13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. – Mark 10
It’s hard to question your upbringing. Parents are given the ability to create the norms you judge the world by. The filters they gave me, from inconsistency caused by them disagreeing on new doctrines: are TV’s evil, playing cards of the devil, shorts examples of a sissy spirit, physical discipline guided by the whims of ministers (thinking you can beat the devil out of your child), and money management (why save when the world was ending). For me, one of many cracks in that wall came when my son was born. I wanted to be an example for him because I couldn’t control the outside world, only what I showed him. This was a huge responsibility. Once leaving the group I have had to stop in the midst of things to check my sources, everyday thoughts might have been based on non biblical traditions, I also had to evaluate my parents’ lessons, deciding if they were based on things I still believed.
“…old-fashion mother, see her girl come out on the street, back there in them mountains, with a little pair of shorts on, like you and grandma and the rest of you wear. Let her come in, of a morning, and her clothes half off of her, twisted up, and her manicure, lipsticks, or whatever it is, all over her face, been out with some little Ricky all night long, in a hot rod, running around, come in. She would blister her, one of them hickory limbs, she couldn’t get up out of the bed for six months” 63-0412M – William Marrion Branham
My thoughts on parenting needed adjustment right then and there. I was appalled this had been taught to me, but my parents didn’t want to hear how they were wrong, who does? They had done right in their minds based on how they’d been raised. Every generation trying to fix what they felt was messed up, yet the message froze certain ideas and cemented them in place like the above quote.
I can only imagine that this was the wall that so many of the people in Jesus’ time ran into when he told them that God’s grace had been promised not only to the Jews but to all the Gentiles and all the people of the world. When they had to compare all the rules they’d ever known, taught to them by rabbis, by their parents, by their entire world up until that point that rules and expectations would be what got them into heaven. Jesus told them that the kingdom of Heaven was likened to the starry-eyed curious children running to meet him that the disciples couldn’t hold back. I had to realize like those that converted to Christianity that my salvation didn’t depend on rules and restrictions like wearing skirts and tithing and hiding the TV when my minister said it was evil. Jesus came to show us that there was a good and human (and fallible) way to find salvation. I had to find the loving way to raise my kid, in Jesus’ name.