My sons are now dads, which makes me a (super cool, way-too-young-to-be) grandma. A couple of my grandsons are entering the teenage years right about now. So, I was talking to one of my sons the other day about how teens will try to push the limits with the parents, how you gotta keep showing them whose still boss, all that, and something I heard way back in Psychology 101 came to mind: Elephant training. Stay with me here....
That chain they hook around the elephant's neck to keep him or her from running away from the zoo, the circus, whatever. Well, you know, an adult elephant could yank that chain right out of the ground any time they wanted to. But they don't. You know why? Because their keepers started putting that chain around their neck when they were young and a lot smaller, while the chain still had a pretty good chance of holding. So, not being particularly knowledgeable on physics, the elephant grows into adulthood believing that chain still holds them, so they never even try to get away.
So, as we're talking, I expertly share this phenomenon with my son, brilliantly applying the elephant story to parenting children - while they are young, maintaining parental authority so they won't question it when they get to be teenagers. Am I a wise sage, or what? But, wait...
A little while later after that conversation, it hit me: the elephant story isn't just about parenting, authority, or animal psychology. There is a spiritual application here!!!
Do you see it?!! In our childhood - literally, when we are young and also in the 'childhood' stage of our faith - we get taught and conditioned to believe certain things. We have bad experiences, people hurt us, life punches in the gut, we mess up, the Enemy convinces us that lies are truth - all forging a "chain" of fear, confusion, or bitterness around our neck. And it stays there and drags us down, over and over and over again. Just like the elephant, we keep that chain around our neck because we don't know (or don't believe) that it can be broken!!!
What chain are you still wearing from your childhood? For that matter, what chain are you wearing from yesterday?
You know you don't have to wear it, right? Jesus broke that thing a long time ago. And, if knowing that's not enough to make ya wanna hoop, holler, and run out into the street and slap somebody, I don't know what would! (Well, OK, forget the slapping somebody part, but anyway).
Oh, and BTW - if the elephant story is a myth, urban legend, or whatever, don't tell me because I really want to like it.
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man,
I put aside childish things. (HCSB)