Bible Reading: Acts 5:26-29
We must obey God rather than human authority. Acts 5:29
JEN IS A Christian, but her parents aren’t. When Jen’s dad tells her to lie about her age so she qualifies for a cheaper preteen fee for a summer soccer camp, Jen refuses.
Big question: Isn’t she supposed to obey her parents no matter what? Isn’t she shattering the fifth commandment, the one that says, “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12)?
Look at it this way: Jen doesn’t suppose that “honor your father and mother” wasn’t meant for her. She doesn’t say, “Forget you! My dad wants me to be a liar. He’s a cheat. I don’t ever have to listen to my parents again!” Because of the bad spot her dad placed her in, she’s making an exception, suspending the law of obeying parents in order to follow God’s higher law of truthfulness.
Jen’s situation is just like when a jumbo jet takes off. As the plane lifts off, it doesn’t break the law of gravity, it merely overrides it for a while. Gravity is still at work. It comes back into play when the pilot throttles down and gets ready to land, just like Jen works hard to obey her parents every time she can-all the times their demands don’t conflict with God’s commands.
Loving God more than people doesn’t mean that you love God instead of people. Sometimes loving God means you love a human authority in your life with a tough love-a love that takes a firm stand against evil. Love doesn’t mean you cave in to someone’s sinful wishes. Love means you act for that person’s best, and sometimes the best you can do for someone is to resist his or her sin.
An example: When you were small, your parents knew it would be nuts to give you everything you wanted. You begged for cake and ice cream at every meal. Or you insisted on playing with steak knives. Your parents didn’t love you any less by saying “No!” to all those requests and requiring that you bend to their wishes. Whether you understood it or not, they knew they had your best interests at heart. Sometimes you might have to get tough with people to truly love them. Think about this: Loving God the most helps you love others the best.
Love has two levels-love for God and love for people. Those two levels of love might conflict, but they never contradict. And when they conflict, the lower law to love people always yields to the higher law to love God.
REFLECT: When has someone you’re supposed to obey asked you to do something you knew you shouldn’t do? How did you solve the conflict?
PRAY: Lord, help me love the people in my life completely-and love you supremely.