For the Good of Your Child, Thinking in Absolutes - Lesson XIII
We are taught by the world to be broadminded in our thinking which means to think not in black and white but to think in grays.
Grays provide what is called wiggle room which means the ability to approve a broad range of things.
It is free thinking not bound by hedges or principles which always tend to obstruct or hinder.
I remember a time in the distant past standing with Dr. Hobbs in our usual Sunday School welcoming and hand shaking position at our church front door.
A car pulled up to park and on its rear bumper was a sticker with the message, God said it, I believe it, That settles it!
This message at the time was quite popular but Dr. Hobbs immediately said that the message should be: God said it, That settles it.
He remarked that whether I or he believed what God said was not relevant.
If God said it what I or he thought about it made no difference.
Dr. Hobbs, in this example, revealed a mind which thought in absolutes, a mind which thought in black and white.
If God said something my or his mind was not to take that and process it through our minds to see if we could believe it or not.
It was not given to us to process and change it to conform with our thoughts.
It was not raw material, material given to add our talents to and bring out a new product for it was finished material, not to be added to or subtracted from.
This was a lesson in thinking in absolutes.
Absolute means that which exists without being dependent on anything else.
With this in mind God is the only absolute and because of this, what God says can be counted as absolute.
Dr. Hobbs taught that it is important for us Christians to learn to think in absolutes for this is the mind of Christ.
If we are to think scripturally we are going to have to make this our practice.
Now this kind of thinking will bring you to think of the
institutions God has established, such as the home, as the perfect home, the home the way it ought to be, the home the way God intended it to be, not the way it is.
The Scripture gives us the standard, the ideal, the way things ought to be, and when we know and understand that standard in any area of life, we are able to recognize the distance we have drifted or strayed from that standard.
Life is not often, if ever, lived by mankind measuring up to the absolute standards of the Word of God; however we will never realize how far astray we are if we are not conscious of the standard.
Matthew in chapter 22 verse 37 recorded the words of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Now this is the requirement of God and therefore an absolute.
Can you honestly say you love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind?
Can we measure up to this absolute?
No, for we still live in this body of sin!
Will we ever measure up to this absolute?
Yes we will, for God will bring it about!
But until God brings it about we are to proceed toward this objective and let Christ’s mind be in you, which is a mind given to absolutes.
We are to study to show ourself approved unto God which means that we are to study to get our minds on God’s track, to think like God thinks, to conclude as God concludes, which are always absolute conclusions.
Study to show thyself approved is a process.
Study and see where you are wrong for you come into this process wrong.
Repent of that wrong and think God’s way.
Study some more and see where you are wrong.
Study will always reveal that you are wrong and that God is always right.
It is never the other way around.
This is the renewing of your mind.
Old things and that includes old thinks are passed away.
All things and all thinks are become new.
So the renewing of the mind is a constant removal of the errors of the sinner’s mind to the transforming perfect mind of Christ.
Renew means to put out the old mind and to put in the new mind.
We have taught much about child rearing, not according to the world’s way, but according to God’s way.
But how hard it is for folks to change their thinking about this subject.
How engrained our old minds are when it comes to this subject.
We all have been reared in one way or another.
Some by parents who have understood biblical principles and have applied them to our lives.
But all of us have been reared by imperfect parents who have used various methods and we live with the results of those methods every day.
The paradigm is fixed and our culture, our upbringing, how momma raised us and grandmother’s words on this subject affect us, our education, all compete for our thoughts and how we will rear our children.
But this is the thinking of the old man.
This is not the thinking of the mind of Christ.
For we measure ourselves by ourselves and are satisfied to follow the old man, who walks on the broad way.
Perhaps we quell our Christian conscience by somewhat following the word of God in ways that are not too revolutionary from the way we have been reared.
We see how others do it instead of yielding to God’s word completely and wholeheartedly.
We look at what we consider success in others’ child rearing ways and we are content.
We may pattern ourselves by others who appear to be doing a good job.
But that is not to be the way we are to do things.
That is not the mind of Christ, that is the mind of others.
We are not to measure ourselves by ourselves or other selves but we are to measure ourselves by the word of God if we are to have the mind of Christ.
Rear your children in the light of the word of God and not in the light of others.
Examine what you are doing in the light of the absolute and unchanging Word of God and discard all error and replace it with all truth.
And all truth is absolute.
We have instructed in great detail how important to the rearing of children their mother’s part is.
Children are not to forsake the law of their mother.
And the Bible absolute in which this is to take place is a recognition of the father’s role in this law keeping.
So God speaks absolutes in this.
What you find in your home does not alter His absolutes.
God does not speak after examining what you do for what you do is not relevant to His absolutes.
God does not take polls as to what the popular child rearing methods are and welcome them into his word.
The “I Am” has spoken, not the “I will be.”
The Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday and today and forever has spoken.
So He ascribes to the father the authority to command.
This absolute was introduced early in scripture and clearly blessed in Genesis 18:19 where God said this about Abraham:
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
So Dr. Hobbs in his booklet, For the Good of Your Child, in its ending chapter, entitled “Thinking in Absolutes”, brings us to the Father’s Role in Servant Training.
God has established fathers to be the primary authority figure in the home.
This is an absolute whether or not it happens in your home.
Your job it to conform to it.
And as such the father is responsible for establishing the “commandments”, that is the rules and regulations, which will give guidance and direction to the many functions in the home.
A wise father will of course bring his wife into this formulation of home policy so she will have understanding of the thinking involved and be in harmony with “commandments” as finally established by the father.
For he is to be the scriptural “lamp” that is to give light to those who are to be taught in the home.
Even though the primary authority figure in the home is the father, mothers will be a better day to day disciplinarian for she will normally be the one most personally engaged with the children.
But this discipline is to be understood by everyone in the home that it is given under the leadership of the father for he is the head and final authority in all matters.
The father’s word must be law to the children, and mother must build his image in this regard.
Always remember we are talking about the good of the child, not how father or mother are to promote themselves.
Father stands in the place of God in the lives of the children in their early years, and basically, their view of what God is like will be involuntarily set by him during those years.
Fathers, this is a very heavy responsibility placed upon you but this comes from God’s absolutes for the home.
A father always needs to be consistent and fair and his word is to be such that it cannot be ignored, evaded, or circumvented.
There ought to be a certain fear of their fathers instilled in children just as there is to be a fear of God taught to children.
It is good for children to fear those in authority because this kind of fear produces good in their lives for fear keeps them from doing things that will cause them harm.
Fathers are not to spend time worrying or fearful that their children will not like them.
If they do, this is not “For the Good of Your Child” thinking but this is “For the Good of You” thinking.
Father’s concern should only be that they are respected.
With time, this kind of father will not only be liked but greatly loved.
And speaking of love fathers are the ones to bring agape love into the home.
Agape love, that selfless love, is found in our heavenly father and we are told that we love because He first loved us.
Fathers, you can love for God has given to you to love.
Agape love is not an emotion but an act of the will.
This is such a misunderstood concept for so many times we hear a love smitten suitor saying I love her so much because she is so sweet.
That is love that requires her to be sweet in order to love her.
But Agape love is a matter of the will and requires nothing in return in order to love.
Nowhere in scripture is the wife instructed to exercise this kind of love toward her husband; however, on numerous occasions the husband is instructed to love, agape love, his wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it.
God’s love for us is not based upon what we are but who He is.
Therefore, the father’s love for his children, as well as his wife, is not to be based upon how they behave or react to him, but based upon who he is as a husband and father who knows and fulfills his responsibilities to his family.
And the supreme responsibility for a father is to love.
And in conclusion Dr. Hobbs wrote:
In the simple and straightforward Bible principles we have undertaken to discuss in these pages, we have attempted to keep in mind the child and what is best for him or her. We have not attempted to consider our own ideas or what would be the easiest for the parent. We have tried to keep the best interest of the child as that for which we should strive, remembering that the training of children, “in the way they should go” is the most serious and the most important business parents will ever undertake, and that the rewards are to be realized in this world and the one to come.