Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Adult Children, pt. 5

Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part Four

According to God, relationship on earth is hierarchical, which is why all the teaching in Ephesians 5 and 6 on relationship corresponds to submitting to the Holy Spirit.  Peter said, obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  If submission in a relationship means disobedience to God, then we shouldn't do it.  That severs relationships.  The relationship with God is the one that must be maintained.  Every other relationship is subservient to that one, which is where enters the following teaching of the Lord Jesus in the gospels:
Matthew 10:34-37, "34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." 
Luke 14:26, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Scripture doesn't mean nothing.  It is God's Word.  These preceding verses mean something.  What is this "variance against" someone's own family members?  What sets parents in variance against one or more of his children?

When the above verses of scripture say son and daughter, those are not sons and daughters that are still in the home.  While a parent's children are still in the home, the tools exist to bring them into line, at least in appearance or on the outside.  This is variance with adult children.

What is the variance with the adult children?  Jesus wouldn't be saying that the variance is a non-scriptural issue or a personal preference.  It isn't, a child missed a birthday card, so there is variance.  No.  A child decides he wants to go completely plant based with his food.  That's not a scriptural basis of separation.  What sets variance is a violation of God's Word.  It is Jesus saying that He, Jesus, is or has come to set variance between adult family members, including parents and their children.  Variance doesn't have to exist, but Jesus came to cause some of it to happen, even a lot if it is what Jesus has come to do.

What is variance caused by?  The Greek word for "variance" in Matthew 10:34 is dichazo, which means, "to divide in two."  BDAG says, "to cause someone to turn against someone else."  Would Jesus turn two adult family members against each other for just arbitrary reasons, or is it scriptural reason?

Notice that Jesus doesn't turn to friendships or acquaintances or members of some organization, but goes straight for the most intimate relationships between people on earth that He came with His sword to divide.  These are the most painful divisions on earth, when adult family members turn against the other.  Jesus came to cause this, to do this.  People are going to have to be ready to comply to what is most difficult, making anything less than these more feasible to accomplish.

Sin separates from God, either doctrinal or moral sin.  If a family member sins and then won't repent, that causes the division.  An adult child won't repent and the parent warns, pleads, begs, and uses every scriptural tool in his toolbox, including mediation if it is available, and the adult child goes on his way, that is what causes variance between parents and an adult child.  The separation according to the verses is the will of God.  Jesus came to see this done.

The overarching message is that no human relationship surpasses the relationship with God.  The lack of division or separation from the adult child affects the relationship with God.  God doesn't permit acquiescence to some unscriptural belief or practice, just to keep the relationship going, what might be considered a faux relationship.  It's just a relationship of appearances, playing a game, one of which God doesn't approve.

During the colonial period, parents of congregational or Puritan churches in New England overlooked the unbelief and false practice of children to include them in the church with what was called a "halfway covenant."  The practice was designed to keep unconverted children in the church.  Conservatives see this as the decline of those churches.  They had other problems, but the decline of those churches proceeding from the halfway covenant created the need for a great awakening.

The sentimentalism of parents toward adult children doesn't help their children.  It will also result in more apostasy among other children.  Jesus called for separation.  He came to bring it.  Parents must be willing to take what might seem to be a harsh action out of love for God.  Children must anticipate that this will occur.

Any counsel or advice I hear in contradiction to the teaching of scripture very often I will call psychobabble.  I have other names, such as seat-of-the-pants theology or conventional wisdom.  I hear a lot of psychobabble regarding the relationship of parents to disobedient adult children.  It's not based on what scripture says, but based on the longing for an adult child to turn it around.  What God says in His Word is the best opportunity for the best outcome.  Part of trusting God is also trusting the process God expects to see it occur.  If it doesn't happen, the obedience to God's methods is not the reason.

As you are reading this, you might be thinking, I love my children too much to do what I'm reading here.  This is a common corrupt viewpoint of love.  It isn't even love.  I call it sentimentalism.  God is love.  If something is love, it must correspond to God.  The separation itself is an act of love.  It is a more difficult act than just getting along.  Getting along is easy to do, but that can't be love, because it clashes with God.

Today the social justice warriors see "love your neighbor" very often as an acceptance of sins of various kinds.  They really do think that they love more than others or that the others aren't even loving, because they are willing to ignore what God said to treat sin with favor.  This is the outcome of the kind of deceit that accepts the sinful behavior of adult children.  It isn't love.  It is love to do what God says, at least love for God, which isn't contradictory to love for an adult child.  The one not loving, and I repeat not loving, is the adult child.

If someone divides the ten commandments into two parts, the two tables of the law, he gets love God and love neighbor.  The second table of the law starts with "honor thy father and thy mother."  Someone doesn't love his neighbor if he is dishonoring his parents and violating the very second table of the law that the second great commandment represents.

More to Come

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