Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (NKJV)
I walked into the High School of one of my teenage children the other day only to be quickly “ditched” because they feared their friends might actually see them with their Dad, which of course is the height of shame and embarrassment for a teenager. At first I passed it off as humorous adolescence. But as I approached my child and the group of friends, I saw the look on my kid’s face that really did say plainly “go away, I’m embarrassed for my friends to see you with me”.
Now, I’m just an average Joe when it comes to looks and clothes. Nothing spectacular, but nothing particularly embarrassing either. What was at first humorous had suddenly become offensive and hurtful.
I had faced this once before in the mall with my oldest son. As our family entered the shopping mall, I noticed he quickly lagged behind and created an obvious distance between us. I turned and asked him if he was embarrassed to be with his family, to which he responded “I can’t let my friends see me hanging out at the mall with my parents!”
Well I decided to cure that by letting him choose between “embarrassing” and “really embarrassing”. So with volume and clarity worthy of my 10 years as a Drill Sergeant in the Army, I announced to the entire mall: “everyone look over here. My teenage son (and I added his name loud and clear) is here at the mall with his parents and doesn’t want you to know it!”
I will give my boy one thing, he figures things out quick and has my sense of humor. He instantly closed the gap between us and was happy to enjoy the rest of the day at the mall in our company even putting his arm around me!
Back to the high school scene. What was at first humorous had now become hurtful. Later that day I was contemplating why is wasn’t so funny to be treated that way by my own child. It was because they had treated me, their father, like I didn’t matter. It was obvious that the opinion of casual and very temporary friends was more important than “honor thy father” was…
Dad, the person who had loved, cared for, provided for, sacrificed for and protected this child for over 17 years. I was an embarrassment. What I had done for them wasn’t important. I didn’t matter. At that moment, my child was more concerned with the feelings, opinions and approval of the friends. The friends mattered. I didn’t.
Every time we sin, we are saying:
Jesus, You don’t matter.
My desire does.
Every time we are embarrassed to
speak of Jesus, we are saying:
Jesus, You don’t matter.
My reputation does.
Every time we avoid speaking up about our relationship
with Jesus because it is uncomfortable, we are saying:
Jesus, You don’t matter.
My comfort does.
Later on I tried to explain to my child why the behavior was inappropriate and ungodly. I explained to them that their friends are fickle, they will come and go and that, relatively speaking, their friends have done NOTHING for them.
I went on and reminded about all the love, sacrifice and devotion that a parent shows. I compared the two and demonstrated how wrong it was to be ashamed of the one who has given all, and embrace the one who has given nothing.
When we choose our own way (sin) we are saying to Jesus “I know you have given all, but its more important that I have my own way. You don’t matter. And what’s more, its embarrassing to have You hanging around. Someone might see us together.”
Ephesians 4:30-32 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJV)
Most parents have been, or will be grieved by their children at some point. You get treated like you don’t matter; your feelings, desires and your authority. None of it matters.
To grieve the Holy Spirit is to treat Jesus like He doesn’t matter. The Holy Spirit proclaims Christ, illuminates Christ and points everything to Christ. So to ignore Jesus Christ, grieves the Holy Spirit. When we sin, when we are ashamed of Christ, when we behave as if He isn’t there, we are loudly proclaiming that Jesus doesn’t matter.
Father, help us to understand how we grieve the Holy Spirit. May we never act like Jesus doesn’t matter, in whose name we pray, Amen.
Contemplation: When you are with your friends, family and coworkers, are you embarrassed to have Jesus around? Are you afraid someone might see you with Him? When you sin or ignore Jesus, do you admit that you are telling Jesus that He doesn’t matter?
Application: Sin is much more than doing something wrong. It is the blatant disregard of the presence of Jesus Christ and the willful decision that what He thinks, what He has done and what He wants doesn’t matter.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?