There are three types of children here:
1) The child who scoffs at his Mother while proclaiming relationship with the Father. He won’t make it.
2) The child who’s Mother mothers too much. He might make it.
3) The child who loves both. He’ll make it.
The Scoffing Hypocrite
The child who scoffs at his Mother is the hypocrite. Rather than seeing the church as fellow sinners saved by grace, people who have been born again by the Holy Spirit and cleansed from sin by the atonement of Jesus, they just see the church as fellow sinners, who are always doing something wrong (if only they would listen to his wise counsel!). There are a few reasons for this: one is a commonality; the others are differences:
1) They are not fellows
2) Perhaps they haven’t been saved by grace
3) They are sinners (the common ground)
: There’s a ridiculously obvious truth they might be escaping here: that if the church they attend apparently sucks it’s probable that maybe, possibly, I don’t know, definitely (?), means they suck too. This is Church 101, people! Almost the first thing we Christians learn about the church is this: the church is the people; the people are the church.
This is why the scoffer is the hypocrite.
He sees the church’s faults (of which there could be many) but never speaks of his own (of which there are many). He speaks of how the church should act but he… he ne-ver acts. Would you trust a “doctor” who always prescribed the medicine, and never dispensed it? That’s not a doctor; it’s a fool. Beware of this person: he is not a fellow and he has no grace to give (for perhaps he was not given grace). He is a goat at best, and a wolf at worst.
But this doesn’t mean the Mother is perfect.
In my experience of growing up in the church I see a problem: the Mother who mothers a little too much. Picture a mum breastfeeding her child until he’s 18, then letting him take his first steps. You just pictured a church (hopefully not yours but by process of elimination, this Mother exists. Disturbing).
Here’s what I mean:
In Sunday School, mummy took care of my spiritual growth. All of it.
In Youth, mummy took care of my spiritual growth. All of it.
As an adult, mummy suddenly left and I took care of my spiritual growth. All of it.
: Now this is an extreme church I’ve supposed, but it’s not unrealistic. I think every church faults to some degree in how to handle church babies. I see three scenarios play out (I never want it to be three, it just freakily always is!):
1) The mother walks a fine line and rears her child well.
2) The mother unfortunately fails too much in this regard. The child, by God’s grace, wakes up to see that something is wrong and takes the initiative for his own spiritual growth.
3) The mother unfortunately fails too much in this regard. The child is overly breastfed until he walks away with a sour taste in his mouth.
Indeed, this is a cautionary tale for Mothers, and a wake-up call to babies.
The Respectful Child
The best child, the one who will make it, is the respectful child. Again, I’ll try to paint a picture:
The Father is perfect; the Mother is not. Obviously, as the child, you naturally love the Father more. Why wouldn’t you? He’s perfect.
Conundrum: the Father chose the Mother.
So in order for you to really love the Father you must love the Mother. Not put up with her. Love her.
The respectful child understands this. He understands that the mother isn’t perfect, and neither is he. He understands the (yes, metaphorical but still very true) way in how the Father speaks to his Mother: “Anyone who attacks you attacks the pupil of my eye.” (Zechariah 2:8, which I further discussed here)
To scoff at the Church is to scoff at Jesus.
To walk away from the Church is to walk away from Jesus.
To disrespect the Church is to disrespect Jesus.
But to praise, commend, compliment, revere, walk with, esteem, regard, respect, and love the Church is to praise, commend, compliment, revere, walk with, esteem, regard, respect, and love Jesus.
Be a good kid, yeah?