We Can’t Manage People

It is interesting to note that the 20th century governments that have attempted to force society into an utopia have created the most evil regimes in history.

Writer Matt Evans offers some interesting application to this:

“…you can’t force a utopia through government, you can only preserve individual freedom to pursue personal development and contribution…

[Similarly,] So often, in Christian groups, out of fear and over-responsibility, we try to create utopias through ideals of vision, safety, morality, etc., and we try to manage people to fit those ideals with excessive rigidity and helicopter parenting. I’ve seen that “accomplish” personal devastation for many, unhealthy and hypocritical cultures, breakdowns in relationships, the opposite of what was intended.

We can’t manage people or cultures into the Kingdom. All we can do is liberate people, encourage, equip, and preserve personal freedom and growth in an environment of freedom.”

So much religious expression is dense with coercion, manipulation, rigidity, pressure and force. None of these descriptors come close to expressing God’s own way of operating.

As 2 Corinthians 3:17 reminds us “…wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Nowhere can the cost of coercion be greater than in our families. When we consistently apply pressure on our children to behave, perform, or conform in certain ‘approved’ ways, we risk seeding the very darkness we wish to avoid in the long term.

Children are responsive to the atmosphere of grace that we establish in our homes, but it is a long haul commitment that doesn’t always breed “instant obedience”.  Even frequent well-intentioned preaching and teaching eventually lose their impact, if we are not allowing our children to experience a consistent environment of freedom and grace.  Instead, as we focus on liberating our children from lies, encourage them in their godly identities, and give them increasing freedom, over time they begin to respond with the Fruit of the Spirit in a remarkably natural, supernatural way!

{Please note, I am not suggesting that parents be doormats, or avoid modelling standards, or don’t help make course corrections, but I am suggesting that the religious behaviourism that runs rampant in our Christian culture needs some serious amending.}

Parenting is not a management position; we are discipling royalty to reign on the earth.  We cannot micro-manage our children into the Kingdom; this is leading them to live under the law.

The Kingdom is already inside of them, and we affirm it into greater expression as we model freedom, grace, and love relentlessly and passionately, day in and day out.  This is a mighty work of faith that leaves behind the behaviourism, helicopter parenting, and coercive strategies of this world.

This is the parenting frontier that is opening before us; let us choose life and freedom and joy!

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