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Integrity or Obedience – more thoughts

by on June 7, 2014

In a Spiritually and emotionally healthy environment, integrity and obedience should be one and the same. There should be no difference or discrepancy between them. It is only when the environment becomes unhealthy that the tension develops. Controlling leaders will insist on their way and demand obedience. If that obedience is not forthcoming, the leaders will find ways to eliminate or marginalize the “disobedient” persons.

This is very unfortunate. Most people can be groomed to behave in certain prescribed ways. Powerful and influential leaders can develop behaviors in the people that are far from integrity. People can even be made to believe that right is wrong and wrong is right. All it takes is powerful leaders and a powerful system to control the thought processes.

When the behavior of the people does not conform to expected obedience, the people feel guilty. They are addicted to the approval of the leaders. So, they have been groomed to feel guilt a when they “disobey.”

Are they guilty? Most likely not. Why do they feel guilt? Having the approval of leaders makes the people feel appreciated and safe. They will trade their own convictions for the approval of leaders. People will submit to have peace and security. This approval actually can replace God in a person’s life. people can be controlled by this kind of “guilt.”

This was the case with the Scribes and the Pharisees. They had expanded the law of Moses to include many more commandments of men. Jesus said, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). These leaders demanded obedience but they themselves did not have integrity. “Jesus taught as one with authority, not as one of the Scribes.” Jesus’ authoritative teaching caused huge tensions between Jesus and the religious leaders.

The early Anabaptists taught and practiced the concept of galassenheit. The word can be translated, submission. However, the early Anabaptists never used this term to indicate submission to authority that was not Godly. Quite to the contrary, they sought Biblical and Godly authority to which to be submissive. They willingly submitted to the authority of the Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit of God and the gathered assembly of believers. They chose integrity before God over obedience to authority that was not Godly.

Train up a child. To be trained means to learn to respond properly to authority. That means obedience to proper authority and avoidance of Spiritual authority that is not Godly. Do not create lock-step obedience in the heart of a child. Eventually that will produce a person who is quite susceptible to control of powerful persons; even those who are not Godly.

Choose to associate with Spiritually healthy people. Hold accountable anyone who is not Spiritually healthy. They will harm themselves, you, and other persons. They must be held accountable by the gathered assembly of saints. If they are not held accountable, the fellowship will suffer and people will not grow Spiritually and will not find Spiritual freedom. They will learn obedience but not integrity.

In a Spiritually healthy fellowship there is blessing, joy, peace, unity, and freedom from sin and sinful practices. Love is the key concept. People are filled with goodness and knowledge and are willing to admonish one another. They confess their faults to one another. They pray for one another. This is a healthy and a healing experience.

Blessings as you live in that kind of integrity and love and peace and share the truth of God with others.

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