When parents avoid conflict, they are avoiding some of the greatest teaching opportunities they will ever have.

Does anyone like conflict?  No. It’s not a fun or enjoyable experience; however it is necessary, and if used properly, conflict can be a precursor to change. It’s very unlikely that a lasting change will come without at least some measure of conflict and struggle. As Ben Franklin put it, “The door to success swings on the hinges of opposition.”

Conflict usually turns ugly when it is met with reluctance, insensitivity or immaturity by either party. It’s a given that our kids will act immature, so it is up to us parents to be mature and take the higher road.

Conflict in and of itself is not what produces change for the better, it is how we respond to it.

Conflict can be a force for good in families, but only if it is dealt with properly. The way we react can either deepen the relationship, or it can tear it down. Most kids simply want to know that they are being heard! Refusing to understand that, and shutting off any form of conflict, can build a wall between you.

Another way walls can build up is to belittle your teen’s thoughts and feelings. The issue may seem like a small or “black and white” matter to you, but it could be confusing and all-encompassing to them. Often when I’m working with a young person I’ll say something like, “I think I understand what you are saying, but let me try to repeat it so I am sure.”  Then, I calmly repeat back what their issue and position is.

You cannot expect your teen to respect you or your rules if you don’t show respect to them.

It’s important to acknowledge your teen’s viewpoint even if you don’t agree with it. Their view may be short-sighted, self-focused and just plain wrong, but it is still one that they are going to want to defend to the hilt.  Your response to their “side” needs to be respectful rather than reactionary, understanding versus judgmental. Even so, if their position conflicts with your rules, and it’s an important matter of character or morality, you might say, “I understand now, but I don’t agree with your conclusion, so we’re not going to follow that path. But let’s keep talking about it so I can better understand why you feel this way.”

Change comes out of relationship. Failing to listen during conflict makes it difficult, if not impossible, for positive change to occur.  More than almost anything else, I work constantly to keep the lines of communication open and to make sure relationships stay intact.  If there is a smaller issue where I can give in without compromising something vital, I do, just so they know I am listening. I don’t want young people to feel that I’m constantly “shooting them down” or turning a deaf ear to their way of thinking. They need to know that their concerns are being heard, for if there is no hope of that, they will either become deceitful and just stop talking, or try other tactics like raging or acting out their anger through their behavior.

Healthy Results of Properly Handling Conflict

Conflict presents a wonderful opportunity to reinforce your values and beliefs. All the things you have been teaching your child before are brought into focus through applying your values to real-life situations. They may not agree with it, but they can at least begin to connect the dots.

Conflict gives you a chance to get to know your child better. Sometimes during conflict, kids are more willing to open up and express themselves.  Be sure you don’t close the door during conflict and allow them to say how they are feeling. They may blurt out things they don’t really mean, or that could shock you, so don’t take offense. We’ve all said things we wish we could take back. Teens do this more often because they haven’t learned how to control their emotions. So try to understand the meaning behind the words and give grace to the actual words that are being said.

Conflict may show you a place where you are wrong. It’s a huge relationship builder to admit a mistake and to tell you child that you are changing your position because of what they said.  This will show them you value them as an independent individual. If you’re wrong, own up to it. If you’re right, don’t cave in just to keep the peace.

Conflict is a crucial preparation for your teen in dealing with future conflict. The skills for dealing with conflict that your teen learns from you will be needed throughout their lives. The adult world is going to require them to resolve issues and conflicts with others, so you need to be sure you are giving them the tools they will need. And one day they will have kids, too, so you can show them the way to positive conflict.

Keep in mind that all of the positives of conflict break down when disrespect creeps in from either party. Name calling, screaming or slamming doors are all acts that your child (and you) should have nothing to do with. When they happen, the discussion needs to be put on hold until cooler heads prevail. That way, the teen knows they won’t get their way just by being angry or disrespectful. In fact, they end up shooting themselves in the foot because they lose the chance to make their case–at least until they can calm down. But be SURE to come back to it and discuss it later that day. Don’t let conflicts fester too long, or they will eventually explode.

My friend Kristen Cummins, a licensed marriage and family therapist, uses the analogy of a bank account to illustrate the impact of conflict on a relationship. “Just like your bank account is built by the deposits you make, a relationship grows as you put more into it.  Conflict handled improperly can make big withdrawals, and if you haven’t already made deposits through meaningful interaction and quality time, the balance can go negative very quickly. It leaves the relationship in bankruptcy.” Here are her pointers for parents dealing with conflict.

The Don’ts of Conflict

1) Don’t allow the crisis at hand to spill over and contaminate the rest of the relationship. It’s easy for the conflict to take over every conversation. Be willing to press the pause button—not to overlook or ignore the problem, but to have time to take a break and re-establish connections over a meal or shared moments that have nothing to do with the conflict at hand.

2) Don’t lose the “concept of we” in middle of the conflict. The relationship that you have been building with your child will bear fruit over time as long as you protect it. The conflict can challenge us as parents, but we need to approach it as an opportunity rather than as a sign of failure on our part. Don’t allow it to create a permanent breach in your relationship.

3) Don’t let conflicts build up—deal with them when they happen. A problem that you overlook doesn’t just go away; it becomes a building block in a wall that can grow and prevent both you and your child from properly responding to future conflicts.  Each one that you address and resolve provides training for future conflicts.

The bottom line of dealing with any conflict is that there are root causes for every behavior. Don’t lose that perspective in the heat of the battle. The symptoms of conflict are not the problem; so you can’t resolve the problem by dealing with the symptoms. Keep the lines of communication open and the relationship strong, and you’ll successfully resolve any conflict that arises in your family. Properly responding starts with faith.  You have to believe that God is big enough to “work all things together for good” as Romans 8:28 tells us…and that He will use the situation to ultimately make things better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a residential program for struggling adolescents located in East Texas. Call . Visit http://www.heartlightministries.org, or to read other articles by Mark, visit http://www.markgregston.com.

 12 ways to love your wayward child

12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

My son Abraham, who speaks from the wisdom of experience and Scripture, has written the article that follows. I read it with tears and laughter. It is so compelling that I asked him immediately if I could share it with the church and the wider Christian community. There is no greater joy than to see your children walking in the truth–and expressing it so well. The rest is Abraham’s untouched. -John Piper

Many parents are brokenhearted and completely baffled by their unbelieving son or daughter. They have no clue why the child they raised well is making such awful, destructive decisions. I’ve never been one of these parents, but I have been one of these sons. Reflecting back on that experience, I offer these suggestions to help you reach out to your wayward child.

1. Point them to Christ.

Your rebellious child’s real problem is not drugs or sex or cigarettes or pornography or laziness or crime or cussing or slovenliness or homosexuality or being in a punk rock band. The real problem is that they don’t see Jesus clearly. The best thing you can do for them–and the only reason to do any of the following suggestions–is to show them Christ. It is not a simple or immediate process, but the sins in their life that distress you and destroy them will only begin to fade away when they see Jesus more like he actually is.

2. Pray.

Only God can save your son or daughter, so keep on asking that he will display himself to them in a way they can’t resist worshiping him for.

3. Acknowledge that something is wrong.

If your daughter rejects Jesus, don’t pretend everything is fine.

For every unbelieving child, the details will be different. Each one will require parents to reach out in unique ways. Never acceptable, however, is not reaching out at all. If your child is an unbeliever, don’t ignore it. Holidays might be easier, but eternity won’t be.

4. Don’t expect them to be Christ-like.

If your son is not a Christian, he’s not going to act like one.

You know that he has forsaken the faith, so don’t expect him to live by the standards you raised him with. For example, you might be tempted to say, “I know you’re struggling with believing in Jesus, but can’t you at least admit that getting wasted every day is sin?”

If he’s struggling to believe in Jesus, then there is very little significance in admitting that drunkenness is wrong. You want to protect him, yes. But his unbelief is the most dangerous problem–not partying. No matter how your child’s unbelief exemplifies itself in his behavior, always be sure to focus more on the heart’s sickness than its symptoms.

5. Welcome them home.

Because the deepest concern is not your child’s actions, but his heart, don’t create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums: “Don’t come to this house if you are…” But these will be rare. Don’t lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by too many rules.

If your daughter smells like weed or an ashtray, spray her jacket with Febreze and change the sheets when she leaves, but let her come home. If you find out she’s pregnant, then buy her folic acid, take her to her twenty-week ultrasound, protect her from Planned Parenthood, and by all means let her come home. If your son is broke because he spent all the money you lent him on loose women and ritzy liquor, then forgive his debt as you’ve been forgiven, don’t give him any more money, and let him come home. If he hasn’t been around for a week and a half because he’s been staying at his girlfriend’s–or boyfriend’s–apartment, plead with him not to go back, and let him come home.

6. Plead with them more than you rebuke them.

Be gentle in your disappointment.

What really concerns you is that your child is destroying herself, not that she’s breaking rules. Treat her in a way that makes this clear. She probably knows–especially if she was raised as a Christian–that what she’s doing is wrong. And she definitely knows you think it is. So she doesn’t need this pointed out. She needs to see how you are going to react to her evil. Your gentle forbearance and sorrowful hope will show her that you really do trust Jesus.

Her conscience can condemn her by itself. Parents ought to stand kindly and firmly, always living in the hope that they want their child to return to.

7. Connect them to believers who have better access to them.

There are two kinds of access that you may not have to your child: geographical and relational. If your wayward son lives far away, try to find a solid believer in his area and ask him to contact your son. This may seem nosy or stupid or embarrassing to him, but it’s worth it–especially if the believer you find can also relate to your son emotionally in a way you can’t.

Relational distance will also be a side effect of your child leaving the faith, so your relationship will be tenuous and should be protected if at all possible. But hard rebuke is still necessary.

This is where another believer who has emotional access to your son may be very helpful. If there is a believer who your son trusts and perhaps even enjoys being around, then that believer has a platform to tell your son–in a way he may actually pay attention to–that he’s being an idiot. This may sound harsh, but it’s a news flash we all need from time to time, and people we trust are usually the only ones who can package a painful rebuke so that it is a gift to us.

A lot of rebellious kids would do well to hear that they’re being fools–and it is rare that this can helpfully be pointed out by their parents–so try to keep other Christians in your kids lives.

8. Respect their friends.

Honor your wayward child in the same way you’d honor any other unbeliever. They may run with crowds you’d never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child’s friends. Respect that–even if the relationship is founded on sin. They’re bad for your son, yes. But he’s bad for them, too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don’t like who he’s hanging around with.

When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend–one you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again–be hospitable. She’s also someone’s wayward child, and she needs Jesus, too.

9. Email them.

Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids’ lives so easily!

When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ’s joy in your own life.

Don’t stress out when you’re composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out one after another, and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child’s inbox. God’s word is never proclaimed in vain.

10. Take them to lunch.

If possible, don’t let your only interaction with your child be electronic. Get together with him face to face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me that it’s far worse to be in the child’s shoes–he is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. So if he is willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God, and use the opportunity.

It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life, since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know you care about all of him. Then, before lunch is over, pray that the Lord will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. You don’t know how he’ll respond. Will he roll his eyes like you’re an idiot? Will he get mad and leave? Or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don’t know until you risk asking.

(Here’s a note to parents of younger children: Set up regular times to go out to eat with your kids. Not only will this be valuable for its own sake, but also, if they ever enter a season of rebellion, the tradition of meeting with them will already be in place and it won’t feel weird to ask them out to lunch. If a son has been eating out on Saturdays with his dad since he was a tot, it will be much harder for him later in life to say no to his father’s invitation–even as a surly nineteen-year-old.)

11. Take an interest in their pursuits.

Odds are that if your daughter is purposefully rejecting Christ, then the way she spends her time will probably disappoint you. Nevertheless, find the value in her interests, if possible, and encourage her. You went to her school plays and soccer games when she was ten; what can you do now that she’s twenty to show that you still really care about her interests?

Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn’t even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind of parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to that dank little nightclub where your daughter’s CD release show is. Encourage her and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gifts for Jesus’ glory instead her own.

12. Point them to Christ.

This can’t be over-stressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn’t to help them know Jesus.

Jesus.

It’s not so that they will be good kids again; it’s not so that they’ll get their hair cut and start taking showers; it’s not so that they’ll like classical music instead of deathcore; it’s not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study; it’s not so that they’ll vote conservative again by the next election; it’s not even so that you can sleep at night, knowing they’re not going to hell.

The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, email them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Christ.

And not only is he the only point–he’s the only hope. When they see the wonder of Jesus, satisfaction will be redefined. He will replace the pathetic vanity of the money, or the praise of man, or the high, or the orgasm that they are staking their eternities on right now. Only his grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself–captive, but satisfied.

He will do this for many. Be faithful and don’t give up.

© Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org.

Email: mail desiringGod org.

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 WrittenAbraham

When parents avoid conflict

dirty cocoa mouthDirty Cocoa Mouth!

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 When we attempt to live our lives according to God’s standards and not our own, we are called to live at a higher standard.

Every moment of the day we are faced with the choice to use our mouths for good or for evil, sometimes we slip up and things come out that we deeply regret. It is our responsibility to ask the Holy Spirit to continuously help us to guard what comes out of our mouths.

 The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead us into all truth, meaning that he will show us when we have deviated from the truth of God’s word.

 Pro 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. 

Pro 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Pro 4:24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

 Above are a few of the verses about the power that our tongue has to set the course of our lives. We have to choose continuously to guard our lips from saying things that could potentially harm another person. This is often hard to do as we find ourselves with words that flow way faster than our brains often do.

 The following is an excerpt from an apology letter that was written from a dear friend of mine. I thought that it absolutely conveyed the thoughts of most of us. I am sure that you will be able to relate to her words…

Open mouth. Insert foot.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you open your mouth…
(need I say more?) Should I say more? should I say, “I” instead of “YOU”?
I open my mouth at which point I might just as well insert my foot, because anything else coming OUT of the mouth won’t be much better than stinky feet.
To make matters worse, there’s a little voice inside my head saying, “DON’T!!!! Don’t go down that path!”
But, I choose to ignore it.  Open mouth. Insert foot.
The words come pouring forth.  The path widens before me like a candy, chocolate covered wonderland, and for a moment looks just as delicious.  As I finish my first sentence and taste the words, some how they don’t taste as good as I thought.  The proverbial “eyes were bigger than my stomach” well, this time my tongue was bigger than my heart!
Although my heart meant well, I choose to turn a deaf ear to the still small voice and venture on.  The candy melts on the end of my tongue like mud drips off an icicle on the back of your car.  Not sweet.  Not chocolate.  Not edifying.

Now the words are out.  I chose the path.  I have to find my way back. 
Silence.  Apology.  Those would be good options, but, instead I choose to talk on.
Open mouth, change feet.
In attempts to repair the damages, to spit out the melted mud that I once thought would taste like chocolate, I find that the lollipop I thought I was licking is really just a piece of dry wool.
Mouth now full of lint and dirt, I might as well change the subject, because there is no repairing this.

In our attempts to fix our little broken worlds, and speaks words of kindness, we some how seem to make matters worse. All our attempts at kindness are broken or at best come from cracked pots.  Sometimes the crack is just a little too close to the bottom where the years of dirt have accumulated and once in a while some dirt gets out on others.  We try to hide the cracks…try to turn the vessel around so people see the “pretty side.”  But, from time to time we get twisted around, and the cracks show, and sometimes, the sludge at the bottom comes out.

At this point in the letter came the apology, and as you can see it was definitely heart felt.

I pray that you to would allow the Holy Spirit within you to reveal to you when you have let your mouth run off with words that you later regret; that you will humble yourself and ask him to forgive you for using your mouth in a way that does not edify the other person.  I pray that you would also go to that other person and ask them to forgive you for using your words to bring harm to them.

Practicing this principle of guarding your mouth will bring you much peace and joy in your life.

So the next time you are tempted to let your mouth run wild, please remember these great words, and listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. That way you will not have to go and apologize for having a Dirty Cocoa Mouth.

Not enjoying the moment.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 I feel like I am in a place in my walk with God, where I am being stretched and asked to grow and to be honest it is not all that comfortable. Sometimes I wish I could just learn all I need to know the easy way and not have to go through all of the growing pains to get there.

 One of the great lessons that I believe that God is trying to teach me once again is to live in the moment, and to actually enjoy it. I find myself often dreaming of what is around the corner instead of what is right in front of me. The result of living like this is that I often miss out on what is important. Like appreciating the fact that I have my health, a home to live in that is warm (most of the time). That I have food to eat and a family that loves me.

 I often miss out on the little things like appreciating when my daughter comes and wants to cuddle, or wants to play a game with me, because I am busy and need to be doing something “more important”. Or when I hear the birds chirping, or the sky changes, I often miss it due to the fact that my mind and heart is already working on tomorrow and not on today.

 Over the years, I believe that the lord has given me specific words of encouragement and instructions about what he was going to be bringing into my life. I foolishly thought that these things were going to happen right away, so I would get all excited about the prospect of the change, not realizing that often times God would need to work a heart change within me in order to bring about the word that He had given to me.

 I would find my self in a place of constant anticipation for what I knew was ahead, making plans in my mind and heart to accommodate what was to occur. The problem being that I would get so caught up in what was ahead and how amazing it would be, that I would become dissatisfied with what was right in front of me.

 So how has God cured me of the “Look ahead disease”, well I am a work in progress, but one thing I can tell you is that in those moments of anxiety of waiting for what is coming I have learnt to cry out to God.

 I have learnt to lay aside my agenda, and thoughts about how I think he should fulfill his word in my life. I have learnt that God is very interested in the state of my heart, and what is occupying it.

I have discovered that carrying around sin, will separate me from God and close off my ears to hear what he is trying to say to me. It will also close my eyes to the paths that he wants me to walk on.

 I have discovered that if I am to live out my Christian faith in a way that pleases God all the time, then I need to be willing to be transparent with what is really in my heart. I need to bring whatever it is that is hindering me hearing him, to his alter and ask for forgiveness and leave it there.

 I need to be willing to learn his wisdom and knowledge, by spending time in the word of God. I need to change my thinking and allow the word of God to act as my plumb line, or guiding point for my life.

 When I am living my life with an attitude of surrender to God and his will for my life, I will then learn to stop and appreciate all that is in front of me right now. I will learn to wait patiently for him to work his perfect will in my life, changing my heart and therefore preparing me for what he has for me in the future.

 I need to be all here, in the moment, in order to enjoy the privilege of being all there, when his words for my future are finally worked out in my life as well.

 The following passage of Scripture has become almost a rallying cry from my heart as my desire is to know and walk in the perfect will of God.

 Colossians 1: 9 – 14

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 The apostle Paul tells us in this passage that we can ask God to fill us with the knowledge of his will, through all of God’s wisdom and understanding.

  •  So that our lives will bear good fruit in everything that we put our hands to.
  • We as Christians can grow in the knowledge of God
  • That knowledge will strengthen us with all power according to the glorious might of God.
  • This will enable us to then have great endurance and patience (waiting for the lord to reveal his will to us, in different situations)
  • We will also be able to joyfully give thanks to God our father because he has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints of the kingdom of light.
  • (Our eternal inheritance, which is kept in heaven waiting for us)
  • God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness (from sin and the depravity that it has brought to our lives)
  • Through Christ Jesus, God has brought us into the kingdom of the Son that he loves – Jesus Christ.
  • Through Jesus, we have redemption – and the forgiveness of all of our sins.

 My prayer for you is that you will learn from me that it is so important to enjoy what God has placed in your hand today. If he has spoken to you about what he wants to bring about for the future, enjoy the journey of getting there.

  There might be mountain top experiences as well as deep dark valleys along the way, but through it all, he is shaping you in order that you will be able to walk with a God confidence when the time finally comes to step into what he has prepared for you.

 So take some time today and enjoy the moments; ask God to open up your eyes to see the divine appointments that he has waiting for you. Ask Him to enable you to bear good fruit in all that you do as it will bring him glory.

 Then take the time to rejoice and thank him for qualifying you through His son, Jesus Christ, to share in an inheritance that is being prepared for you in heaven. Praise him that you are no longer part of the dominion of darkness and that you are forgiven and set free from all of your sins. Thank Him that you have a new life, one that is to be lived for His glory.

 I pray that you will be blessed today, as you patiently wait for the lord to work out his perfect will for your life.

 Amen.

God vs Science

I recieved the following email from a friend recently and thought it was very interesting and decided that I would share it with you. The reason being is that my children are at this moment being forced in School to study Evolution as a fact. Even though they know it to be a lie. They have argued with their teachers on this matter but unfortunately to no avail. It seems to me that people would rather believe anything but that truth these days.

This article just shows that we have to stand up for truth and righteousness in our day and age. We must not be intimated by the lies that people try to teach us, but we do need to know the truth and stand up for that truth.

God vs Science

 “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.”

The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says.

‘So you believe in God?’

‘Absolutely ‘

‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’

‘Yes’

‘Are you good or evil?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent.. ‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. ‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’

‘Er..yes,’ the student says.

‘Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one.. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student falters. ‘From God’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’

‘Yes’

‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes..’

‘So who created them ?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’     he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’

‘Yes’

‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist… What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies.. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat? ‘

‘ Yes.

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that.

There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.. Absolute zero ( -458 F ) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains.. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.’ ‘It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.

 To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’ ‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. ‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’ The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter.

‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so… So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’ ‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I Guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’ Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it Everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in The multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God.. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil.

Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

PS:  The student was Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein wrote a book titled God vs. Science in 1921