Why should I obey another? Why should I bend my will, my reason, my choice beneath the demands of another? What if they are wrong? What if it is uncomfortable? All these valid questions regularly go through my mind.
But once they didn't.
When I was a child it was simple. I should do as I was told. Even when I didn't actually do as I was told, I sort of knew that I should (mind you I wasn't often asked to do much that was really difficult).
As I have become more used to having my own way - choosing for myself - I haven't been in the habit of obedience. I have been able to do as I liked (and have been fairly lucky that what I liked has generally coincided with what I am 'supposed' to do). With the result that I am out of practise at obeying.
Obedience. It only seems to work when it's habitual. And I have discovered recently that one problem with not being in the habit of obeying outside authority is that it means I am not as good at obeying even my own true desires when I want to do something that is difficult. Grrr.
Oh there's all sorts of other things that I could talk about , like whether you should obey bad authority etc. But that's not the point right now. Right now I know the authority I am under is good and I am finding it hard to obey even my own desire to honour it. Does anyone else struggle with this kind of thing?
Reading George MacDonald's Weighed and Wanting recently has given me an interesting perspective.
The spiritual loss and injury caused to the children by their parents waiting till they fancy them fit to reason with (before teaching obedience), is immense; yet there is nothing in which parents are more stupid and cowardly and a nursery in which the children are humored and scolded and punished instead of being taught obedience looks like a moral slaughter-house.
The dawn of reason will doubtless help to develop obedience; but obedience is yet more necessary to the development of reason. To require of a child only what he can understand the reason of, is simply to help him to make himself his own God--that is a devil.
Well I was taught obedience as a child, and I can surely remember those old lessons and regain that old habit. The way forward seems to be to practise obedience until it becomes habitual. And get back on that wagon when I fall off. Wish me luck!
Extract from Weighed and Wanting, by George MacDonald