What has been more eye-opening than the 5th Commandments teachings regarding parenting is how utterly expansive the 5th Commandment is in relation to all relationships that a believer has. It's not just the verse of Mommy and Daddy stuff to get a child to obey. It's a commandment related to how all life relationships are conducted and how all believers are to obey God. Here are a couple of points from my sermon notes this Sunday:
First, God's sovereignty excludes the idea that any relationship I have is a mistake.
Second, because of the first point, the idea is included that if you are a Christian, then you had better get used to discipline from God in these relationships because He gives us relationships that sanctify, that convict us of sin, that draw us to repentance, and at every point He expects our holiness because He is holy.
Therefore, my humble submission to the diverse relationships God has sovereignly given to my life is required. No matter how difficult the relationships may be, God requires my persistence in them. He gave me the spouse I have, the children I have, the family, friends and acquaintances that I have. I no more have permission to abandon those relationships than I have to abandon Him.
In each of those relationships He will and does regularly use their failings and mine to refine, to sanctify, to convict, to strengthen, to encourage, to teach, to instruct in more of Himself and more of what He requires of me. Ignoring all of that is apparently just plain foolishness. The core of my selfish heart would like to look at a lot of those relationships and see only the fault in "them" and "those people". More just plain foolishness.
Simply put, at every turn the actions of others intertwined with my own actions will logically result in either God-glorifying events or in self-glorifying events (which are dishonoring to God). When personal failure occurs, I really only have two choices. One, to repent of the sin and move forward or two, to deny the sin and grow in bitterness.
Sadly, my life is pocked with times where I have chosen the second door. Those paths are littered with regrets. And consequences. Hence the whole get used to discipline part of being a Christian. God does discipline us through relationships. Consider any and every character of the Bible. Each one experienced the Lord's discipline and training through their many relationships with others, whether pagan or believers. And each that submitted to His discipline, learned more of God and grew in faith.
Thankfully, I am learning to choose the first door. But honestly, it is the harder door. Because admitting personal sin is shaming. Yet, how shameful it should be when I consider that these are the very things that gave cause for Christ's death. And, how beautiful it becomes to turn to Him for the solution and change of heart necessary. In these cases, the discipline that occurs is the Hebrews 12:5-11 description:
Verses 10-11 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I do not like being disciplined. It is painful. But I do deeply desire the Lord to produce righteousness and peace in my life. I am choosing that door.