A Hundred Mothers and Fathers...Yet, Order IN The House
Question: Since we are to be “a hundred fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, …” how does the way the world would typically view the family unit, biologically, fit in? How should the Spiritual Family and the biological family be understood in relation to one another, as it pertains to child-rearing and other areas?
There are a million practical areas in regards to all of this, of course. Perhaps we could use “child discipline” as an example. Even in an expression of Jesus, a living Church, that is very much like Jesus and doesn’t have a lot of unanswered questions and divisions and leaven...we must still give honor to the biological unit of family. Of course, in an assembly where every man does what’s right in his own eyes and few “discern the Body,” this would be even more true, since the deposit of daily love and relationship seldom exists beyond the bounds of a biological family unit.
Even if we are in a place where things are very close to what God intends for a true church, there needs to be respect for the biological family unit. Even where the life of Christ “from the least to the greatest” is in line with the direction it is supposed to be (everyone is not necessarily WHERE they’re supposed to be, but everyone is IN THE DIRECTION that Jesus intends)—it still would virtually never happen that I would just grab the hand of someone’s child that is maybe being disrespectful—and walk them off to the woodshed. Not happening!—except in the rarest of circumstances or emergencies. I need to honor their history and the direct responsibility that they have to the authority of their parents.
Even though I’m very responsible for that child, as I have a hundred fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, lands, possessions, I’m still not going to step presumptuously into disciplining children here and there, rather than working with them and their parents. I’m not going to whisk the child off to the woodshed—even though they are very much a part of my family.
AND YET, I do not, CANNOT, isolate them by flesh and blood and DNA as “mere humans,” as pagans do. “Well, they’re Black or Chinese or old or young, so I don’t really relate to them.” “They’re not really a part of me.” “They have a different set of genes than I do and they have a different last name than me, so I’m not really as responsible.” No! That is not true! We are to “see no man after the flesh,” regardless of their color, their age or whatever gene pool they happen to come out of. I’m responsible. If I’m truly “born a second time” I’ve become a different species, as have they, and this entity far surpasses and supersedes these issues of flesh and blood and gene pools.
Still, the order that God has set in place so that things function properly means that I’m not going to grab a child’s hand and just walk off with them to the woodshed, regardless of their family unit. I’m going to honor the process that God has put in place—even though we are going to work it through on some level. I may talk to the child and say, “Why don’t you go tell your parents what you just did.” I can be easily that involved any day of the week on that level. “Did I hear that properly? Could you please explain to me what you just said and why you did that to your sister?” “Let’s talk about that. Let’s go for a little walk over here. Your mom is over here. I’d like you to tell her what I think I just saw. Would you please do that for me?” I’m very involved in that process and I would never in a million years think that was not my responsibility and that I should not be involved. I would never say, “Well, they raise their children differently than I would and we’ve just got to agree to disagree” while their children grow up to be rebels and die in their sins when they’re fifteen. I’m not going to do that! God has said many times that we do have accountability for one another’s souls, and the last guy I know that implied, “I’m not my brother’s keeper” is NOT one of my heroes.
God Is Owner
There is very definitely an honor process that says, “I want to honor the home”—“I want to honor the fact that this child’s parents are primarily responsible for this gift.” However, I’m also keenly aware that they don’t own that child or that spouse, but that GOD owns that child or that spouse. A parent or spouse does have a primary responsibility—but they are not owners of the child or the spouse. This little child is not a possession. This child, this spouse, is a co-heir. A child is a gift that has been given as a trust. The parents didn’t create that life. They donated something to the process and now bear much of the responsibility, but ultimately those children belong to God. Because of that, I’m not going to let two parents destroy a child’s life. Not on my watch. I’m going to somehow find a creative way to help. There are a thousand ways to help impart vision and I’ve got to be passionate about it, not passive. I do need to take responsibility because those, according to God, are my children, too, in the Spiritual sense.
There Is Discretion
Now of course, if I just met you, I’d be even more creative with you because I don’t know you as well. With others that I know well I may be a little more blunt because they expect that and they themselves return that when necessary. We can be more direct when we know each other well because we trust each other and we know what we mean and there’s no question about whether or not there is a commitment there. There is a loyalty and a love that allows a certain amount of frankness. That may take a little bit of time if you don’t know someone as well, but you are still responsible for everyone that is of the same genetic species—that has been born a second time—and their offspring. I’m still responsible. I AM my brother’s keeper. I admit it. I’m guilty. And so are you. You are priests if you’ve been born a second time. Responsibility comes with the territory!
So, there is a process of honoring the order that God has set in place, and we each must be very committed to that. There is also a global perspective that says, “I can’t shrug it off. I have to find a way—while I’m continuing to honor.” There is not some quick fix answer for how to do things, but there has to be some vision of how this looks from God’s vantage point so that we can begin to navigate our way through 10 million different varied situations.