With all the recent editorials that have been written about homosexual perversion and heterosexual promiscuity, it is time that we take a few minutes and give praise to those who have lived their lives within the bounds of Biblical standards. This past week, Karen and I were privileged to have my parents visit from Ohio. They joined us for a fourth of July picnic at Karen’s folks here in Rhode Island. It was the first time since the day of our wedding twenty-six years ago that we were able to celebrate with both sets of parents simultaneously. It was a great day!
The day was great, not merely because it was a slice of Americana, but because we were able to have warm Christian fellowship with parents who have stayed by the stuff. Both of our parents accepted the Lord before we were born, and the transformation in both homes was remarkable. The two homes had destructive patterns, but the grace of God turned that all around. Praise the Lord for the privilege of being raised around the Bible in church by parents who fervently love God.
It is easy for us to honor our parents because our parents have lived honorable. I believe that many parents desire the unwavering submission of their children, but they do not live a lifestyle that is submissive to God. Children are more prone to submit to their parents when those parents model submission to the Lord.
In addition, to modeling submission, our parents demanded it. The Bible promises a long life to those who obey their parents (Ephesians 6:3). My dad used to interpret that verse to mean, “Obey me or I will kill you.” The truth is that when we allow disobedience, we are actually shortening the lifespan of our children. Demanding submission is not totalitarianism. It is obedience to God who asked us to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Our parents were from the old school in the sense that they did not consider rebellion a psychological abnormality. They never viewed us as suffering conduct defiant disorder or histrionic personality disorder. Our defiance was never explained away as ADHD. Nor were we ever viewed as a victim of a disorganized school system or inferior youth pastor. We were held accountable for our own personal actions and made to suffer the consequences when sin was committed.
Our parents also tweaked our submission. Our obedience was not merely a matter of rote action. It was a matter of attitude. Obedience with the wrong attitude was considered disobedience. It was not merely a matter of obedience, but honoring our parents (Ephesians 6:2). And this attitude of submission was required of both “father and mother.” We were not allowed to show deference to dad and hostility to mom, or vice versa. Honor was due both parents.
And so for modeling submission, demanding submission, and tweaking submission, hats off to John and Frances Aspray and Art and Janet Amsbaugh. Both couples are celebrating their fifty-third anniversaries this year. Karen and I are hopeful that we when our kids are parents they will be able to perpetuate the same principles that we learned in the Aspray and Amsbaugh homes to our grandchildren.
Each time that we say good-bye these days, we are unsure of how many more get-togethers we will be able to have in the future. But one thing is for sure, however, as dad and mom return to Ohio – I have a great set of parents, and so does Karen. For that we are thankful.