Thursday, January 13, 2011

Compliant vs. Obedience

1. the state or quality of being obedient.
2. the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.


1. complying; obeying, obliging, or yielding, esp. in a submissive way: a man with a compliant nature

Does anyone else have a good child?
A child who for the most part just goes along with what you say.
Who is "obedient"?
Who doesn't talk back,
doesn't push buttons,
doesn't make waves?

Well I have one. Well I thought I had one.

But I don't know that I do.

Let me explain. I am slowly--- over the past 10 years (yeah I said slowly) coming to realize that obedience is not always what it seems. A lot of time what appears to be obedience is really just compliance.

I don't think I have an obedient child...I think I have a compliant child.

Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commands." John 14:15

I guess as a parent I thought if my child is obeying me, they are showing me they love and respect me.


No really, I mean sometimes they do. Sometimes they truly want to please, and their HEART truly is right in the act of obedience.

But usually they are just complying.

How do we know if our children are compliant or obedient?

How do we KNOW if we have their hearts? Just because they do what we say, or do what they are supposed to... does this mean we have their hearts?

I don't think so. I think some people- perhaps less strong willed people, or perhaps people who simply don't care about "little things" are more willing to be compliant and this looks like they are obedient. While others are very strong willed and care about little things and when they BUCK the system... it is seen as pure disobedience.

Don't get me wrong it IS disobedience... but what about the heart?

Deut 5:28-33
28 The LORD heard you when you spoke to me and the LORD said to me, "I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! 30 "Go, tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess." 32 So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

God knew they had obeyed on a technicality but knew their hearts were not right.

And looking at the story of Cain and Abel- they both brought something to sacrifice (both were technically obedient) but God saw Cains heart and only saw compliance.. When God looked on Abel he saw obedience from a right heart.

There was a song... The Heart of the Matter, I think it was Don Henley,
(***edit- yes I googled it! Don Henly, The Age of Innocence- I totally had this tape)

Anyhoo... the song said he could think about all the hurts and all the reasons and all the whys... but what he really needed to focus on was just forgiving and moving on.

Well I think we need to find the HEART OF THE MATTER with our kids. We can look at all the surface stuff and all the feelings and all the traits we see.. but the heart of the matter, is TRULY the heart.

What is his reason behind the "act" of obedience?
Is he cheerful in the act?
Does he do it to get something?
Does he do because he knows he doesn't have a choice?
Does he do it because he wants to serve?
Does he do it because he wants to obey out of love and respect?

If we could see his heart the way God sees his heart... would we still be proud? Would we still mention to our friends how obedient our child is? Would we still give praise where praise seems do?

How do we know if they are compliant or obedient?

How do we know their heart when it appears they they are the good, obedient child?

1 comment:

H-Mama said...

All of my children are compliant and obedient. As am I. All the time. ;) Seriously, a great question though.