Imagine a young man if you will, who has grown up in the home of a Godly man, he has received a good education and shows much promise for the future inasmuch as he has natural leadership qualities. Imagine this son committing a heinous crime and then fleeing to distant relatives for safety. He stays with these indulgent relatives for quite some time, and is protected by them from the consequences of his felony. The Father of this miscreant desires to bring him to justice, but is powerless to act so long as he is sheltered by these permissive relatives.
This story is not hypothetical, but is a part of the sordid account of Absalom's murder of his brother Amnon (2 Sam. 13ff). The father is David, and the permissive relatives are Absalom's maternal grandparents.
We are quick to note the sin of these permissive grandparents, and most of us would condemn their undermining of David's authority as a father. Many of us would discern that Absalom's wrong character was actually reinforced by his indulgent grandparents, and their subverting of parental authority. Could it be possible their sheltering and coddling of a felon against his father's wishes actually encouraged Absalom to attempt a coup which ended in the loss of 20,000 lives in Israel?
Be Careful What You Hear
Rebellious sons and daughters are capable of giving slanted news to whomever they can find who would have a sympathetic ear. A fallen nature in rebellion toward God-given parents will have great creativity in describing the weaknesses and failures of their parents, but will be strangely silent about their own failures. Anyone listening to a youngster describe the faults of his parents needs the sagacity and perspicacity of Solomon!
Our fallen nature is quick to "choose sides" and be offended at supposed injustices suffered by a son or daughter at the hands of "tyrannical parents." In our pride, we believe we could have done better with this child, and find ourselves unwittingly playing the part of Talmai (Absalom's grandparents) rather than following Scriptural principle.
Scripture presents strong warnings about drawing conclusions before hearing both sides of any controversy. "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him" (Prov. 18:13). Whoever first gets our ear is capable of prejudicing our hearts and distorting our objectivity. "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him" (Prov. 18:17).
Over these many years we have seen incalculable damage done by mature Christian adults who should have known better than to take the side of a rebellious youngster against his parents. Tragically, it is often a member of one's own family that will end up taking offense against a parent or parents and giving aid and comfort to a rebellious son or daughter. This ought not to surprise us when we see that our Lord's own siblings did not believe on Him during His earthly ministry, and even believed Him to be beside Himself (Mark 3:21, John 7:5). Moreover, our Lord felt the awful pain of an intimate friend betraying Him. "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me" (Ps. 41:9). This pictured the betrayal of Christ by Judas (John 13:18-19).
We expect the unregenerate of this Satanically dominated world to undermine parental authority. In fact, it is happening in a pervasive way today via the educational system, welfare authorities and other social agencies. Many God-fearing parents, seeing these encroachments on their authority as parents, have fled the government schools, and seek to avoid social welfare agencies like the plague. But where can a God-fearing parent go to avoid the betrayal of a friend or family member determined to undermine that parent's authority over their child or children?
Opposing Parents Is Opposing God's Authority
God has established the various organizations of authority in this world: family, human government and the church. It is a clear violation of his mandated lines of authority to undermine a parent by siding with that child against his parents. To take up the cause of a child in rebellion against parental authority is to implicitly say that God has made a mistake in giving those specific parents to that child. What pride and audacity to suppose I can improve on the family circle God has established!
No one knows the needs of a child better than his God-given parents. While there is no doubt that many parents can and should improve their parenting skills, there is no excuse to supplant and undermine a parent's authority with their children because of supposed failures we perceive in their role as parents. Be careful dear friend, as you feel compelled to intervene in the way a parent is disciplining, correcting or counseling their child. On what authority do you gainsay a parent's guidance of their child?
Rebels Seek Rebels
It is no excuse that a rebel has sought you out for help. In fact, if a rebel seeks your assistance, it is very likely you yourself are a rebel because rebellious hearts have "rebel radar," and will instinctively seek out those with whom they have a compatibility. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (I Cor. 15:33). "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." (Prov. 27:19). You will note that when Absalom ran, he did not run to anyone who would be spiritual or likeminded with his father David, but rather to permissive, indulgent grandparents who were only too glad to subvert David's authority as a father.
Interfering With God's Plan
By your very interference with and supplanting of God-ordained parental authority, you may be the very tool Satan uses to prevent this youngster from coming to true repentance. For example, you many believe it was heartless for the father of the Prodigal Son to let his son learn vital lessons through the reproofs of life, so you undertake to bail the Prodigal out of every difficulty he experiences. In so doing, he never would have experienced the deprivation, shame and humility of the pig pen which God specifically used to bring the Prodigal to Himself and to true repentance.
No doubt there are children who need to be rescued from perverted and demented parents. Wherever there is physical or moral danger to a child, careful and judicious interference is justified for the sake of the child's safety. However, the burden of proof that there is a clear and present danger is clearly on the shoulders of the one who would intervene because the family unit is God-ordained.
Since 1971, we have directed rebellious young hearts back to the authority of their God-given parents. Have we ever disagreed with parental advice, procedures and methods? Of course! . . . some times vehemently. But to sabotage a parent's authority over his child simply because I disagree with matters of procedure or philosophy is to violate the larger principle of God-given authority and the sanctity of the home.
Only a parent who has personally experienced the exquisite pain involved in having their authority as parent undermined by a friend, family member or Pastor can tell you of the anguish, trauma and torture involved in not only seeing a child turned away from them, but also in the betryal of that intimate personality in whom they trusted.
Extreme Caution Needed
Be careful, dear friend, as you feel tempted to improve on the family of another person. You may honestly believe you have justification to do so based on what you perceive as mitigating circumstances and compelling situations. But, consider the example of Hagar. She was treated so harshly by Sarah that she chose certain death in the wilderness rather than face more of such treatment at her hands. When the pre-incarnate Christ spoke to her in the wilderness, He did not sympathize with Hagar, nor did He criticize Sarah, but rather told Hagar to "return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands" (Gen. 16:9).
Revelation of Character
When you violate the sanctity of another man's home by undermining his authority over his child, you show yourself to be as unprincipled as the rebel whom you are indulging. In so doing, you have not solved any problems at all, but have become a part of the problem and have in fact made it more complicated.
We Will Give An Account
The foundation of the family unit is under unprecedented Satanic attack. God forbid that any of his children would participate in this attack by encouraging the rebellion of any son or daughter against his God-given parents. Nathan the prophet gives us a rather clear view of God's mind about violating the sanctity of another man's home in how sternly he rebuked David in the matter of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. (2 Sam. 12:7-12). One can only wonder what some believers will face at the Judgment Seat of Christ for how they have in any encouraged the rebellion of the son or daughter of another man!
by Pastor Ronald E. Williams, DirectorHephzibah House
508 School Street, Winona Lake, IN 46590
Reprints may be obtained from the above address.
508 School Street, Winona Lake, IN 46590
Reprints may be obtained from the above address.