Good Old Hot Potato

My sons have prepared enough bowls of cereal to know that flaky corn cereal gets soggy very soon after adding milk. Yet they added the milk before their little sister came to the kitchen. When they were all seated I heard the all too familiar, “What!  Why are you looking at me like that?”  My oldest sneered, “It’s your fault.”

Yep, you guessed it. He blamed his sister for the poor decision he made. That’s nothing new is it (ever hear of Adam and Eve)?  But why?  Why do we blame other people for our poor decisions?


Your outcome has you feeling bad about yourself. NO ONE likes that feeling and you want to do anything to get from under it. So you toss the blame to someone else, the meanest game of Hot Potato.  They’re the bad guy. Whew!  It’s off me!

Condemnation is the worst gift to give. That’s why God gave us the very opposite…


Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…Romans 8:1, NIV

In Christ you are no longer under condemnation; no more dread, crushing guilt, and the fear of retribution. Your mistakes, big or small, silly or plain stupid, paid for exhaustively by Jesus. Instead of shifting blame, use the opportunity to worship Jesus for the completeness of His work at the cross. The width, length, depth and height of it, that left nothing undone.



DGF cover small

My book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Encourages women to move past the limits of their relationships with their fathers to find identity, acceptance, and unconditional love in the ultimate DADDY-daughter relationship with God.

Believe The Best

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8, NIV


My sons are about 17 months apart and from the time the younger was born people have asked me how they got along.  My answer was always “they’re best buddies and they do everything together”.  Other parents would tell Mark and I stories of sibling rivalry and fighting that would make our jaws drop.  We couldn’t relate to that….that is until recently.  At almost 8 and 6 years old, a hostile dynamic started developing that saddened me more than shocked me.  I am the youngest of four but by 13 years so I essentially grew up as an only child.  My husband is 10 years older than his sister and so neither one of us knew how to deal with the constant bickering, unhealthy competitiveness and the belief that their brother was against them.

In seeking advice I found that people either accepted the fighting as a natural part of the family dynamic that you “ride out” or they tried to modify the expression of the angry behavior.  Neither approach appealed to me.  Behavior starts with what you believe so I asked the Lord to show me the root of their conflict.  I waited and waited and then days later He gave me a one word answer “peace”.  While I waited for Him to elaborate, the boys had a nasty argument and exchanged some hurtful words.  I felt helpless and frustrated because I was still waiting on God’s insight since every way we tried to deal with it before failed.

After they explained their sides of the story, I had an overwhelming urge to have them look each other in the eyes and take turns telling the other “I know you love me and I forgive you.  Thank you Lord that you forgave me.”  Tell you the truth it sounded silly as I said it and the boys looked at me like I was crazy, but they did it and a peace came over them!  Now I don’t share that as some sort of formula because at the time I didn’t even know the significance of those words other than the Holy Spirit led me to say them.  However, over the next several weeks I realized the Lord was showing me something about the root of conflict in general.

At the cross Jesus both became our sin and took the punishment we deserved.  His perfect work gave us peace with God.  We went from God opposing us to God being for us.  Do we really believe that?  Are we sharing that with our children as we witness to and disciple them?  If we as believers, at any age and stage of life, doubt we forever have a clean slate with God we’ll tend to anticipate conflict or rejection from everyone. That anxiety clouds our judgment causing us to misinterpret others intentions and overreact.  If we don’t believe we have peace with God we won’t have the peace of God.

Only when we have peace with God can we believe that all things work together for our good because we are His and He’s called us.  Only when we have peace with God can we move forward in favor with Him AND with people daily.  Only when we have peace with God can we anticipate His good plan for us unfolding every day.   Only when we believe we are completely forgiven can we forgive others.

When we believe God is for us we can boldly take our challenges with others to Him in exchange for peace that will guard our thoughts about them.   With our minds guarded by God’s peace we are free to focus on the best about others in the midst of conflict and trust God to work it out for our good.   As with most aspects of parenting, conflict resolution is more “caught than taught”.  In believing the best about our spouses and our children, our children will believe the best about themselves and each other.


SOUL FOOD (Scripture References)

Proverb 23:7a

2 Corinthians 5:21

Romans 5:1

Romans 8:31

Romans 8:28

Luke 2:52

Jeremiah 29:11

Ephesians 4:32

Philippians 4:4-8


© Vanessa A. Harris and The Legacy of Faith, 2012.