"You always, and you never" has been the muttering mantra of exasperated parents since like.. FOREVER. Typically it goes something like this. "Billy, you ALWAYS leave your homework until the last minute!" or "Susie you NEVER get through dinner without fighting with your sister."
I must confess, my mom & dad never said to me, "Son, you ALWAYS do your chores without us even asking, and you NEVER complain about it."
But after High School, I moved out on my own and out of ear shot of my parent's 'you ALWAYS or YOU nevers'. I was now living in the land of grown ups, working a grown up job, and married a wonderful 'grown up' Christian woman. I made no time for any weak you ALWAYS or you NEVER accusations.. UNTIL my marriage introduced a new 'strain' in the form of the dreaded Honey-Do-List. And though my wife is very patient with me, it is fair to say Jeff ALWAYS need to be reminded to work on 'the list', and Jeff will NEVER finish it.
But to fair, a honey-do-list has no real end.
Then kids entered our lives and I discovered the Lion King 'circle of life' for Norwegians regarding those timeless you ALWAYS and you NEVER comments. I remember specifically my son Curtis ALWAYS having a reason/excuse for everything. I nicknamed Yanna Nobutt a fictitious Yugoslavian Tennis player because whenever his actions were in question he would reply "ya, I know, but.." then followed with his excuse de jure.
Truth is my kids were pretty good, and though there were plenty of times where they tried our patience and boundaries.. I did learn that You always and you never.. is not the right message.
In hindsight I also recognize the irony of me lecturing my kids about homework considering I was jjust a C+ B- student who ALWAYS missed too much school, and NEVER did his homework. Then to show God has a sense of humor.. I married a school teacher!
Now while this all makes good fodder for my smirking blog as I reminisce on my lifetime of you ALWAYS & you NEVER moments, the truth is.. it is simply not good practice. It implies a basic hopeless scenario, and no one wants to hear the you ALWAYS & you NEVER scolding.. this certainly is NOT the Gospel message of Grace.
So I pray each of you have a great day knowing God ALWAYS keeps his promises (Deuteronomy 7:9), and He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
AND.. no matter your big or small prodigal son/daughter moments, your failures, your down moments, your rebellions, your SINS. are ALWAYS forgiven as our Heavenly Father rejoices in our return and forgets he NEVER gives up on you. (read the Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32)
ps. While my Honey Do list is as endless as the universe itself, this morning I replaced a bad electrical outlet, hung a flag pole outside, put down a first coat of paint in our downstairs family room/office, and worked in the yard transplanting ferns and trimming branches. I am finishing this blog while my bride is away browsing neighborhood Garage Sales..Fortunately, she does not read my blogs so this will be our secret.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson