My husband and I rarely do anything the same way despite having very similar values and more than fifty years of marriage behind us. And in this season of retirement it can be easy to bump into those differences a bit more often – especially when we are both in the kitchen.
For most of our married life the kitchen has primarily been my domain even though he has always offered to help when we were both at home. Since he retired a few years before I did, he started using “my” kitchen in the ways he thought were the best. That was generally okay as I was tired when I got home and I just rearranged things “the right way.”
I had no idea he was as certain his way was right until we were both in the kitchen trying to accomplish something at the same time (even when we were trying to help each other do so).
I am sure a few of you are smiling about now…
When I am cooking I tend to cleanup as I go, but in a multiple step recipe it doesn’t happen after every little step. If he is helping me with a recipe, however, that is exactly what he believes is needed. How we put silverware in the dish drainer is never the same either. He puts the silverware up one way and I do the opposite.
Yes, we know these are preferences, but somehow each of us is persuaded that we have the better idea.
The exception is when we make a salad together. We each have a cutting board and a separate part of the counter and it all works like clockwork. (And we make some amazing salads!)
Have you noticed how often the lens through which we do things causes us to believe that our way is the right way.
I think that issue has been around since the beginning of time, but it seems to have reached a monumental point in the current age. We live in a time where each of us is totally and unequivocally convinced what we are doing is the right way, in the right time, for the right reason. No discussion about it.
In every area of our lives discord and division can be the common thread. We do what we believe is right and we believe it so strongly that we don’t listen to any new information nor accept any authority higher than ourselves.
Challenging authority used to be commonly associated with toddlers and teens, but there is no season or age limit to this now. If we do not agree with the boss, the leader, the pastor, or whoever is in authority in any area, we refuse to participate or consider how to function.
It sounds very much like what life was like at the end of the book of Judges in the Old Testament. The very last sentence reads: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
The earlier part of that verse says “there was no king in Israel.” What it doesn’t say, but what was true was that God was their king and they were rejecting Him by rejecting any authority He had set over them. At that time judges were the authority God had put in place.
The fact that everyone did as he or she wished presents a sad commentary on the spiritual condition of the nation in those days. There was discord within the tribes and among all the tribes. Sound familiar?
The Holman Concise Bible Commentary gives an insightful explanation about why God places authority over mankind: “Human sinfulness necessitates governments to enforce morality.”
Authority has been an issue ever since Lucifer chose to rebel against God’s authority and took a third of the angels of heaven with him to war on those whom God chose and elected to be his own.
More than once the Bible tells us a story where people were told to submit to authority when it did not make sense to those who were to submit. It seems evident that lawlessness and doing what is right in our own eyes is not consistent with God’s plan.
I can think of many situations where submitting to authority seems to be foolishness, but Pauls’ words to the Romans in Romans 13:1 brings me up short:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (NKJV)
What is happening in our community, body, or nation may not make sense or seem right to us, but our trust is not to be in fallible men and women. Even a casual review of history tells me that is not wisdom because every one of us is flawed.
What sobers me as well is whether or not these same fallible men and women are more so because we have all forgotten our responsibility before God that Timothy clearly lays out in 1 Timothy 2:1-3:
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” (MSG)
When we consider what isn’t right in our own eyes, perhaps we must first look at how God’s eyes see us and consider our own deportment.
He sees perfectly.
We never do.
Perhaps I cannot totally avoid my complaining, but it should never exceed how often God calls me to pray for those about whom I complain.