Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

August 17, 2013

O is for Obedience

By Dr. Michael Layne
Daily News

---- — Proverbs 5:13: “I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!”

Oh, the act of obedience. To obey is an act of submission, and society in general has a problem with being submissive. Maybe it is a lack of understanding what submission really means, or maybe a person grew up in a family where a parent or guardian was gung-ho about everyone walking the line all of the time, and when one didn’t, they were punished.

More times than we like to think, some children have been abused instead of corrected when they did not obey a parent. We have seen that very thing right here in our community with the sad death of a youngster several months ago.

To be sure, obedience is very important in our lives. It’s what keeps our society civil. The laws of our states and, I can speak for Texas and Indiana, require a child to, “Obey the lawful commands of their parents.”

While working in juvenile services in law enforcement, I have seen so many children come through the system end up incarcerated, and their lives take a path that many times will direct them to a life of criminal activity which often spills over into adulthood.

The city where I worked in Texas had two full time juvenile officers. One day we were purging the files of those who had turned 17 years of age because whatever crimes they would be caught doing would be handled in the adult system.

We came across one file of the oldest of seven sons of one family. We had handled every one of the boys except for the youngest who was about six years of age. Wouldn’t you know it, a few days later there sits the youngest in our office.

A patrol officer caught him red-handed, breaking out a plate glass window of a business in the downtown area.

Apparently the little guy had been taught well by his six older brothers. The first he said was, “Before y’all start asking me questions, give me a couple of minutes to get my story together.” We knew this family struggled with dysfunction and there was no discipline applied in appropriate ways. I don’t know whatever happened to those boys, but I am sure most, if not all of them, had a difficult life unless they found purpose.

Have you known people like the above? We have them around us every day. As a Christian, how are we to respond to others? Well, this passage has something to say about it: 1 John 4:20: “If someone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”

Do we struggle with this concept? Yes.

It is tough for Christians to obey such commands because, for one thing, it really takes us out of our comfort zone, and we don’t do well treading in areas where we would rather not be.

Obedience to scripture is important. The Bible has much to say about a child needing to obey the parents. It also talks about obedience to government. We would rather bypass some of this obedience talk and not be reminded of our responsibility to simply obey what is right.

Hey, who said life would be easy? We face issues daily. Some of those issues come about when we walk in disobedience, but when we decide to obey what is right, it really makes life easier.

The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-614-2160 or through www.doclayne.com.