The Incredible Mom
Jesus had an interesting, thought-provoking way of relating spiritual truths to people. He frequently took common, ordinary objects from life and filled them full of spiritual truth. Can you think of some instances? I can:
Comparing old wineskins with new ones to talk about the difference between false and true religion (Matt. 9:17)
Using how seed germinates in different types of soil to illustrate how the gospel is received by people (Matt. 13).
Focusing on weeds, of all things, to teach how Satan sows unbelievers among believers in an attempt to thwart the growth of God’s kingdom (Matt. 13:24).
Likening the advancement of God’s kingdom to the power of yeast placed in a ball of dough (Matt. 13:33-35).
Tapping into the picture of how a fishing net catches all kinds of fish to demonstrate how at the end of time God will separate the believers from the unbelievers (Matt. 13:47-51).
Why did He employ this method? Because it was effective, because He knew people learn best when the teacher takes things they are familiar with and then relates them to spiritual truths, because people are highly visual creatures above all things, hence the most profitable way to reach them is with a mental, sometimes tangible image.
Since Christ’s approach to teaching truth was so powerful, I suggest we use it today. What do I propose we do? Well, since it is Mother’s Day, I suggest we first posit a key question: What makes a mom an incredible mom? Disney helps us answer this question in a soon-to-be classic cartoon released earlier this year. Perhaps you’ve seen it. It’s called The Incredibles. I know it’s a dated cartoon, but since it was, and is, one of the biggest grossing box office cartoons of all times, I think the chances are quite good that you have seen it at least one time. I bet your children have seen multiple times, right?
The premise of the cartoon, in case you haven’t seen it, is quite simple: Superheroes around the world have been forced out of their jobs by legal cases brought against them. You know the drill. Whenever a superhero shows us to save someone, there is usually a destructive aftermath. In this case, Mr. Incredible is forced into retirement by a man who hurt his neck when the superhero tried to save him from an apparent suicide attempt of leaping from a skyscraper. Mr. Incredible did the incredible thing by flying through the air, grabbing the falling man, and then blasting their bodies through a plate glass window to safety. Instead of being thankful, the man, now in a neck brace, sued his deliverer.
Eventually lawsuits stacked up against superheroes everywhere, so they were eventually removed from their superhero jobs, their various costumes/uniforms were mothballed, and they were all given ordinary jobs. Mr. Incredible’s family is case in point. Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr, who was once know for feats of strength, is now relegated to a boring, monotonous desk job; his wife, Elastagirl, is now a housewife who tends to kids, not crime; their daughter Violet, who has the ability to disappear at will and erect an impregnable force shield, is plugged into a local high school; and, Dash, their son, who can move as fast as the speed of light, is prohibited by his parents from using his speed in public.
With this background, I think we can jump into the movie. Our goal is going to be to extract key scenes where the mother, Elastagirl, is showcased so we can isolate principles of an incredible mom. And as Jesus did, we shall move logically from the well-known story and image to the Scripture in order to drive home spiritual principles we will most certainly uncover. I’ve never done a sermon quite like this here, as you know. Typically, we start with the text, dig into the text, and chew on a juicy spiritual steak of sorts. Today will be much different, so hang onto your seat, and, of course, keep your eyes focused on the screen lest you miss an important scene.
So, let’s pose the question all mother’s should want to know:
What Makes A Mother An Incredible Mother?
Principle #1: She’s Faithful, Loyal & Honest.
This is where every mother starts . . . at the altar, in a church, before a pastor/priest, and standing next to her husband to be. But note carefully what transpires here for it gives you an inside scoop as to what will make her a great mother later. What does she tell Mr. Incredible, Robert Parr, who wasn’t acting so incredible all the way up to the big day? The first words out of her mouth are, “You’re late.” Then this was followed up with, “When you asked me if I was doing anything later, I didn’t realize you had actually forgotten. I thought it was just playful banter. Then she tells him, “I love you, but if you want to make this thing work, you’ve got to be more than Mr. Incredible. You know that, don’t you?”
I guess she told him, didn’t she? You bet she did, and this, my friend, is a sign of a good woman, a great mother. An incredible wife and mother doesn’t just sit idly by when she has been wronged or when those she loves act in a contrary fashion. No. She lets them know right up front which wrongs have been committed so strength and health can be brought to the relationship.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God for wives and mothers who have the gumption, the courage to lovingly say what needs saying. Why is this so important? Because it can save you a whole lot of heartache, either as a husband or a child. When the woman speaks with you directly, a couple of things come into play: One, you know she loves you, so you know her motivation is going to be pure. Two, you know she only wants the best for you so you can trust her words, even though they might sting a bit.
Note: Had Elastagirl not addressed the insensitivity in her to-be mate here on the altar, of all places, he’d have felt quite free to act this way again in the future, and she would eventually have children who’d grown up to act just like him. So, we must bow before the woman, the wife, the mother who loves those around her enough to give them a much needed attitude adjustment.
Has your wife ever given you one? How about your mother?
The Apostle Paul calls this approach admonishing. In Romans he writes:
“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14).
The Greek word for “admonish” means “to warn, to correct.” Paul used it of Christians who were idle and lazy (1 Thess. 5:14; Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 4:140. Used by a wife and a mother, it means she isn’t willing to watch the relationships in her family head south, so she lovingly speaks up and out.
Regarding the value of admonishing, Dr. Gene Getz offers these helpful words:
“There is no greater sign of love than to be willing to risk rejection and broken relationships with others. And if admonishment is done in the right spirit, with the right motive, using an appropriate method, the person who is not living a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ usually sense the risk you’re taking. Though that person may have difficulty acknowledging it at that moment, down deep he really knows. Some day he will probably thank you for your love” (Building Up One Another, p. 51).
Oh, how right he is. What a laser level is to a builder, admonishment is to family relationships. It assures a level surface upon which to build those relationships. That is why I say, “Thank God for wives and mothers who aren’t afraid to say, like Elastagirl, what needs saying.” This is the first sign of an incredible mother.
There’s more, much more.
Principle #2: She Disciplines The Disobedient
Background: Dash has just been sent to the principal’s office for the third time for disruptive behavior. This time he was putting a tack on the teacher’s chair while the teacher wasn’t looking. Of course, he did it so fast the teacher never saw him, but, oh yeah, he was guilty. Let’s see what happens at dinner with the issue of his mischievous behavior …..
Let’s highlight the actions of an incredible woman where a disobedient child is concerned.
Did you pick up the admonishment of the husband? “Do you have to read at the table?”
She tries to teach the kids table manners, “Smaller bites, Dash, gosh.”
Then she cuts to the quick: “Dash, do you have to tell your father something about school?” She was not going to let the issue right not for one dinner. She wants to get it resolved; she wants her son to learn from his mistakes. When Dash won’t admit to his real activities, she jumps in and spills the beans, doesn’t she? This is a classic incredible mother move. Did you mother ever do that? When Mr. Incredible is excited about how fast his son must have been moving, thus encouraging the wrong type of behavior, she, again, confronts him and lets him know they don’t want to encourage further actions like this. Note, this is the way it is for some mothers, isn’t it? Every once in a while their mate kind of checks out on what is true, proper, and acceptable. An incredible mother brings them back to reality, quickly.
When Dash and Violet begin to verbally fight over Violet liking a certain guy, Mrs. Incredible once more cautions the children that it’s not permissible to yell at the table. When they continue, she calls for backup, “Honey.” Again, she is constantly setting behavioral parameters for her children so they will turn out to be great people one day.
When the children move from a verbal volley to a physical fight, mom does her best to bring things under control. She is not going to permit chaos at her table, nor will she allow it in her house. Again, she calls for much needed backup from Bob. He has his parenting issues, doesn’t he? But his wife didn’t let him off the hook, choosing rather to continually remind him of what she desperately needed from him. Men, you have to ask yourself this Mother’s Day, “Am I standing with and supporting my wife as together we seek to train and discipline our children?”
From this we see some significant biblical principles at work. Do you see them? I do. If you don’t see them, here they are:
“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Prov. 29:15).
Read that again, slowly. How do you know the difference between an incredible mom and one that’s not so incredible? Simple. You look at whether she lets the child(ren) get away with inappropriate behavior.
Here is how it works in the real world. Had Elastagirl allowed Dash and Violet to act like they wanted in private without any repercussions, without a quick response, they would eventually grow up into young adults who would bring shame to the mother and father through even more outlandish disruptive behavior in public. This public behavior, be what it may, would logically bring shame to the mother, would it not? Hence the mandate of Scripture. Use either a rod or reproof or both to instill wise living into the child so you won’t raise a child who will make you blush one day.
King Solomon’s words in Proverbs 19:18 are reflected in the dinner table actions of Mrs. Incredible:
“Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death” (Prov. 19:18).
There is hope while the child is young; however, if you fail to address their bad behavior early on you’ll pay dearly for it later. Incredible Moms know this and get to work as soon as possible. Mine did and she reminds me constantly she saved me from a life of crime!
I remember the day I went for the coveted cookies in my mother’s favorite, and brand new, teddy bear cookie jar. She placed the cookie jar atop the refrigerator so we couldn’t just help ourselves when we wanted to. She, however, didn’t anticipate my next move.
Staring up at the cookie jar as if it rested on Mount Everest, I considered my options. I surmised in my five-year-old body, if I placed a kitchen chair next to the refrigerator, I thought I could easily pull it toward me because of the rounded edge of the top of the unit.
Standing on the chair, I quickly realized the jar was just beyond my reach. So, I stood on my tip-toes and stretched as best I could. Within a few minutes I was able to get my little pinky on some of the bear’s toes. So I pulled, thinking I would just catch the cookie jar as it came toward me. Instead of coming toward me, it flew by me. I’ll never forget the image of that bear flying by me and hitting the linoleum floor. It, along with the coveted cookies, shattered into hundreds of pieces.
What do you think my Incredible Mom did? She and my father took care of my off-the-rails behavior that night at the dinner table. Believe me, that was the last time I went for a cookie. And thank the Lord for a mother who wasn’t afraid to discipline me and show me the way to better behavior.
Are you incredible as a mother in this important area? I hope so. We salute you today for you are carefully and lovingly shaping future great Americans and Christians, people who will respect rules and regulations and will be selfless, not selfish.
Principle #3: She’s Tuned In Not Tuned Out
I speak primarily here of her husband’s life.
Let me give you a little background of Mrs. Incredible’s marriage. Her husband has been lured to tropical island by the sinister Syndrome. Syndrome is a would-be super hero who turned against all super heroes when Mr. Incredible shunned him as a teen with great aspirations. Syndrome’s whole goal in getting Mr. Incredible to this particular island is to terminate him. And this won’t be his first termination of a good guy either. He has taken out …
….to name a few. He taking them out one by one so he can erect his wicked empire and rule the world.
What’s exciting so see is how Mrs. Incredible figures into this whole equation. It takes her awhile to figure out what has happened to her husband, but when the picture is clear she springs into action … along with the whole family. She charters a plane (image the cost of that one), heads to the island in question and launches a counter-attack to save her Mr. Incredible, who is being held against his will by Syndrome.
Let’s think about this theologically for a moment. Isn’t Syndrome a lot like Satan? Same goal toward good men. Elimination. Same goal toward the world. Domination. Is not Scripture clear on this one? Peter puts it this way:
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Satan’s goal on a daily basis is to stalk and take out as many good men, good fathers as he can. He uses a wide array of weapons in his bag of tricks: Lust, greed, temptation, disillusionment, anger, workaholism, sports, etc. The incredible wife is tuned into this truth and into the life of her husband.
She pays close attention to who his friends are and how they influence him.
She pays close attention to how things are going at his job.
She loves to talk with him. Sure, like most men, he probably wants to come home and unwind . . . and that’s understandable . . ., but she eventually gets him to talk about substantive things so can know how to be there for him.
She, well, you fill in the blank.
Point is, she is tied into his life in an intimate way. She is not distant from him but close to him, and this reality makes it easy for her to be there for him. When she sees his life is under attack, be what it may, she comes to the rescue in order to defend or free him.
Men, if you have a woman like this, thank God for her. They are a precious commodity, and chances are she probably learned it from her mother. Thank God for wives, for mothers, who will be there for you when you can’t help yourself, who will be strong with you are weak, who will help extract you from a difficult situation you couldn’t extract yourself from.
A last principle I see of an incredible mother is this:
Principle #4: She Protects Her Protects Her Children
At the end of the movie, evil Syndrome attempts garner the support of the people of a major city by appearing to take on and defeat a menacing robot. The truth is, he controls the robot and it’s only a ploy to woo them to his side as the new Superhero. When the robot takes control by shooting the remote control off the arm of Syndrome, everyone is in jeopardy, including Mr. Incredible’s family.
Like Syndrome, the robot has one goal, Wipe out The Incredibles. When he goes after the children, guess who steps in? Dad and mom.
Note, the same Adversary who is after good men is also after children. He’s seeking through a variety of means to keep them or woo them to his side. He will, like the giant, multi-armed robot, relentlessly come after them with a variety of weapons like:
Godless friends to influence them to embrace evil behavior and thinking.
Violent video games to clutter their minds.
Misguided and misinformed teachers who seek to teach them godless worldviews.
Drugs and/or drinking to put them into a mental stupor.
And so on and so forth.
An incredible mother knows the ploys of the iron monster and she takes appropriate action. What does she do?
She prays for her children without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
She, like the mother and grandmother of Timothy, Paul’s pastoral pupil, instills her faith in Jesus into her child (2 Tim. 1:5).
She is diligent to teach her children God’s life-giving laws: “You shall teach them [i.e., the law of God] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up …. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:7, 9).
Yes, the incredible mom is committed daily to protecting her children from the wiles of the wicked. She isn’t so naïve as to think all is well. No. She knows better and trains accordingly. She makes sure her children are adequately prepared to live lives which are well-pleasing and honorable to God, lives which won’t be spiritually crippled by the exploits of the crafty iron monster.
Again, I thank God for a mother like that. She trained me well and I can’t even begin to put in words how it has molded, shaped, and changed my life for the better. And, I thank God for a wife who is now a mother like this to my grown children.
You want to see an incredible mom? You know what they sound like, don’t you?
I’m not asking, I’m telling. A true disciplinarian.
If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you. Spoken like a mother who knows how to logically address peer pressure.
One day you’ll thank me. It’s not in the Bible, but it’s a wise word which wise mother’s use.
Where did you hear that? Another momism that informs you that the info you just presented is not most likely from a great, trustworthy source.
Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it has been. Wow, how many lives have been saved by this one statement?
How can you say you have nothing to wear when your closet is full of clothes? Now here is a mother who knows how to teach her child about being content with what they have.
You also know what to look for as you study character which is most well-pleasing to God:
Principle #1: She’s Faithful, Loyal & Honest
Principle #2: She Disciplines The Disobedient
Principle #3: She’s Tuned In Not Tune Out
Principle #4: She Protects Her Protects Her Children
If you are in incredible mom here today, then we salute you. You are engaged in one of the most important tasks of anyone in this great land. You are responsible for growing and rearing a new generation of people who will know, love and walk with Jesus, and who will, in turn, impact our society for Him. This is your day and rightfully so.