Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day Three - Submission to Authority

Today's topic is Submission to Authority. It flows from Obedience, and I want to quote some from a great article I found on the topic. It is well explained, and better than what I could come up with on my own. :-)  Here is the link to the full 11 page article

"Authority is the right to give instructions and require obedience.

As it is with love, so it is with authority. To relate properly to the children, parents must begin by relating properly to one another. 

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Proverbs 1:8

When people work together, organization and cooperation are needed in order to accomplish good. But organization and cooperation require someone to be recognized as a leader with authority. This explains why God ordained authority in every human relationship that He ordained.

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. Guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Proverbs 4: 10-13

Children generally know their parents are wiser than they are. They know they need guidance at times. They may act confident, but behind the false front they are often insecure. Parental guidance assures the child that he is doing what is best. As a result, children actually have greater respect for adults who enforce fair rules than they have for permissive parents.

To illustrate, consider driving a car across a bridge over a deep chasm. If there were no guardrails, we would be very fearful. With guard rails, we are confident, even though we may be just a few feet from the edge. So the limits set by parents give children security. They know their parents will not let them do anything that would be seriously harmful. 

If we train children to develop good character and habits, they will probably maintain those habits. But habits come by repetition. So parents should insist that children practice what is right till it becomes ingrained.

The main reason so many children today grow up rebellious and maladjusted is simply that they have not been properly required to submit to authority. They manipulate their parents, and the parents don't know what to do about it. They get away with rebelling against their parents, so they proceed to rebel against the whole "establishment": parents, government, employers, church, and God. 

If parents do not teach their children to get along with parental authority - if they allow their children to manipulate them and get their own way against their parents' better judgment - most likely those children will always have difficulty relating to authority and will live a miserable life.

Dr. James Dobson points out: When a child can successfully defy his parents during his first fifteen years, laughing in their faces and stubbornly flouting their authority, he develops a natural contempt for them... The result is that they lose respect for all the parent stands for and believes in, including their religious Faith.

..If a child grows up without learning respect for authority - if he is permitted to rebel against his parents' restraints and get away with it - he will naturally rebel against God's limits and think he can get away with that!

This is exactly the point at which many Christian parents lose their children to the world. If you do not restrain you children but let the manipulate you and evade your authority, they will most likely grow up to disrespect God and His will - just like Eli's sons did. And God will hold you accountable, like he did Eli.

It follows that proper exercise of authority is not something the parents do to please themselves, but something they do for the good of the child. It teaches lessons that will benefit the child both now and for eternity. This is why use of authority is not contrary to love but is a proper exercise of love.

In all areas of life that we have studied, respect for authority requires obedience. So a child who persistently disobeys in the home is a child who simply has not learned respect for authority. Yet in home after home - even the homes of Christians - children repeatedly refuse to obey, but parents apologize for it, laugh it off, or simply ignore it like it's an everyday occurrence.

Parents, you are trying to raise godly children. The ultimate goal of your authority is to teach your children respect for God's authority. You should expect your children to obey you like God will expect them to obey Him. Do they?

Do your children obey promptly, or do they procrastinate, make excuses, manipulate, and seek to evade your instructions? Do they obey with an attitude of love and good will, or do they groan, complain, and whine? Do they obey exactly, or do they try to bend the rules and justify partial obedience? Do they obey when you are not watching or only if they know they will get caught? What kind of obedience does God expect of us? If your children have not learned to obey you like they should obey God, then you have work to do. God says it's your job to teach it to them!

We should train our children to speak respectfully to us, not for our own selfish pride, but because they need to learn respect! [Cf. Ezek. 2:3-7]"

Wow. A lot to take in. This may not always be so clear cut with our oh so very special sons. Something that stood out to me was the discussion of setting boundaries. Our sons do much better when they know what is expected. A routine. Knowing what they can and can't do. With a loving heart, a soft, kind voice, our sons will hear us. I pray that all of you find peace in that. Even on the toughest days, God is right there with you. I can remember times with Spencer, dealing with hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, so much frustration. It was a wrestling match just to get him to take medicine when he needed it. By the end we would both be so exhausted, and about 75% of it would be all over us, instead of inside him where it needed to be. We've come so far since then. His verbal skills are so much better and he works hard at being social. It's hard work everyday, but we need to continue the fight for our sons. Love, blessings and prayers to all of you. Brooke wrote this in the Leader Guide for Day 3, and I want to share it with you:

"By the way, when was the last time you told your son you were proud of a choice he made to submit to authority? Even when they're little, our boys need to know that mama sees and rejoices over their wise choices and cries out to God over their foolish ones. Today, make a point to lavish love and praise on your son when he chooses wisely....even in the small things."


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