Several years ago, I read a study synopsis from a well respected site indicating that the most influential power in a child’s life was his parents. (Golly-gee-whiz, I wonder how many man-hours and tax dollars went into that one.) Of course, ask any of the teachers in my middle school, and they could have told you that. Better yet, I have a Book that pretty well spells it out from years of experience and Wisdom.
Needless to say, there are some forces in the Universe that are inherently powerful, for good or evil, and parenthood is certainly at the top of that list. It’s not that parents can take credit for all the choice their kids make (positive or negative), but their influence is still credibly incredible in some capacity throughout a person’s life.
So it takes some real courage when a child, even an adult “child”, has to back up and re-evaluate patterns of thinking and doing that are leading down a destructive path. Such may have been the case in this account, tucked in among the “begats” in an otherwise boring section of the Old Testament book of Numbers:
“Pallu was the ancestor of Eliab, and Eliab was the father of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. This Dathan and Abiram are the same community leaders who conspired with Korah against Moses and Aaron, rebelling against the LORD. But the earth opened up its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, and fire devoured 250 of their followers. This served as a warning to the entire nation of Israel. However, the sons of Korah did not die that day.”
Evidently, Korah’s sons decided that Daddy’s attitude was heading in a really bad direction, and they—either collectively or individually—decided to opt out. Way out, as in far enough out so as to not fall into the earth when it opened up and swallowed the rest of the family and their followers.
I can only imagine the eye-popping shock and brow-wiping relief of how their personal decision to remain faithful to God saved not only themselves but also their own families from the desolating effects of disobedience. They could still love and respect their parents without respecting what their parents “do”; in fact, it was expected in the Mosaic Law! But at some point, there had come a line that they personally would not cross.
And it comes to that for many people today as well.
I’ve worked at my current position as school nurse for over twenty years now. I have children of former students; I call them my “grand-students”, and I love it. It’s unfortunate at times, however, when I see generational patterns of toxicity working within the power of family. I also marvel when I see students, now grown up, who have broken free of abuse, who have not only survived what should have been a childhood of love and nurture, but are somehow thriving like a flower blooming out of a rock. Granted, their stem might not be completely straight (who’s is??) but they’re reaching up to find the sun.
They have said, “I no longer have to think like that, respond like that, be like that, or see myself or my world like that.”
Would that they could know Someone else has already said that for them:
“Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a purely human point of view, in terms of natural standards of value.”
“They are not of the world…, just as I am not of the world.”
“…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Of course, first steps are hard, but subsequent ones can be difficult also. I offer this Celebrate Recovery site as an option and encouragement for anyone willing to receive (or to give) a helping hand.
Because sometimes all it takes is a crack in the rock for a little Sonshine to get in.
Numbers 26: 8-11; Romans 12:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.