This morning I had the pleasure of having a Jehovah Witness at my door. By pleasure I mean that he was a lovely older gentle man who is doing what he believes is the right thing to do. Although his speech was obviously practiced and a well seasoned sermonette. He did get me to think about something. Deception and mass manipulation. He talked about a few different examples of "christian" groups that supported mass destruction of the human race in the name of God. He called them uninformed. I called them deceived.
As a child I was raised christian and was taught christian ways of living. I feel blessed to have been raised in such a way that made it fairly easy for me to come to a personal decision to choose to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow God's ways taught in the bible. Now looking back I think it was the freedom to choose that is what made me go through my journey of starting a personal relationship with God.
With four going on five kids I am going through the motions of how to teach them to have the freedom to choose God, without manipulation. God made us in the beginning to have the ability to live in freedom. The freedom to choose how we are going to live life. Without freedom, we would never have the ability to choose God... we would only be walking zombies with weirdo smiles on our faces. (that might have been a little extreme but you know what I mean) I want my kids to know that they ultimately have the freedom to do what they come to believe is right. Everything in my flesh wants to fight that and say... NO believe what I believe that's that. My job as a parent is not to unleash fury on my children and to say OBEY or else you get it. It is to raise them in an atmosphere that encourages discipleship. A place to learn to find out the whys behind the what's. To build up a internal gauge that guides them on their own to do the right thing. So why is it that everything in me wants to fight to have the dictatorship over my kids?
Fear! Fear that the "world" will get them, that they will make bad decisions, that they won't listen to me when I want them to. In 1John 4:18 it says that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." What does that mean? I LOVE my kids. God LOVES us. If that is true then our love should be as far away from fear as possible.
When do we know that God is not in something? Or a part of a movement or religion? FEAR. If it takes scaring the pants off of us in order for us to listen. God is not part of it. So how do we know when God is a part of something? It moves us to action, to compassion to renual of relationships, connection, to love on others. My desire is to have my children not to fear me but to have such an overflowing love from me that they when in desperate situations or bad decisions, are moved to action, to connect with me because I am a safe place to go to. (Now just for a small precursor that doesn't mean to teach my kids that there are no consequence's to poor decisions, but to teach them life truths. Don't clean your room = loss of a privilege, which of course in adulthood it equals, don't do your work = loss of a job.)
If I really believe what I am living out is truth. Then I don't need to fear for my children. If I teach them how to learn to steward their own freedom. Also to teach them what I know out of my own personal conviction WITH the understanding behind it. They will come to believe what is the truth, without me needing to shove fear and manipulation at them.
Wow... all that from a Jehovah's witness. God bless them. I pray that their eyes will be opened to the love that drives out all fear.
Well it's lunch time.
I pray you all have a fantastic day.
I am challenging myself today to live out the discipleship of my children instead of the fear based parenting.