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Healthy Fear
Commentary on the News
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Rebecca Droeger

Last week, my mother met my Aunt, my Aunt’s daughter in-law and two grandsons for lunch.  One grandson is almost five (5), the other just turned a year old.

During the course of the five-star dining at McDonald’s extraordinaire, the eldest grandson hit his mother because he did not want to do something his mother had asked. 

As a reprimand, his mother pulled him onto her lap, pinned his arms down, and placed him in her version of a public time-out.  This further infuriated the child and caused him to throw a temper-tantrum in the middle of the restaurant.

When I say throw a temper-tantrum, I’m talking screaming frantically, writhing hysterically, kicking and yanking away.

This lasted several minutes, causing great embarrassment for my family, but also making the other patrons feel extremely uncomfortable.

While I understand that parents try to do the best they can, and I try not to be judgmental because they might have special circumstances they are dealing with; but if that were my daughter, I would have smacked her hand and said “You don’t hit people because they’ll hit you back.”  Then, I would have her to go to bed without doing activities she enjoys.  She would know that the behavior was unacceptable and not tolerable.

The whole story made me realize that my daughter, while I love her dearly and hate to chastise her, has a healthy fear of me.  She’s not afraid of me, but she does understand that her choices have consequences.  This is because she has experienced past chastisements and knows that the outcomes are not pleasant.

Every child has some type of leverage as to what will get their attention.  Perhaps it is good old fashioned spankings, or the now infamous time-outs.  Other forms of chastisements could be taking away something the child enjoys doing, or threatening not to return to the location where the child is throwing the fit.  Believe me, my Mom got through to me many times with that simple statement.

Whatever the case may be, children need to have a healthy fear of their superiors.  Otherwise, children are liable to think they call the shots.  Once they realize they are the ones in control, they will use it to their advantage and never respect authority.

The dynamics of the parent and child relationship help me understand our relationship with God that much more clearly.  It also clearly demonstrates the reasons for the different dispensations of how God has related to the human race over time.

When a baby is born, the baby goes through an Age of Innocence.  This is similar to Adam and Eve before the fall of Man.  They experienced a state of innocence until they ate of the forbidden fruit.

Eventually, a child will misbehave, and sin, so the parent must make the child aware of the misbehavior.  Thus, the age of Conscience is born.  In God’s realm, this was from the Fall of Man up to the Flood.

The Age of Government in God’s realm took place during the time of the Flood up to Abraham.  This time basically allowed mankind and the Angelic Host to witness how mankind would fare with the resources and direction God already provided and to see where it led.  This is likened to having a toddler explore the world around him or her and see what corrections need to be made.

The Promise Age came next where Abraham was given the promise of the Chosen People.  This occurred up through Moses.  This can be likened to helping the child realize the unique relationship that a parent has with a child and why the child is special to the parent.

Next comes the Law which occurred from the time of Moses to the time of Christ.  This is the age where Man learned what he needed to do in order to have a right relationship with God.  This is where Man developed a healthy fear of the Almighty and learned consequences of his actions.  Likewise, this is where a child should attain a healthy fear of his or her parents in order to appreciate authority.

After a child learns the Law and understands the need for authority, the Age of Grace can begin.  The Age of Grace started at the Cross and will continue until the Millennial Kingdom.  The Age of Grace demonstrates how much God loved us in that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for us to have a perfect relationship with Him.  Although nothing can compare to this sacrifice, the impact on the child is that the child wants to be good for the parent; not because the child fears the parent, but because the child loves the parent.

The entire lifespan of the relationship demonstrates that the parent never changed in how the parent loves the child, but how the parent relates to the child as the child grows.  Similarly, God remains the same and the path to salvation never changed; only the way God dealt with the growing human spirit.  Praise be to God that the pathway was always grace through faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  not of works, lest any man should boast.” 

About Rebecca Droeger

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