Obedience is hopelessly out of fashion. The very word obey carries with it ridiculous notions of ancient kingdoms, stupid henchmen, or marital imbalance. Even among parents, the idea that we should teach our children to obey doesn’t sound quite right–who are we to demand mindless obedience? Disobedience has always existed, but the idea that our actions should be determined by someone else is passé among North Americans of all kinds: believers and unbelievers alike. But what if we discovered the harmony of obedience?
The Harmony of Obedience
Isaiah dwelt among a people of unclean lips. We dwell among a people of an independent spirit.
Our distrust of obedience flows from our fear of the other–the one whom we are to obey. Why should a woman pledge obedience to a husband who is filled with selfishness and pride? Why should a soldier vow obedience to a government pursuing injustice and oppression? Why would anyone put themselves in the hands of another? We are afraid of the other. What agenda does the other person have? To what purpose does someone else demand we do things his way? Following someone else’s will exposes us to exploitation and opens us to abuse. No one else could possibly have our good as the highest goal. And even if by some crazy chance someone else did have our best interests at heart, how could we be sure they had the wisdom or strength to bring it about?