Summary: This sermon addresses the question, "Who should really be in charge when it comes to our families?"

Today we will be looking at the question; Who Is Really In Charge Of Your Family?

A Battle for Control

In the Pacific Ocean, there is a small volcanic island, it only has an area of about 8 square miles and today the island is practically uninhabited. But in 1930’s it was inhabited by about 1000 islanders. And since the island was volcanic in origin, the soil wasn’t the greatest… the only significant farming that took place on the island was the harvesting of sugarcane. And because of its small size, its lack of significant resources and mostly uneducated inhabitants, this island had no major source of commerce aside from the processing and refining of its sugarcane. There really didn’t appear to be anything special about this small island that would attract any significant attention.

But in February of 1945, on this small and seemingly insignificant island, one of the bloodiest battles in American history took place. The Battle of Iwo Jima was a battle for the control of this small island.

You see, the island of Iwo Jima was roughly 650 miles from Tokyo, Japan, and the American Pacific Command saw it as an ideal base for fighter escorts as well as a refuge for crippled bombers as they pushed forward towards Japan.

The Japanese anticipated that our American forces would be attracted to Iwo Jima and its three recently built airfields, so the Japanese constructed elaborate defenses on the island to help maintain their control of this key position. 21,000 Imperial Japanese troops defended the island in a series of underground bunkers consisting of 1500 rooms, connected by 16 miles of underground tunnels.

110,000 US Marines, on over 800 ships, took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. During the initial invasion, the amphibious landing of the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, 1 of every 3 marines were either wounded or killed. The marines landed on beaches overlooked by 550-foot tall Mt. Suribachi, from which Japanese soldiers rained down automatic weapons fire, rockets and anti-landing craft fire.

After the initial landing, the fighting on Iwo Jima was characterized by step-by-step elimination of tenacious Japanese defenders deeply entrenched and rarely seen by the American Marines. Flame-throwers and grenades were staples in flushing the defenders from their subterranean bunkers.

One of the most difficult obstacle of the entire battle was the taking of the extinct volcano, Mt. Suribachi. With the advantage of Mt. Suribachi’s high ground, the Japanese defenders were able to fire down into the oncoming American marines with relative ease. When the American flag was raised by five Marines and a Navy corpsman on top of Mt. Suribachi, it was a defining moment for the American troops in the midst of the battle as well as a nation that was waiting and watching from home. The hoisting of the American flag on Iwo Jima became was an image of victory in the pacific that became a morale boost for all of America.

On March 25, after 36 days of combat, the battle ended. The American Military had succeeded in taking control of the Island of Iwo Jima. But the cost of Iwo Jima was high… Over 6,800 service men were killed, another 20,000 were wounded, missing, or presumed dead. The cost for the Japanese was equally as high… of the 21,000 Japanese Imperial troops that were present at the onset of the battle, 20,000 were killed in the battle and 1,000 that were remaining were taken as prisoners.

The Battle For Control Can Be A Very Costly Battle…

Whether it happens on a global, a national, a community, or even family level, the battle for control can be very divisive and very destructive. In an effort to gain control we can cause intense pain, extreme frustration, unnecessary suffering, unwanted separation, and irreplaceable loss. Sometimes in our effort to gain control, we completely lose control.

When we look specifically at our families and the battles for control that take place there, we can see some of the same effects… How many of you have seen (intense pain, extreme frustration, unnecessary suffering, unwanted separation, and irreplaceable loss) because there was a battle for control within a family?

The Pre-Schooler – In Wal-Mart, when they are in the check-out aisle, and see some candy that they want... What happens when their parent tells them "NO"? A Battle For Control.

The Child – In McDonald’s, when the parents have said that their child has to finish eating their cheeseburger before they can play with the Happy Meal Toy... What do we see happen? A Battle For Control.

The Teenager – During any number of conversations/arguments that a parent might have to have with them. (Whether If It’s Talking About Grades, the way they talk or dress, who they are dating, things that they want to do...) And the young people respond...“Why Won’t You Listen To Me??? You Don’t Even Try To Understand Me Or My Friends!!! I Hate You!!! You’re The Worst Parent Ever!!! Don’t You Care About What I Think!!!” A Battle For Control.

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