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Friday, October 12, 2018

The Wrong Right Answers

I was listening to a mother concerned about her teenage daughter. The age-old problem: the girl was interested in a "bad boy", a fellow with a less-than-savory character. Now, mind you, both mother and daughter were Christians. It's just that they were butting heads about this guy, and it wasn't going well. Mom was at her wits end.

I had a flood of thoughts on the matter, likely none of which would be helpful in the current emotional climate. Still ...

I wanted to know. Scripture is not unclear on the assignment from God for children and their parents. There are two primary commands. Neither is in question. First, "Honor your father and your mother" (Exo 20:12). This one is sprinkled throughout Scripture. God repeated it (Deut 5:16). Jesus repeated it (Matt 15:4; Matt 19:19; Luke 18:20). Paul repeated it (Eph 6:2). Pretty comprehensive. Second, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20). Clear enough. Honor and obey. So, what I wanted to know is why is this an issue to this mother and her daughter? The daughter does claim to love Jesus. Jesus did say, "If you love Me you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). So ... why is the daughter refusing to honor and obey her mother? I might expect something like, "My mother doesn't know what's best here." And I would be happy to stipulate that parents don't always know what's best in every situation. But I have to point out that the commands do not include "as long as you agree with their judgment." So if this daughter is going to be obedient to God, she would need to honor and obey her mother (trusting God in that) regardless of the quality of this guy.

I would want to know what happened to God's Sovereignty. We know that "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will." We know that God has set up a hierarchy (1 Cor 11:3) which, if it is true, puts God (not Dad, Mom, or child) at the top of the hierarchy. We know that God works all things together for good for those who love God (Rom 8:28). So it is not possible for Daughter to miss out on God's best because Mom blocked her from it. Apparently, though, it is. What happened to God's Sovereignty?

And, to be completely fair, I'd want to know about that same question from the mother. What happened to God's Sovereignty? Mom has the job of being the mother to Daughter. Got it. She needs to do so responsibly, to the best of her ability. Clear enough. She is not, however, alone nor ultimately responsible here. Wives are supposed to "be subject to your own husbands," even to those who don't obey the Word (1 Peter 3:1). In that hierarchy that God set up where parents are over children, He also set up that "the head of a wife is her husband" (1 Cor 11:3) ... under God. If God is Sovereign and Husband is not supporting Mom in her directions for Daughter, I would think that trusting God and obeying Husband would be a safe course to take under God.

Here's the problem, of course. Our entire society has gone to war against all of this. Kids are not to be under their parents. Parents are there to serve their kids. Wives are not to be submitting to their husbands. He doesn't know enough to come in out of the rain. Besides, that whole "biblical hierarchy" thing is a bunch of bunk. Ultimately, just like the serpent in the garden, what we know above all else is that God cannot be trusted. He's holding out on us. Like Daughter, we know better than anyone above us. And if we don't defy those above us, we'll be missing out.

You see, I hope, that there are lots of reasons that none of this should be a problem. I see, of course, that none of this really helps. These two leading characters are in the throes of a conflict where serious and real feelings are in play and serious and real dangers exist. "Trust and obey" is a good answer, but from the position of "taking fire," it's just not very "safe." So we have to work up another approach.

1 comment:

David said...

It is the sad truth that no one wants to listen to reason when emotions are involved.