During our time here in S. California over the past 5 months our kids have developed some funny habits. Often when we are sitting at a stop light waiting our turn to go, one of the kids will shout out “RED LIGHT RUNNER!” Someone just ran the red light in front of us. It is almost daily that we experience it. To me it seems to be happening far too often, people just don’t seem to be respecting the driving regulations here like they use to.
This has led me to think about why that is. I have come to the conclusion that as a culture we have grown to hate people telling us NO. That’s right, our American liberties have grown to the place that we are free to do what we want and who are you to tell me I can’t? It’s a free country isn’t it? Not that this is a new predicament that is unique to our day and generation, but there has definitely been an increase in people resisting boundaries.
I have used the saying often that says “what one generation tolerates, the next will abuse” and I am becoming more and more convinced that this is the case with many of the situations that are arising today. People have been less inclined to spell out clear boundaries for their children and slower to inflict discipline when they violate the ones that do exist.
We have become tolerant of disobedience, and we have become resistant to boundaries in our lives.
We strive as a culture to ensure our kids are happy and have everything they need, often at all costs. We fear to crush their spirits or limit their personal expression, not wanting to limit them by telling them no. The question is where is that leading them? What world views and expectations are we engraining in them?
The idea of sitting still and being patient are foreign to children today. Sitting in a restaurant parents need to entertain their children, giving them a video game or phone to occupy them. The idea of sitting there quietly while we wait for our food is nearly impossible for most. Vehicles come with video screens in the back for our children, they must be entertained, give them what they want. Arrgh! the light is turning red, I don’t want to wait, I NEED to go!
When I was growing up if you wanted something you began to save for it, waiting until you could afford it. Yet today you can have what you want now, no need to wait while you save up, you have credit. You want to reach your destination, the light only just turned red, why stop?
I am convinced that when we grow up expecting and experiencing a life without boundaries we struggle to fit into a culture that requires boundaries. Yet boundaries or laws are what preserves order in our culture. Boundaries define what is acceptable, and are there to keep us safe. Without boundaries we have chaos. If I am so used to getting what I want and people being afraid to tell me no then why should I stop at the red light? The red light will just slow me down and besides I have somewhere to go.
You may be getting the idea that this blog is all about running red lights, but really it’s not. If boundaries are not instilled in my life, when sinful temptations arise I am not as quick or able to resist and tell myself no. The need for personal discipline, self-control and boundaries in our lives in crucial. Just as we all need these characteristics in our lives our children need to be trained and equipped for their future as we know that a “a man without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down”, vulnerable to attack, without protection and destined to be overthrown.
The lack of boundaries in our culture these days is promoting a newer culture that says I must have what I want. Selfish undisciplined children grow into self-seeking adults with little respect for others. Adults that want the moral constraints of God’s holiness thrown off and to be able to live life their way. A people resistant to a righteous standard that God intended to guide our lives. Where God has intended us to be imitators of His holiness we have chosen to be a people searching to remove boundaries, but only finding chaos and emptiness.
Boundaries are not restricting, but on the contrary are liberating. Only one who is subject to the rule and authority of another can truly be free. Will you embrace them?