Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           April 24, 2011                           NO. 16

 Controlling Behavior
 
     A lot has been said in recent years about the negative effects of "controlling behavior" in marriage relationships. According to a recent Associated Press story, "One factor strongly linked to (domestic) violence is controlling behavior by men. This behavior includes keeping a woman from seeing friends, restricting a woman's contact with her family, insisting on knowing where she is at all times, becoming angry if she speaks with another man, and expecting her to get his permission before seeking medical care" (AP, 10-9-06).
 
     It is obvious to most rational people that an abusive husband's efforts to control every aspect of his spouse's life through intimidation, emotional abuse and violence are just plain wrong. The Christian understands that such behavior is sinful (see Ephesians 5:25,28; 1 Peter 3:7; Colossians 3:19). If that is what someone is talking about when they condemn "controlling behavior," I couldn't agree with them more.
 
     But Satan is ever crafty -- always looking for a way to make evil seem good, and good seem evil. And so, he has used his vast influence in our culture to broaden the meaning of "controlling behavior" to include some things that are actually righteous and good. Satan's workers would have us believe that virtually any real exercise of legitimate authority constitutes "controlling behavior." So now, if a husband merely attempts to provide headship in the home, he is accused of being "controlling." If parents require obedience from their children, they are said to be "controlling." It has even come to the point where elderships that are Scripturally shepherding local churches are accused of being "controlling." It all reminds me of the success that Satan has had re-defining "discrimination". Do you remember when "discrimination" referred to not treating black folks fairly? Now it means that you haven't bent over backwards to accommodate homosexuals and criminals.
 
     As we've mentioned, there are a number of behaviors condemned as "controlling" by the world that God's word commends! Consider the following:
 
1. Parents should control their children with discipline.
 
* Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly."
 
* Proverbs 23:13-14, "Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. {14} You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell."
 
* Proverbs 29:15, "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."
 
* The Lord condemned Eli "because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them" (1 Samuel 3:13).
 
2. Elders should oversee and rule local churches.
 
* 1 Timothy 5:17, "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine."
 
* 1 Peter 5:2-3, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; {3} nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."
 
3. A husband should be the head of wife, providing direction to her as Christ does to the church.
 
* Ephesians 5:23-24, "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. {24} Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."
     There is nothing wrong with those who have legitimate authority exercising it. This is true in the relationships that we've mentioned, as well as many others such as government-citizen, teacher-student, and boss-employee. From a Biblical perspective, many of the problems that we see in these relationships today can be traced back to too little control, not too much control. Ultimately, a person who disdains being under the legitimate control of another will also disdain being under the control of God.
 
---Steve Klein
 
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Five Ways To Disobey God
 
     The faithful child of God never seeks ways by which he can disobey God. Yet the Bible indicates different manners in which God may be disobeyed. It might help us to avoid some pitfalls of apostasy to reflect on the way in which God is disobeyed.
 
1. By Doing What Is Forbidden: -- (Gen. 2:16; 3:6) Adam and Eve, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed or violated the Will of God. We refer to this kind of sin as a sin of commission. They committed an act which God specifically had prohibited. Men today often do exactly what He has forbidden.
 
2. By Refusing To Do What God Has Commanded: -- (Jas. 4:17; Lk. 7:30; Heb. 10:25). The Pharisees and lawyers in Lk. 7:30 rejected the counsel of God on baptism. They therefore committed a sin of omission. James states that when one knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin. One can do nothing and be sent to hell for doing nothing, for God has made demands upon us.
 
3. By Adding To The Word Of God: -- (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). God states that if one adds to His Word, the plagues written in the Word will be added to that person. John declares that "lawlessness is sin" (1 Jno. 3:4 - ASV). Sin, as defined by John, is that which is lawless. Sin is the doing of anything for which there is no law or for which there is no authority.
 
     Men frequently ask, "Where is the Scripture against it?" But John declares that if there is no law for the act under question it is "lawlessness", and lawlessness is sin. To act or speak where Christ has not spoken is a sin of presumption (Num. 15:30; Lev. 10:1,2). When one acts without divine authority, he presumes to speak in God's behalf. Such is insolent sin, and is intolerable by God.
 
     John declares that when one goes beyond the doctrine of Christ, he gives up both Christ and God, (2 Jno. 9). Paul therefore insists that we must learn "not to go beyond the things which are written" (1 Cor. 4:6).
 
4. By Taking From The Word Of God: -- (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19). To take from God's Word is a sin of the same sort as to add to His Word. Taking from His Word will result in one's part being taken from the tree of life and the holy city written in the Book.
 
     When one begins to talk about God's "nonessential commands," he is prepared in heart to commit the damning sin of taking from God's Word.
 
5. By Substituting For What God Has Commanded: -- (Gen. 4:4; Lev. 10:1-3). Cain substituted a vegetable sacrifice for what God had commanded (Heb. 11:4) and God had no respect for his gift. Nadab and Abihu, though they offered fire, did not offer the fire that God had commanded, and thus were consumed because of the strange fire. In religion men must learn to accept no substitute, for God will not accept a substitute for obedience (1 Sam. 15:22,23).
 
     Realizing wherein we can fail, we need to use great caution "lest we fall." "If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11).
---Cecil Willis
 
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