Rebellion vs. conformity

By Dave Henning / July 19, 2014

In Chapter 2 of One Way Love, Tullian Tchividjian continues his discussion of the story of the prodigal son by noting that the parable is more than a beautiful story of God’s one-way love: “it’s a beautiful picture of God’s one-way love for an unloving and actively hostile person.”  Yet, as Pastor Tchividjian asserts, the Gospel only sounds good to a heart that recognizes its sinfulness.  Grace is freeing.  For people who think they’re good, grace is frustrating.

American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once referred to original sin as “the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.”  History bears out the Bible’s claim that our basic nature is “fatally compromised”.  Pastor Tchividjian explains that this is not to say we don’t have bright spots in our world.  It simply denotes that our weaknesses tend to define us more than our strengths.  He adds: “We live where our problems are.”

The author astutely observes that rebellion and conformity are often flip sides of the same coin.  Our problem is that we’re used to thinking of sin exclusively in terms of observable behavior and outright rebellion.  Pastor Tchividjian offers a different perspective:

“Once we begin to understand that sin has more to do with what’s on the inside of us than what we do on the outside, we begin to see our own desperate need for grace, whether it takes the form of trying to find freedom and fullness of life by breaking the rules (younger brother) or by keeping them (elder brother).”

Today’s question: To what extent has rebellion or conformity characterized your response to your vocation loss? Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Behavior Motivation”

About the author

Dave Henning

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