Let Me Tell You a Story – Rebellion, Sin and Confusion


My son became a rock star. Not a soft rock, or that gentle “poppish” type of rock star. No no no – He wrote and performed heavy rock. The stuff that includes the screaming, and some pretty complex stuff. Rough life, long nights, rejection, living on a wish.

Myself – I was a very conservative, religious, authoritarian fellow. As my children grew, I read them Bible stories at night, took them to church every time the doors opened, opened our home to believers for studies and sought to give our children exposure to a quiet, unassuming life.

How could I have a son who is so different, so of “another way”, of such a different lifestyle and belief?

I missed him so much but there was so much rebellion, so much sin, so much confusion!

In the midst of this struggle, a fella told his story of his father. He was a preacher, a respected man in the community, a servant of a prison ministry. But he was a musician, a young man who played an acoustic guitar and sang in bars. And every chance he played, dad would end up in a backstreet gin joint, watching, applauding, being there.

So much rebellion, so much sin, so much confusion!

In seeking to be with his son, the preacher man lost status in the community. He noticed the whispers in the church. It was obvious his actions were drawing some attention, that he had acquired a stain. He was associating with others that were not in a protected cloister, were not prim and proper, were not of the moral high ground.

So much rebellion, so much sin, so much confusion!

God’s son came into a messy, foul, vile environment to love His creation. He experienced a seeming loss of dignity, a respect and honor He had spent his life building, and that he rightly deserved. The Son of God walked into bars and “gin joints”, associated with hookers and sinners. He touched lepers and healed blind beggars.

So much rebellion, so much sin, so much confusion!

The Lord rebuked me. I read the gospels one more time, seeing Him rub shoulders with “dirty sinners”. My self righteous attitude of standing aloof from my son, of erecting some sort of religious high ground to look down on him, was my rebellion, sin and confusion.

I remember going to his shows, wearing ear plugs in order to hear the music – yes I wrote that right. Of late nights with his band members, and being with my son. Of seeing my son pour his life into a goal I never would have imagined.

He is my son. I love him.

My image, reputation and standing in the religious community I belonged to became unimportant, less of a burden that I needed to protect. It is interesting that as I sought to love my son, and to be with him, a certain drifting from the religious high ground I had erected for myself began to occur in my thinking. Judgement of others became more apparent in my life and an affront to my thinking. Protecting my image became less important.

Preserving a reputation may not be God’s will for you. As believers, we may need to release our status, empty ourselves of our reputation in the community in order to love someone.

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: – Philippians 2:7

We may need to reconsider what righteousness is in God’s eyes. Holding onto self righteous attitudes may not be God’s will for you

So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. – Mat 23:28 ESV

We may need to remember that the kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom, totally reversed to the world we live in, that priorities and attitudes that please God are not reflected in our culture. If your neighbor is a “dirty sinner”, consider Paul’s admonition.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. – Rom 15:1-2 ESV

It is so interesting (challenging) that Paul tacked on the “and not to please ourselves” phrase. Can you hear the implication?

Where does forgiveness and love fit on your “list of duties” before God? If church attendance, sermon notes, tithing, public prayer and such activities are priorities over relationships, consider your ways.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Mat 5:23-24 ESV

Notice the Lord did not say that “you remember that you wronged your brother”. His teaching is describing a brother having something against you, possibly a perceived wrong. Jesus is giving us instruction about relationship maintenance, to the point of asking forgiveness of an imagined act. This is a high bar, and Jesus prioritized this duty of maintaining relationship with a fellow over a religious act.

The act can be done later – LOVE NOW.

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