Recently we drove past our old house for the first time since downsizing. Immediately, our four children began rehearsing memories, noting every part of the house that they missed. Once again, they struggled to understand why we had to give it all up.
As hard as I tried to respond with confidence that it was the right thing for our family to follow God’s leading — even at the cost of financial comfort and a home we loved — deep down, I wrestled with my own nostalgia and questions.
There is no doubt that we, as parents, should be the primary spiritual influence on our children. This responsibility cannot – and should not – be delegated to a church program, though we should work in concert with the church for the overall growth of our kids in Christ. But what strikes me most as a dad is the emphasis on constant repetition we find in these verses.
There is much preparation for all that happens between the positive pregnancy test to the first birthday. Yet, the experience of motherhood is unique to each mother and child, and nearly impossible to predict. A recent Time magazine article, “Motherhood Is Hard to Get Wrong. So Why Do So Many Moms Feel So Bad About Themselves?”, featured an extensive survey of new mothers and dove deep into the decision-making processes that mothers face during those days. It also discussed the emotional, and I would add spiritual, difficulties of motherhood as more than 70 percent responded that they feel societal pressures about those choices. The survey found that “half of all new mothers had experienced regret, shame, guilt or anger, mostly due to unexpected complications and lack of support.”
I once read in a friend’s Facebook status that all the “old people” are gonna hate heaven if they think the worship music in churches is too loud. You know, because heaven’s worship is going to be exactly like the laser light rock and roll concerts we got goin’ on in evangelicalism right now. (Eye roll.)
Religious people have no room to point the finger and say, “I told you so!” to Hollywood moguls and corrupt politicians. In our own churches and institutions, we’ve seen how sexual abuse and assault can thrive in the shadows of piousness and self-protectiveness. Moral laxity is not the only condition necessary for evil to flourish. High moral standards or the “right positions” on biblical morality do not serve as a safeguard against those who would abuse their power in their pursuit of prey.
The beauty and freedom of Gospel identity is that it’s offered in unconditional love and is unchanging because Jesus achieved it for us. We don’t have to strive to find validation from any other source, outside or inside.
A favorite from the archives:
This is what Trudeau illustrated in his statements. Castro was a family friend, a pallbearer at his father’s funeral—an experience entirely removed from any of the man’s actions as leader of Cuba. His take reflects that experience, which is why it is wildly different than that of the average person (or, for that matter, many Cubans who lived under his regime).
But the response is what surprised me, and actually gave me a little hope. It reminded me that, even in our darker days, human beings are still image-bearers of God. Despite our repression and rejection of the truth about God, despite many of us holding to some form of relativism as a worldview, when we’re confronted with it as we were in this weekend, we can’t help but balk. In this case, it was to say, “No, the man wasn’t simply controversial; he was a perpetrator of great evil.”