June 21, 2011
From “Now What? Seven Differences between Truth and Error”
Chapter 2 The truth about one’s family: the difference between danger and discipline.
Whatever the circumstances that come to our family, it begins and ends somewhere between danger and discipline. Danger is always there but how we manage dangerous scenarios is the key to a lot of wisdom. Discipline or the lack of it creates a space in which we can move and express ourselves. Too much discipline leads to rigidity. The lack of discipline leads to sloth and unchecked desires. But in the end, it is still a choice that a person has to make in one’s lifetime. Danger always come in different forms, because of human beings living together in one roof, we tend to forget that we really need each other to survive in our world. We need a true community of love and security. We need the “dangers” of love in order to embrace the realities of being a person. Ideally, our families give us a sense of being but not to the extent that it overcomes our sense of identity and freedom of responsibility with dignity. Reality wise, our families are imperfect and have many things that can make our heart sink.
On the other hand, we also need discipline in our lives to align our lives consistently with the truth. We need discipline to correct us if we are going in a way that leads to our destruction. We need discipline to teach us the dangers of life and to fully appreciate the beauty of freedom within limits that can help us grow as persons created to do what is awesome, good, and amazing! We are in a sense given choices to make each day and it takes a lot of discipline in order to make the right decision at the right time. Many have fallen in a path of destruction and only a few have found the way of life. Now what’s our decision in life? Is it to live fully or to live under our present circumstances?
Furthermore, danger should teach us to trust Life Coaches or Spiritual Directors for guidance. On the other hand, discipline brings us consistency and integrity in our everyday life. Without danger, our lives will be dull, lifeless and boring. Without discipline, our lives would be wayward in a direction of no return. Balance is always the door in which we can enter and bring ourselves to a realization that our lives are partly dangerous and partly disciplined. This is what makes us human in the first place and the human family is where it all begins. Can I be a disciplined dangerous person? Is there such a person? How will it affect my family, my work, my culture, my society and my race? Family brings to life a lot of things. Some say it would be easy for us to just forget about the dangers of life and live freely. Some say it would be easier to just remember the disciplines of life and live maturely. What a life! Now what’s the truth behind all these?
The truth is that we are in the same “ball game.” We are given a set of rules to follow as we are growing up in our families. If we don’t follow them, there are consequences. If we follow them, there will be supposedly “amazing” results. Both are crucial in our identity formation. We lose touch of ourselves mainly because we are dictated by what we should be from the outside in. How about looking ourselves from the inside out? Rules are given to organize and put into proper order our lives. But in the end, our hearts cry out for more of real life. We need rules but we also need the passion of living. We need discipline in our lives but we also need danger to test our capacity for love, faith and hope.
Eugene H. Peterson observes that families are there to teach us about community and what it means to belong but this is not always the case for some of our families. He wrote regarding what happens in a family,
Children are ordinarily so full of their own needs and wants that they look at a brother or sister not as an ally but as a competitor. If there is only one pork chop on the plate and three of us who want it, I will look at my brother and sister not as delightful dinner companions but as difficult rivals…It is far easier to deal with people as problems to be solved than to have anything to do with them in community. If a person can be isolated from the family (from husband, from wife, from parents, from children, from neighbours and then be professionally counselled, advised, and guided without complications of all those relationships, things are very much simpler. But if such practices are engaged systematically, they become an avoidance of community.
Look at our internet, magazine, newspaper and television advertisements; we are bombarded by information to make our life “easier.” We easily buy into the idea that if we have some things, then our lives will be meaningful and wonderful. But are we deceived into what is important for our lives? Now what’s going on here? We have people in the streets with no clothes or fewer clothes on and we also have mannequins in the shops that have clothes on. What’s wrong with our world? What’s wrong with our society? What’s wrong with our families? Danger and discipline, both are needed in the family to grow.
 Howard G. Hendricks, Color Outside the Lines: A Revolutionary Approach to Creative Leadership Swindoll Leadership Library (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1998), 175 reiterates the importance of creativity so that Christian Leaders can continue to influence their world for the beauty and design of God’s purposes.
 Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 179 talks about the church as a community of faith similar to being a family where we face differences between each members personalities and the goal is to have harmony with other members.