As a young man I was scared to death of my step-father. I mean it, too! I was scared to death. This man could make me wet my pants with one look. He was the one who dished out the punishment in our house, and boy could he dish it out. The bottom line–whenever he was around, my brother and sisters and I did exactly what we were told! We simply never broke the rules. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much love from this man, so as soon as he and my mother divorced, I was up to no good almost immediately. You see, you cannot “discipline” without love. It goes in one ear and out the other. Discipline without love isn’t discipline at all–it’s just plain old punishment. People don’t change their behavior based on punishment. They’ll change it because of discipline. That’s precisely why you cannot win someone to the Lord by beating them over the head with the Bible. They need to know that you love unconditionally… then they might listen to you.
I read a story last week written by a youth pastor that attended a Marilyn Manson concert to “witness” what happened there, and to “witness” to Marilyn’s followers. As he wrote it, the thing that shocked him the most was not the chants “Hail Satan, Hail Satan” by the concert goers, but the way he was treated in the parking lot by the “Christians.” It seems that a quiet, prayerful protest was not in their bones. Instead, they taunted people, called them names, cussed at them, and worse. Wow! I wonder why these young people are protesting the Christian establishment.
I seem to remember a saying that goes something like this… “What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I cannot hear.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus of Nazareth (John 13:34-35)