Freedom demands lack of control. Freedom sounds good, even Christian liberty sounds good, even great, until you understand what that means.
Christian Liberty and freedom, as I’ve been trying to show, has to do with release from a need of physical things and a dependence upon the Spirit and using physical things for spiritual edification not for fleshly purposes.
Even this sounds really good.
Then I have my kids.
My kids are physical things. I am their physical dad.
I have seen many Christian, church-going folk raise kids. I have seen the people who demand their kids win the Bible memorization contests, never miss church, do all the church stuff and do it all fantastically.
I’ve seen many of those same kids leave the church and faith. Here is a recent example to read that clearly shows what I’m talking about. It’s heart breaking on many levels. It’s a failure of parents and the church. It’s a failure of all our appearance-driven Christianity.
Many Christian parents believe it is their duty to beat their kids over the head with the Bible, figuratively if not literally. Mandatory Bible study, mandatory prayer, and all manner of religious obligation shoved down their throat.
Kids get used to jumping through parental hoops, but the resentment builds. As soon as they are on their own they realize they don’t believe this stuff and have more resentment than joy when it comes to God.
Then there are those kids who never break away, the guilt and pressure keep them from venturing out and they remain “good kids” their whole life, while staying far from any real dealings with God.
I am trying to figure this out with my own kids. I let them take a certain amount of initiative when it comes to spiritual things (and other things). I do my bit to throw stuff in all the time and I take my responsibility to be their spiritual teacher very seriously. I am by no means “hands off.”
But I’m also not controlling their faith. I am not forcing religion down their throat or convincing them they are saved or anything else that smacks of parental soothing rather than godly training.
I’m not claiming to be right on this, I’m merely talking. Freedom means I (a physical person) am not supposed to be God for someone. There has to be room for the individual to get to God. If I step in and answer all the questions, remove all the problems and be the religious bucker-upper, I believe I am treading on holy ground where only God should tread.
It’s a difficult balance, one every parent should be concerned with. I’ve seen too many “good kids” walk away. Do we trust the Spirit enough to let Him do His work? It is vital we know what our part is and what His part is.
In line with that, I’m not going to tell you what that balance is! You need to go to God and figure it out yourself! You’ll stand before Him, not me, on Judgment Day.