Posted by Ryan Woods
It's rare that a student goes beyond his teacher. It takes a very special student to do so. You know that principle right?
Whether we like it or not we are shaped by our parents choices and behaviors. Some value this, some ignore it, and still others fight against it. But regardless of your viewpoint the reality is that the choices your parents made affect the choices that you make today. I've got one friend whose parents made terrible choices while he was growing up and so his "rebellion" was to make really ridiculously responsible choices. I feel like I've been blessed to learn from my parents early-life poor choices with money because of their openness on the subject. But it doesn't usually end up like this. Anyone who has taken a psych class can tell stories of how alcoholism, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc by parents all directly affect the next generation of children.
I say all that to say two very different things:
- Introducing people to Jesus and serving as guides on their spiritual journey of following Christ is a hugely miraculous process. It's a miracle that it even happens. Because you're asking people to make new choices and practice new behaviors that they were never taught to do. And I'm not just talking about the "churchy" things like getting up on Sunday morning, reading your Bible, fasting, etc. (though those are all hard practices that should be learned) but I'm thinking more about "simple" things like talking to your wife respectfully even though in your home that was never modeled. I'm talking about relearning what is normal and what is abnormal, that maybe the experiences you had as a child are actually extremely abnormal and twisted but you just never knew it. I'm talking about not having sex unless you're married to the person. I'm talking about not getting wasted when you drink. I'm talking about not getting into debt and only spending money that you actually have. The list could go on and on. When Jesus asks us to live responsibly, to love endlessly, to rejoice always, and tells us that every person carries dignity it requires lots of changes that are often times completely contrary to what our core being "tells" us is right. I hope that all the exciting church planting happening around us will be marked not just by people giving their lives to Jesus for the first time but by lives of discipleship marked not by perfect behavior but by a journey that reflects growth and maturity and transformation. You know what we need? We need more godly mentors and disciplers!
- And my second and completely unrelated point is...how can we expect Americans to not be completely and overwhelmingly in debt when they're simply doing what their "parents", the government have modeled to them? It takes a very disciplined and dedicated child to make choices that the parents won't make. God bless Dave Ramsey for helping people make those tough choices! And maybe one day we can hope (or vote) for a government that at the very least stops spending more than what they make.