ENCOURAGING rebellion might seem surprising to a parent facing the challenge of a child rebelling against the values being taught in the home. But I'm not talking about condoning antisocial behavior. Instead, I'm urging that we nurture a proper, spiritual uprising in young people--and in ourselves--that rebels against the claims of the carnal mind and develops the self-government we need in order to follow God's law.
The Bible's clear counsel to youngsters, found in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, is: ``Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother'' (6:1, -2). The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, reiterates this counsel in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``Children should obey their parents; insubordination is an evil, blighting the buddings of self-government'' (p. 236). Mrs. Eddy's explanation indicates that the true motive for overcoming any tendency for insubordination is that such disobedience would steal away an individual's precious experience of self-government, or conscious government by God, good.
Whatever our age, it is this spiritual government alone that enables us to enjoy conscious self-worth. It is the knowledge of God's mercy, the prayerfully gained sense of His infinite love for us as His spiritual children--ageless, pure, and free--that affords us true satisfaction and fulfillment, and unfolds our genuine capacity to serve the broader interests of all humanity.
The sooner that we make these spiritual gifts our own, then, the happier and more genuinely rewarding our experience will be. Thus the Psalmist could have been singing a prayer on behalf of each upcoming generation of thinkers when he sang: ``O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days'' (Psalms 90:14).
Whether we are a member of the younger generation or just deeply care about them, we each have a right to affirm prayerfully that young people of today are not spiritually unconcerned--as common stereotypes would portray them to be!--but are inherently concerned to know the things of God. Each member of each generation, when spiritually perceived, is the true, spiritual man, made in God's image and likeness, that the Bible teaches us all to be. This man is godly, God-loving, and devoted to the eternal standard of righteousness. Isn't that what the idealism of youth truly indicates, a desire to know and stand up for Truth? This is a right idea, but it often requires purifying from a selfish, self-righteous sense of the certainty of the wrongness of others, to a meek and mighty spiritual conviction of the rightness of God and His creation. When a stand for Truth is a stand for Spirit, God, it leads to prayerful protests that result in healing.
Prayer proved practical in healing is always a meek and powerful overthrowing of the claims of the carnal mind--the suppositional opposer of God's universal reign. Such prayerful rejection of matter's false pictures is at the heart and soul of the spirituality that God Himself, through Christ, urges upon all generations. To the extent that youth are real rebels according to this divine calling to spiritualize thought and action, they will flood our communities with the healing effects of their loving thoughts and lives, and all will be blessed. This healing protest against sin and suffering is an unselfed rebellion that we can and should nurture.
The world is crying out for rebels with a cause, the cause of Christ, the cause of universal good. Let's all improve our record of conforming to that radical demand indicated by the rebelliousness of youth, and bless and heal humanity by the spirituality that glorifies God, good.