I don’t know how young I was when I was first disobedient. I am sure that as a baby I showed signs of the disobedience to come – perhaps it was just turning my head away to refuse to eat the food on the spoon in front of me, or perhaps I just refused to do something that I had been told to do. But was that real disobedience, or was it just the case that I didn’t understand the words? As a toddler, I almost certainly refused to do something, even though I fully understood the words. But was that real disobedience, or was it just the case that I didn’t understand the rules? By the time I was at school, I understood both the language and the rules, and I know I was disobedient on many occasions, and punishment followed accordingly.
Things have been critical here for the last two weeks. For some people, the bad weather has placed them in critical situations, lives have been endangered and lost. For me, the situation has not been critical in that sense. In fact, the situation has not been critical for me – I have been critical of the situation. I have criticised the local council for their inability to clear the roads of the snow and ice. Very critical. I have to confess that I have got quite angry about it, and felt that the anger was justified.
Why do we do what we do?
Some things we do just because we do – they sort of happen around us and we just go along with the flow. Some we do automatically, out of habit, and sometimes we don’t even know we are doing them. Sometimes that habit can be so compulsive that we cannot stop ourselves from doing it – we have lost control, and the drift into addiction can follow. We do some things out of our emotions – we laugh because we are happy, cry because we are sad, we lash out in anger, scream with fear.
What are you afraid of? Anything? Lots of things? Everything? Nothing?
Many of us are afraid of flying, but I remember Spike Milligan once saying that he wasn’t in the least frightened of flying. Not in the least! But crashing – that was totally different! He was terrified of that!
There is a belief or custom in many societies that age brings wisdom. This gave rise to the role of Elder, where the older members of the family or society are in a position of leadership, and this has been incorporated into church life, though here spiritual maturity is normally the qualifying factor rather than physical age. Note that I have said the age brings wisdom, not intelligence or knowledge. I am sure that we have all met someone who is incredibly clever, but who shouldn’t really be allowed out on their own!