Prior to taking this seat before my computer, I spent some time with my parents. It began with my usual role as the family’s IT guru. On the way out, I stopped to let them know I would be busy with a church event Saturday morning. Saturday is a time we generally spend together as family.
To shorten the tale, it led to my father asking about the church I have been going to. A place I know will not meet his approval as a place “rightly dividing the word of truth”. The whole idea of getting deeper into that conversation made me uncomfortable. I love my dad dearly. I also find that when he holds to something he holds to it completely and without deviation. It makes it difficult to converse sometimes, and with my personality I try to find paths to harmony rather than pushing back.
It is this trait that pinned me in. He asked a question, one he said would tell you if the pastor of a church “rightly divided” the Scripture. Before answering it, he changed his mind and turned the question on me. I turned inward and sought the answer I thought best fit what I knew of his beliefs and what I’ve studied myself. Needless to say, though a reasonable answer, my best guess missed the mark and he quickly jumped in to educate me.
So I listened.
Recently, I’ve listened a lot more. As I said, it can be difficult with my dad. He can come on very strong, but for a reason I respect. He truly believes everything he is telling you, and he’s spent a considerable amount of time studying to come to those close held beliefs. I would love it if he were a little more open, but I don’t worry about it much these days. I learn a lot from him, and he loves his family, his friends and his God. I trust him, even if I don’t always agree. He’s very different than me, but his life still points me to God.
“God did not make this person as I would have made him. He did not give him to me as a brother for me to dominate and control, but in order that I might find above him the Creator.
Now the other person, in the freedom with which he was created, becomes the occasion of joy, whereas before he was only a nuisance and an affliction….
I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others. That image always manifests a completely new and unique form that comes solely from God’s free and sovereign creation.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer