Monday, July 30, 2012

The Spiritual Ditches of Political and Governmental Involvement and Priestly Parental Pride - J.C. Harrison

Have you fallen in a ditch?

Before my wife and I moved to Illinois, we had some wonderful Christian neighbors.  Not long after we met them, they had a baby girl. I distinctly remember one conversation I had with the dad concerning raising their daughter (at that time my wife and I didn’t have any children and knew nothing about home schooling). He said he planned to raise her so far to the right so that when she rebelled a bit, she would wind up in a more centered walk with Christ. Again, I knew nothing of home schooling then, but even then his words did not seem the best way to raise a child.

This tendency to fall over in a ditch (or jump from one ditch to the other) is a common problem for all of us. We see something we are doing wrong and over compensate our lives to the degree that we still are sinning, just in an opposite ditch. One example of this is politics and government, and it seems to be a timely subject to discuss.

The straight and narrow: Romans 13: 1-7 (ESV)
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

Left Side Ditch: Have nothing to do with anything political. No voting, No Discussions, No Protests.
Right Side Ditch: Disrespect all government authority that does not line up with the Bible.  Protest at every opportunity, and have a goal to belittle and humiliate anyone that does not agree with your political views. (Note: “Right” does not indicate correctness here, just an opposite directions from “Left”)

As you faithfully pray about where you are in your walk with Christ as it relates to the government and politics, please spend more time in prayer and reading Romans 13: 1-7 (and related passages) than you do listening to Fox News or some conservative talk show. The answers to our involvement in politics and government can be found in the bible if we seek His will and pray for His revelation. 

To continue the metaphor let's discuss having pride in our children's accomplishments.  A loving parent will most always have an inner joy when their child accomplishes something. How that inner joy manifest itself to outward praise is what needs to be considered. Too often it shows itself as pride in the child over praise for Jesus. 

When pondering our praise for our children, consider Paul's praise of the church at Ephesus. Because of their faith and love for the saints, he praised and prayed for them. To keep this simple and brief, praise should be given to our children as a pattern of praise that we should give our heavenly father. That's exactly what Paul was doing. Praising people that were praising God.

The straight and narrow: Proverbs 22:6 and Matthew 25:23 ESV
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
“His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”

Left side ditch: Give no praise or "pats on the back" for any accomplishment or spiritual growth of your children, for fear that they will develop pride in themselves and not offer thanks to God. Result: A child that does not understand the affection and love God has for His people.

Right side of ditch: Heap praise and adoration on your children for every accomplishment no matter how small, and teach them they can do whatever they set their mind to. Result: A child that takes pride in him/herself over Christ and believes God owes us blessings for our service to Him.

As we train our child in the way that he or she is bent, let us do so with the goal that they understand the real purpose in life. All praise should help them see a pattern of praise for Jesus Christ.

     Mr. J.C. Harrison

J.C. Harrison is the son of a Southern Baptist Minister, a 13 year homeschool dad and the current coordinator of the Saint Clair County Christian Home Educators support group.

Image by Leaping Lizard


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