It wasn’t only in the Women’s Ministry. The church at large embraced psychological models to help us identify the root causes of our besetting sins. I just noticed the problem more during those women’s meetings.
One evening in particular stands out in my memory. The women leading the meeting instructed each of us to think of an instance when our parents wounded us. They explained that we couldn’t properly forgive them unless we first “worked through” the pain that we had suffered at the hands of our moms and dads.
One lady found the exercise to be perplexing. She honestly couldn’t think of anything she held against either of her parents. Instead of admiring her purity, however, the leaders accused her of failing to deal with her past. I could see their frustration as she continued to maintain that she had wonderful parents — that she couldn’t remember anything they had done to hurt her.
The leaders finally let her alone, concluding that her denial would keep her from receiving the healing that Jesus had for her that night. Apparently, her desire to honor her father and her mother thwarted the work of the Holy Spirit in her life.
I did air some of my grievances against my mom that night. I aired more grievances against her on other occasions. But instead of forgiving her, I justified my anger and blamed her for my sins.
All the while, I knew the psychological models the church championed led me away from honoring my mother.
Once in a while, I’d try to voice my concerns that the church discouraged people from honoring parents. But most of the time, I secretly appreciated the excuse to rebel against the Fourth Commandment. Indeed, remembering the way people treated that gal at the Women’s Ministry meeting served to warn me not to honor Mom.
Looking back, I see that I subjugated God’s Word to psychology. More accurately, I chose to disobey the clear teaching of God’s Word in favor of embracing psychology in order to avoid peer pressure. Deep down, I knew that the church taught something contrary to Scripture. But I convinced myself to trust the leaders of the church.
Although the Bible definitely calls Christians to submit to those in spiritual authority, however, such submission is absolutely wrong when church leaders encourage Christians to go against Scripture. I knew that I dishonored my mom each time I talked about my grievances against her. I knew that I followed counsel that completely violated God’s commandment.
That nagging sense tried to bring me to repentance. I wish I’d listened sooner.