Governing Souls

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I haven't read the book, but the following quote stirred me:

It is a terrible sin – really nothing less than murder – when someone entrusted with a pastoral service thinks he has the right to govern souls.

As parents, we have a pastoral role. No, we're not officially clergy, but we are here to shepherd. We nurture, lead, bind up wounds, help the fallen, pull off ticks and burrs and thorns (physical or otherwise). God has entrusted us with caring for and serving the children He has given us.

Sheep
Sheep - a metaphor for us all

A fitting reminder that it is up to the Holy Spirit to do the work of transforming us; we can do little more than demonstrate Christ's grace and keep pointing our kids to Him. May we never fall into the temptation to believe that we are the masters of a child's fate.

Even as we govern, at the start, our children's schedule, we still are not in control of them as people. We can, by our words and actions, encourage or dishearten. The ways we discipline and correct can nurture or beat down. The moment we strive to force their souls in one way or another, we take on a role that God Himself shuns. He calls, beckons, woos. He welcomes. His will is done, but His sovereignty is not challenged by the freedom He gives each of us. And if you're more of a TULIP type person, you best not dabble in God's space; He chooses, you are not the one to govern.

The missionary biographies we've read as part of Sonlight's complete curriculum offer insights into how we should approach our children: With love, the Good News, and our own journey. The efforts to spread the Gospel that have ruined lives are those bent on bending souls to fit our mold. The missionaries that have built up, empowered, and helped their "sheep" thrive have had a different focus. Instead of governing, they set their sights on nurturing.

May the same be said of us.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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One Comment

  1. Love the quote. Spot on.