Jesus declared Himself as the way, the truth and the life. As humans, we fumble in darkness, unnecessarily. But by looking at Jesus, we see the real significance of human existence on earth. This implies the ability to follow Christ’s behavioral patterns, accordingly. The ways of Jesus need adopting, just as we naturally adopt Adam’s behavioral patterns, in human nature.
Joseph and Mary were the parents of Jesus. But they did not have influence over Jesus Christ’s destiny. As parents, they were responsible for the infant Jesus’ protection and safety. But as Jesus grew to be aware of His origin, the influence of His earthly parents did not have any impact over Him.
Ordinarily, the children of this world easily adopt the characteristics of their earthly parents. They naturally desire to conform to their earthly identities. This is where, racial or ethnicities are taken as important. Those parents teach their children to assume that earthly parents have responsibility over their existence.
However, Jesus revealed the truth in that the earthly parents are mere custodians. In other words, there is no life in one’s personal earthly identity. But there is life in a person’s divine identity. This is just as Jesus declared Himself as the way, the truth and the life. Jesus was born knowing His origin.
At age twelve, Jesus revealed that His parents ought to have known that Jesus had been connected to His Father in heaven (Luke 2: 41-51). Jesus’ earthly parents were relegated as not responsible for His behavior. Is it not true that traditional Christians appear as agreed in avoiding the behavior of Jesus?
They insist in instructing children to follow the conducts of parents’ respective life-styles. If parents are Catholics, the children are expected to be Catholics. The same applies with any other denomination, or religious persuasion.
Those parents are, actually, strict in instructing their children to follow the behavioral patterns of parents. The idea of those children being of godly origin, is foreign to most people—including those calling themselves, ‘Christians’. Yet, Jesus describes Himself as the way the truth and the life.
Any Christian parent—if an authentic Christian—ought to know from such scriptural references that the children born to them, are not their own. But, what is commonly adopted in our traditional Christianity is the opposite. Children are encouraged to obey earthly parents, more than obeying God, like Jesus.
Those children are not allowed to exercise their own opinion on how to obey God. But, at age twelve Jesus told his parents that they ought to have known that Jesus had been up to do His Father’s business. Jesus was a free Man, even though His parents were not free. Joseph and Mary were not Christians.
The story is different, with those parents having been converted into Christianity. Such parents are not like Joseph and Mary who had yet been to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. The children of the Christian parents must be treated as having been born free. That is if those parents are true Christians.
I suppose the earthly parents insist on telling their children to look to them, as ones with authentic knowledge of God? Obviously, this is generally the custom of denominational pastors, when exercising similar authority to their respective denominational congregants.
Yet this is another way of putting Jesus out of the picture. Those children could also take comfort in conforming to their earthly parents’ wishes. Unfortunately, there would still be an identity crisis with those children, until they accept Christ as being the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Those innocent children get confused, as to assume that their parents would know everything about God. This could be another reason why Jesus introduced a radical behavior on matters of Christianity. Jesus, actually, told His disciples to call no man on earth their father (Matthew 23:9).
Jesus was pointing at the establishment of a New Civilization—freeing humanity from traditional slavery. Christ’s followers were not to be identified with customs of this world anymore. The new way of behavior—as modeled after Jesus Himself—encourages taking instructions directly from God.
Jesus declared that no-one was allowed to declare himself as Christ’s follower, without first denouncing own parents and relatives (Luke 14:25-33). Unfortunately, our traditional Christianity tends to ignore such Scriptures.
The parents insist on being more valuable to their children than God. It seems, those parents succumb to comfort, rather than the radical approach, as recommended by Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, after having committed oneself to true Christianity, marital commitments are no longer to be considered as expedient.
Jesus never got married—as to leave a perfect example on matters of marriage and child-rearing, for instance. There is also no record of how the early disciples committed themselves to familial relationships, except doing God’s work.
The apostle Paul briefly touched on the subject of marriage to the Corinthian Christians (1 Corinthians 7). But, a careful analysis of Paul’s teaching shows that true believers are, actually, discouraged from committing themselves to marital relationships. (1 Corinthians 7:7). See also [God’s view on relationships].
Yet, there is also no scriptural reference where Jesus specifically said His disciples should not be married. Although there is a reference that His early disciples had left their families to follow Christ (Matthew 19:29). The inference projects that one cannot commit to familial relationships when also committed to Christianity.
However, there are several scriptures showing Jesus as having been attached to children—showing that He, actually, loved children. His followers are expected to behave like children, to effectively adopt His teachings. This, therefore, reveals that Jesus could not have been against familial relationships. It is a question of commitment and loyalty that Jesus expected of His disciples.
The children born to Christian parents cannot be regarded similarly to the children of this world. The children born to Christian parents are peculiar, just as their parents would have become peculiar. Conveniently, those children can be helped to understand that they are not of this world.
Those children would be given the lee-way to obey or not to obey God. But the parents—being no longer of this world—cannot behave like ordinary earthly parent. They live according to God’s instructions, as spiritually directed. Their children are not reared according to traditions and customs, but according to God’s instructions.
Christian parents who understand that they would be mere custodians of their children are not necessarily responsible for their children’s destiny. Those children could choose to obey or not to obey God. But, the Christian parents would have done their part as custodians of those children.
What God decides to do with those children, has got nothing to do with their earthly parents. The parents would have done their best. Showing those children the principle of living differently from what ordinarily goes on in their respective environments. But God would be in charge of their destiny.
Obviously, this does not imply that Christian parents cannot pray for their children. As long as they know that God’s will is paramount, over everything else. We remain with a question of how Christian parents should raise their children.
Having become Christians, God would have taken over, in those parent’s worldly conduct. A true Christian submits to godly instructions, more than to anything else, considered normal in this world. A person who comes to Christ forsakes everything to follow Christ.
However, I do not envisage Christians deliberately neglecting their children—even where the Spirit has not directed. Such parents would be citing the examples of Peter and the early disciples—having left everything to follow Christ.
Jesus displayed that He loved children, more than the earthly parents could assume loving their children. Nevertheless, child-rearing is, actually, a challenge to most people, including Christians, in this world. Good parents are known to try doing their best, only to find themselves falling short.
However, it would be unnecessary to carry burdens that would be no longer of those parents, having become Christians. When believing in Jesus, one assumes committing everything to Jesus, without reservations. Condemnation and outcry can come from all angles, as one of the prices of Christianity.
Child-rearing and other problematic issues of this world are no longer of concern to those sincerely believing in Jesus. What is said here is, obviously, strange to nonbelievers, or superficial Christians. An ideal Christian, having become committed to Christianity after marital involvement, behaves strangely.
This is when considering the behavior of the early disciples. Unfortunately, Scriptures are silent about what became of the children of those disciples. The most important thing to take note of is that the decision to follow Christ is personal. Christianity has got nothing to do with other people’s opinions—though the person being called is able to deduce Christ speaking through other humans.
Traditional Christianity is lost in inability to appreciate that Jesus is right here in our midst. They condemn other fellow humans, without knowing that they would, actually be condemning Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). Those Christians would be sincere in assuming belief in Jesus. They would be thinking upward, more than thinking horizontally, when worshiping God. See [Christians love Heaven, while God loves the world].
The duty of Christians is to do God’s will, more than taking care of children, or obeying the letter of the law. Obviously, confusion emanates from inability to separate law-keeping from practicing Christianity under grace. This has been an arduous challenge for Christians, throughout the ages.
Ordinary Christians want to be seen to be good, thereby conforming to whatever, identifies with being seen to be good, by ordinary humanity. They dismally fail to answer the simple question of whether Jesus ever worried about desiring to be seen to be good by His audience.
Jesus could not have died on the cross, if He sought to please those surrounding Him. Jesus did not worry much about what people thought, as long as doing His Father’s will. Honestly speaking, how many Christians similarly behave, in this world? Although, it is not my responsibility to denounce Christianity.
But, an ordinary observer can attest to the fact that most Christians take comfort in approval of humanity, than God’s approval. Generally, I have known people who seem to be more obsessed with wearing the colorful uniforms of their respective denominations, than doing God’s will.
Others are obsessed with comparisons. How does their own denomination compare with the other denomination, which can generally be despised? That behavior is not Christian, at all. It is characteristic of humanity in this world.
This is why even Christian parents have stress with child-rearing. “What are people going to say, if they see my own child doing such things?” is what occupies their minds. They are more worried about what people around them think, about their conducts, more than worrying about what God says.
Of course, I risk being viewed as one critically judging fellow Christians. But the message is for those using this, to introspectively consider their Christian conduct. There is no need to direct missiles at messengers, rather than confronting what is said.
This cannot be problematic to those aware of God speaking to humanity, using sinful humans. The question is on whether what is said is true or not true, when judged according to God’s word. It is not even necessary to consider the religious background of the person being used by God.
If truthfully identifying with God’s Word, what is said ceases to come from the author. Christians, generally, get confused, when comparing individuals—thereby invalidating what comes from others, while approving others.
But God’s word is not associated with humans—though God uses humans to communicate with humanity. God is not a respecter of persons. Considering personalities, instead of checking whether what is said is true or false, has remained the center of Christian failure.
For the careful Christians, no human can be adulated ahead of others, yet no human can be despised. True Christians seek being used by God to help the lost humanity. God is more worried about children born to Christians than those parents are concerned about their children.
Being a custodian implies taking care of that which does not belong to you. Everything is done according to God’s will, more than a Christian’s own will. This portrays, exactly, the responsibility of Christian parents, over children—wholly entrusted on Jesus.
To humans, it is unfathomable for Christian parents to neglect their children. But to God, it is fathomable for a true Christian parent to neglect his own children to follow Christ. There is difference between a Christian according to human expectations and a Christian according to God’s expectations.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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