19 May 2022
Where's the boundary line between human love and covenant faith?
Beginning with the Fall, the assumption has always been that humanity would live in covenant households. Yet, along comes Jesus warning that truly loving the Father is guaranteed to split households in the one and only Covenant nation on earth. God alone knows how much pain and misery that has caused already on a human level. And yet, this is unavoidable, a part of the Curse of the Fall.
There has to be a place inside of you that belongs to God alone. You must reserve for Him alone your ultimate commitment in love. Without that, you cannot claim to be His at all. There has to come a point when your loyalty to Him trumps all other considerations. You must be willing to suffer in the flesh, because the entire fallen world militates against that kind of faith.
The Bible acknowledges the pain and sorrow of a divine call that alienates you from everything you have known up to that point. Faith will make a mess of your human existence. That's because your human existence has always been wrong until the Lord comes into your life. It's not a question of specific things done wrong in the past, but that nothing was right. You cannot comprehend what is good versus evil until the Holy Spirit stands in your soul to enlighten you. Without Him, all is evil for the simple reason that you are separate from the Source of all things.
This is not something I can put into writing. If you aren't His in faith, what I write here will serve no purpose for you. It's just blather. So, the burden here is helping you walk farther in the faith you already have. But if I'm not there with you, experiencing your pain and sorrow, it's really impossible for me to address the task of drawing some faith boundaries. Even if I were there, my only mission would be to tease out for you the implications of where your convictions are driving you.
Thus, I don't have too many answers for you. The Lord does, and as His servant, all I can do is offer approximations that may or may not register in your convictions. My experiences might be useful, but they will always be incomplete. Every case I deal with is fresh in some way. That's the same way with the written record of the Word; it presents cases in a context, with the expectation that you will exercise your convictions in your own context.
I can tell you that there is a boundary line you can draw between what God demands and what humans demand. Your family and your romantic partner have limited claims. It's not likely they will accept that such boundaries exist without the same kind of faith. It's not that they are evil, but unless they share your covenant faith, they simply cannot comprehend your position. And when you come into the Covenant later in life, after being already married, that's really a tough situation. I know; I've seen it up close and personal in others.
But I confess to you that there are some covenant marriages in this world. I have tasted of covenant marriage; my one and only beloved has been a covenant woman from the start. On the other hand, most of my kinfolk are not covenant people. So I've seen both sides up close and personal. I can tell you that there is a sane path through such conflicts, and that you'll probably never get it perfect, but it's there. You end up having to recognize that family isn't always family, and that their claims are limited by their choice to remain outside the Covenant.
But I can't draw that line for you. If there is one thing in your life that requires you sense your own convictions, this is it. Human love is a very messy thing that we cannot avoid. How it is you manage to honor your father and mother without cutting too deeply into your faith is between you and the Lord. All we have is the general principle that you cannot forget those who incubated your human existence, but at the same time, you have to leave all that behind in certain ways to follow Jesus. You cannot take away their pain and suffering as long as they insist on standing outside the Covenant.
So, one of the biggest issues is that your flesh will fight you, seeking to go along with various forms of manipulation. The one weapon you have in such a fight is learning to recognize that your flesh is not the real you. If you can just inculcate the habit of realizing that feelings have causes, and try to chase them down from a position somewhat outside your fleshly nature, you'll begin to see some things that will open the path to sanity. You don't have to study psychology, though it might help. All you really need is the habit of mind that recognizes your fleshly nature is something that will die, while the real you will enter Eternity.
Learn to step back internally from yourself. That capability is wired in; your heart is not your head. This is why we talk about moving your conscious awareness from your head and into your heart. This is what worship and prayer is supposed to do. It gives you a dose of Eternity so you can come back and discipline the flesh to obey the Lord. Don't get lost in the emotions; there's too much of that in religion already. And there's too much of that in all the ways the flesh of this world seeks to draw you back onto the pathway to Hell.
All love is some form of commitment, some type of faith. The question is what you actually owe someone in the flesh. Give what is due, to whom it is due. Your convictions know. The boundary is for you to find, in faith, in convictions, and in the context.
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