Summary: As healthy family relationships are established, individuals and society grow stronger.
Don’t You Believe It: The Myth of Self-Importance
Morning, January 21, 2001
Pastor Don Walker
Over the last two weeks we’ve been dealing with the topic of ¡§Don¡¦t You Believe It.¡¨ The basic idea is that our society accepts a number of myths as truth. They have become accepted guides for living. However, living out of these myths brings harm to us as individuals and to our society.
God has given us ten basic truths we can use for guidance in living. The end product will be wholesome, healthy, positive living as He designed it to be experienced. The ten myths have to be destroyed by the truth of God¡¦s word to us as found in the Ten Commandments. In the past two weeds, we’ve dealt with 4 of these myths:
„h The myth of many roads to God
„h The myth of happiness is the only thing to strive for
„h The myth that words don¡¦t really mean anything
„h The myth that we don¡¦t have to take God seriously
This morning, we¡¦ll explore another: The myth of self-importance. The myth proclaims, ¡§You¡¦re your own boss, so make decisions based on what is best for you. If someone is going to lose something, let it be the other person. There is nothing worth your personal sacrifice. Make your decisions based on what¡¦s in it for yourself.¡¨
Many people look life through the lens of "how will it affect me." Undoubtedly, this has always been case to a certain extent. However in past generations, personal considerations came to the mind of most after questions about family and community.
Think of individuals who served our country in World War II. As our country entered the war, men and women had to consider their service to our country. Most people gave consideration as to the effects of aggression against our nation. They considered how this aggression would affect family, community and country. This was first in consideration. This led to a sense of duty to others even to the point of risking life and limb in the military. There was little or no thought of what a person would get personally.
In our society, the desires of the individual seem to always take precedence over authority, order, civility, honor and respect in our society. As a result, our society is failing.
The most difficult problems we face in our society are rooted in the deterioration and pain of families. Despite attention, money, and effort, our system of public education is failing to educate our children properly. There is an explosion of child abuse and neglect. Children are living in situations that are terrifying. Latch-key kids face temptations they should never have to face alone. Do you realize that children have more violence perpetrated on them than any other group? This includes children who are victims of abortion and children who live in poverty. The war on drugs is actually a battle that to save children. Newborn babies are addicted to drugs. Children turn into terrorists dealing illegal drugs. It is our children who are suffering and paying the price.
The pain and anxiety of the process, the threat to individual children, and the future of this country is grave indeed. We must reassert some of the wisdom that has been lost. A good place to start is the fifth of the Ten Commandments.
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you."
The first four commandments deal with the relationship between God and his people. The remaining six commandments face issues that are foundational to healthy human relationships. As healthy human relationships are established, individuals and society grow stronger.
In Ephesians 6:2, Paul notes that the fifth commandment is the first given with the promise that something good will happen if it is obey. There are two elements in the promise: (1) that you may live a long and valuable life, and (2) that the nation will also receive blessing. The individual and the society will both benefit if we hear and heed the fifth commandment to honor our parents.
The key to a stable society is found in ¡§honor your father and mother.¡¨
The only thing commanded is ¡§honor.¡¨
To honor a person is to allow them have influence, dignity, and above all, authority for you. Honoring does not necessarily mean that there must be feelings of love. Feelings of love come from memories, laughter, and anticipation of each other’s company. These are precious in a relationship of honor, but are not required. Those gifts flow out of positive choices that are made, but they are not at the heart of the commandment.
It is important to also recognize that honor cannot be expressed under duress.