Job 12:14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
If you ask both of my parents what kind of child I was you will get very different answers. According to my mother I was a serious discipline problem, while my father views me as a perfect little angel. The true answer of course is somewhere in the middle, but I lean towards my mothers view.
While my disobedience was up for debate I was definitely what James Dobson referred to as a “strong-willed child” (which is just a nice way of saying I was stubborn).
This stubbornness didn’t reveal itself in outright rebellion but in more subtle forms.
- Like telling lies instead of admitting I did something wrong
- Putting off doing the right thing till threatened with punishment
- A quiet anger (growing frustration and bitterness) instead of violent anger
- And only admitting wrongdoing when forced
Obviously this kind of silent rebellion must be dealt with because in many cases it does more damage than the openly rebellious child (you don’t notice it). And the only way to deal with any kind of stubbornness is break it.
I can vividly remember the morning my dad broke my stubbornness. Don’t actually remember what I was being disciplined about but after getting a spanking I decided to fold my arms and give him a defiant look. This led to a second spanking and a second defiant look (I was feeling extra rebellious) and of course a third spanking before tears came instead of defiance. That experience is etched in my mind because it’s the only time dad disciplined in anger (I kind of deserved it) and he brought strawberry ice-cream that to apologize for disciplining me that way.
The truth is there’s only one way to really break the stubbornness of a child…and that’s to be more stubborn than them.
I’m incredibly grateful for parents who wouldn’t put up with my stubborn ways, and did whatever it took to break that bad attitude. And in a deeper sense I’m thankful for a God who can be just as “stubborn” as me.
Each of us have stubbornly refused to obey the Will of God from time to time.
- Because it scares us
- Or it’s too difficult
- It calls us to trust Him instead of our own strength and wisdom
- Or admit weakness
In those moments we enter into a “standoff” with God refusing to obey until He makes thing easier.
There’s just one problem with that….
God is a lot more stubborn than we are
My quiet stubborness still reveals itself in my relationship with God from time to time. But in love and compassion He refuses to let me go until my stiffened neck and hardened heart is broken (II Chron. 36:13).