I started thinking about this subject after reading Peter’s June 11 entry (see Blogroll for link). The state of our American culture typifies the state of our hearts towards God.
In the colonial times, when most of the new inhabitants of America feared and worshipped God, the family was a huge component of everyday life. Parents were involved in every step of life, from choosing a career (quite often following in the father’s footsteps) to choosing a spouse. Children told their parents what was happening in their lives. Mother and fathers were respected, honored, and listened to. Their opinion mattered and children usually realized they only had Mom and Dad for a limited time, so they had better absorb all the wisdom from them that they could in the time they had. Not only parents, but the family itself was a major focus of life. Siblings played together, stayed close throughout their lives, and helped each other in times of need. Often, unmarried siblings lived together for their whole lives.
God has designed the family as a picture of the way we are to relate to Him and to our fellow believers. Just as with parents, we should be in constant communication with Him, telling Him everything that is happening in our lives and keeping Him involved in every step–from choosing a career to choosing a spouse, just as with the parents He has placed in our lives to guide us. He is to be respected, honored, and seen as the greatest authority, the wisest Father we could ever have. We are to relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the same way we relate to our siblings, loving them unconditionally, bearing one anothers’ burdens, and staying close throughout our lives. What a perfect picture God has given us of what our relationship to Him is supposed to be!
However, as our culture has “progressed”, this perfect picture has been defiled and twisted. Let us look for a moment at the state of our families today. Parents are resented, hated, and pushed out of childrens’ lives. Their authority is undermined and thwarted at every turn. Children complain that “if my parents would just leave me alone, I could do so much better”. The advent of cell phones, Internet, and iPods have turned kids’ brains off to their parents’ advice and drawn them away from fellowship with these people that God has placed in their lives. The last thing most kids today want to do is involve their parents in their romances and other life choices. The wisdom that their parents would pass on to them and the value of the time they could spend with them is completely lost on them. They cannot even see it anymore. Their eyes are blind. The same has happened with siblings. They are disconnected from one another, constantly arguing and bickering, hating each other and tearing one another down with their words. Kids (and adults) do all they can to get away from their parents and siblings, instead of embracing their fellowship and loving them wholeheartedly.
The parallel to America’s relationship to God is glaringly clear. God’s love is spurned, His authority ignored, His care resented, and His plan blamed for everything bad (“If God would just leave me alone, I could do so much better!”). Satan’s lies through media, other people, and our own sin nature have completely turned off our brains and hearts to God’s guidance and love. We tell God to keep out of our romance, our careers, our hobbies, and our life in general. We cannot see how precious and valuable His fellowship with us is. We are so blind. Our relationship to others, even Christians to Christians, is suffering as well. Many churches are calloused and hardened to the needs of the people in their congregations. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are neglected. We bicker among ourselves over the tiniest things (what color should the church carpet be, folks?). We have lost the love. Our hearts are being desensitized.
And unbelievers are even worse.
Yes, all of this I have seen in the Christian world. We want a free ride to heaven without showing our gratitude. We are like children who want a long vacation to Disney Land but don’t want to identify with the parents who paid dearly for that vacation. How dare we be so cold?
The further downhill our families slide, the further our hearts drift from God. Look at the state of your family and let it be an indicator. How far have you and your family fallen? How far does that mean you and God have fallen?