Over the years we have had many people come and live with us.  There is one thing I have noticed over the years; the longer they stay with us and the more familiar they become with our family the less appreciative and grateful they are of us.  Some would act like they were one of the family with rights to voice their opinion and help make decisions. There is a precept in man that says the more familiar we are with something the greater the chance it will cause contempt in our lives.  The concept (we get our concept from our precepts) is familiarity breeds contempt. I have not only seen this in our family, but I have seen this moving in churches we have attended and in the one I pastored.  And the more familiar the workers and leaders get with the pastor the greater the chance the leaders and workers will rise up and think they need to put down the spiritual authority God established.  I have seen this play out time and time again in church after church and home after home.  Now I am not saying a pastor or husband should be above the workers and leaders or family members in some god-like relationship, but there are places the pastor and the husband must walk alone (during God’s dealings and judgments in his life) with God where even the wife must not enter.  Alone on the mountain tops and alone in the wildernesses Moses walked with God, so too must the pastor and husband who wants to be led by God. Leaders, workers, and family members please be careful and do not get over into in this area of contempt for your pastor or husband.  The longer you stay around someone and the more you get to know them the more you begin to see their character flaws and short comings.  The more you see this the more you will get offended by their flaws and short comings. Why should I listen to them (pastor or husband) I know better, who does he think he is?  I know what I am saying because I have said these very words.

The Bible says in the last days there will be a great falling away from the faith, I have often wondered how this could be true when we have a church on almost every corner (in America and in most developed cities around the world) and channel after channel on TV in the morning hours have a church service or Christian entertainment talk show or conference.  Well, the answer is quite clear, the falling away from the faith will happen because of the familiarity we have for God without true understanding and fear of Him.  Remember when we lose the fear of God we also lose the perfect love that casteth away all fear (1 John 4:17-18) and then we get offended.  It is no wonder many in the world and in the church are full of fear (loss of control), they are not filled with faith (God in control) and offended.  Either we will be full of fear or faith, they cannot exist in the same heart.  Did you know getting offended will cause the great falling away in the last days?  Paul tells us, Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) How could this be with the word of God preached around the world 24 hours a day?  Because of a familiarity that breeds contempt for God and His word.  A familiarity of the things of God without true understanding (by His Spirit) of the mind of God and true lack of fear of God.  It is no wonder Jesus Himself said about His coming back to earth, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  Not that He (Jesus) will not find all kinds (denominational and a network of non-denominational) of churches, Christian programs, and all of the religious activities on earth, but, “shall he find faith on the earth” and why no faith?  I believe because people became so familiar with the things of God they just walked away from Him in their thoughts and heart.

We see this moving in Luke in what we call the parable of the prodigal son.   I am not so sure this parable is about a son who returns home after squandering his wealth, but more about a son who did not honor his father and a father who did not know how to raise his children.  The redemption story of a wayward son puts the monkey on the son’s back and preaches a whole lot better on Sunday morning than having the fathers in the congregation to take a good look at their relationships with their children and an inward and honest retrospective review of how they have raised their children.  After having kids, this parable has taken on a whole new meaning and revelation to me.  One child he (the father) let go to spend his life’s wealth reward on his selfish pleasures and another son he never noticed the difference and division between the two sons.  I believe this parable is more a lesson how not to be a father.  In Luke we read, “And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”  (Luke 15:27-32)  Now here is the point; the eldest son who lived with the father knew his father and I believe developed a contempt for his father to the point he would speak against him.  ”And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:” Children this is the height of spiritual rebellion to speak against your parents.  It does not matter what they have done or how bad they have failed you the command from God still is, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”  (Ephesians 6:1-3)  Age has nothing to do with “Honoring thy father and mother,” as long as you both are alive they will be your parents and you will be their children.  It is wrong thinking for parents to think their children are equal to them or worst for the parents to take their children as confidants seeking advice.  This is backward and against God’s word. “Honoring thy father and mother” has nothing to do with caring for our parents in old age or even saying I honor you I honor you, but becoming what they taught in our youth.  True honor is becoming like the parents.  A true compliment of a student is to become like their teacher.  Now this is a double edged sword.  If parents are evil then their children too will be evil unless there is a change in their heart.  What parents are children see and model after. Jesus time and time again made a point of saying when you see the Father you see the Son. Jesus was a wonderful manifestation and model of the Father, He always did and said what His Father told Him to do and say.  What honor, maybe double honor.  Many teach the father in this parable is God restoring man to Himself, but that is not what the Bibles says.  We must never project things from the word of God and make them ours in application.  We must strictly and narrowly discern the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit, if not we get over into presumption and lead people into deception and a stray from the truth of the word of God.  This is why we have so many religions and denominations that have risen from one Bible. Can they all be right?  I think not.  If there is only one way (and there is) to the Father, through Jesus Christ, then how can many religions and denominations use the one way with different rules, rituals, and requirements?  Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  The father could not have been God because he does not bring restoration between his two sons nor does he bring restoration between himself and his eldest son.  The parable leaves these issues of the heart unsettled and this is not keeping with God’s heart for the family.  This parable is to fathers, to be careful how they raise children to not pit one child against the another (love one more than the other) and to children to be careful to take heed not to develop a familiarity that would breed contempt for their father.  Consider the parenting skills of Isaac and his two sons Jacob (who later became Israel with kids of his own) and Esau, his favorites.  Later in the genealogy story we see these truths played out in the life of Israel (Jacob) and his 12 sons, how he loved Joseph and Benjamin more than the rest and in return how his sons (the eldest Reuben went after Bilhah, one of his father’s wives) developed a familiarity of contempt to the point they would consider killing their own brother Joseph. I wonder where Israel learned his parenting skills?  From his father Isaac. Fathers take heed not to set some things into motion that will bear fruit in the next generations of your family. The Bible is full of examples where people get too familiar with God (or the spiritual authority in their lives), get offended, and fall away.

God took me all the way to Romania to show me how dangerous this  offense within us can lead us out of the way we must go and destroy us.   Do you know we could not be offended if there is no offense in us? “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”  (Psalms 119:165)  What a wonderful place in God where, “nothing shall offend them.”  Well, this is the place God desires to take us all.  This is the place we all must strive for in Him where we do not get offended time and time again by our brothers or sisters, or even God.  We can often get too familiar with God and develop contempt to where we lose the fear and respect for a holy God.  God becomes the man upstairs, our sugar daddy, or George Burns smoking a big cigar.  We must maintain a fear and reverence for God that will keep Him a distance from us in our thinking as a God who is above all, yet in us all, and our all in all.  We must allow God to work in our inward man to strengthen us, through His dealings and judgments, so that we do not easily become offended.  How much victory in God do we have? Well that will be seen the next time we get cut off in traffic or someone takes advantage of us.  We flippantly read verses that speak of the very elect shall be deceived (Matthew 24:23) and fallen away or when Jesus saying He will be surprised when He comes back to find any faith on the earth and they gives us no pause or concern for these folks being us.  Please do not miss this point, there must be, there has to be a falling away, God said it. Now I do not  consider myself to be in the “elect” crowd how much more I need to take heed to myself and ensure I do not fall away the consequences for doing so is eternal death.  Let us hold God and the mysteries of the Scriptures in the highest regards even above ourselves and our families in doing so we will ensure our place in God for time eternal.