Words of Hope: Relationship Over Rules
Dad disliked rules over relationships. In our home, he cared more that there was love in our hearts for God than if we went to church or read the Bible. If I read the Bible because I was forced to and had bitterness in my heart for my Dad making me read the Bible, Dad thought this was terrible parenting. He also didn’t believe that children could do whatever they wanted with apathetic spirits. He understood the heart was the center. He believed when families, especially moms and dads, who positioned personal piety above love that trouble came.
Last year at this time, we read this story from Dr. Paul Tournier from the book the Violence Within.
He tells the story of a young pastor and his wife who had come to him for treatment. The wife was ill and unable to get out of bed. The husband, apparently shy and soft-spoken, interrupted Dr. Tournier’s examination of the wife to exclaim, “It’s quite simple, doctor. I have the Holy Spirit, and my wife does not.” Dr. Tournier wrote, “(This husband) had a genuine experience of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it had so intoxicated him, modest though he was by nature, it had given him a sense of superiority and power had quite blinded him.” He had no notion of the harm he was doing to his wife. Tournier goes on to say, “I have become increasingly aware of the danger of spiritual power. It is not only a matter of public success but also of our personal relationships and the spiritual authority that is attributed to us… very soon, we find ourselves thinking when they follow our advice, they are obeying God, and when they resist us, they are really resisting God.” Pg. 153
I am so grateful that my Dad didn’t allow a sense of spiritual superiority to arise in his relationship with my brother and me. I am thankful he rejected a lifestyle devoted to sanctimony and instead chose a life devoted to love, compassionate truth, and listening with humility.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5