy 9:27; 21:18,20;  Psalm 78:8; 
Proverbs 7:11;  I Samuel 15:23;  Judges 2:19)
  It might prove helpful writing down your five most prominent reasons for being stubborn and then asking yourself if it makes sense to continue being an obstinate, stubborn so-and-so.  But the Bible has even better advice.
  Look up and memorize several of the beautiful verses in the Bible that melt our stubborn, sinful hearts and that remind us of God's great
forgiving love for us in his Son Jesus Christ.  Verses like I John 1:9 ...3:1 will do.  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness...How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!"
  How can we remain in our stubborn, obstinate, and selfish ways with the love of Christ filling our hearts?  I Corinthians 13:4-5 says, "Love is
patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."  Notice: it does not say, Love is stubborn."



(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News