December 3, 2012
The role of parents or teachers, supervisors, business owners, or any other person with authority over others requires taking responsibility for training and correcting faults of those subject to us. If we shirk our duty in this regard we become partners in their sins.
In 1 Kings, 1-7, Heli, of the family of Aaron, was High priest and also Judge. He had both the highest spiritual and temporal authority. It must have been frustrating to the Jews that Heli allowed his wicked sons, Ophni and Phinees to take away forcefully their sacrifices to the Lord and engage in what we would call today serious liturgical abuse. Their violations of the sacrificial laws were so gross they should have been severely punished. In addition they committed fornication with (probably raped) the women that waited at the tabernacle.
Remember, Heli was the highest judicial authority in Israel. But he only mildly rebuked his sons, lacking the spine to either punish them or prevent their evil deeds. Their reckless behavior indicates that Heli had spared the rod and spoiled the children. It seems that he never properly educated his sons in the duties of the priesthood either.
While Heli himself was a virtuous and God-fearing man, and willingly accepted God’s punishment for letting his sons do evil, i.e. their deaths, he was also punished personally, and that by suffering sudden death upon hearing that the Ark of the Covenant was captured.
Some ways to sin by participation
- Not holding our children, students, or employees accountable for their behavior.
- Not holding to consequences we have laid out for bad behavior – a great way to teach everybody that we don’t mean what we say.
- Not applying appropriate and timely discipline for problem behavior.
- Cutting offenders so much slack repeatedly that everyone notices we are not up to the leadership demanded by our position.
- Allowing the bad behavior of children, students, or subordinates to serve as proxy for our own passive-aggressive ways of handling conflict. (Looking the other way while subordinates engage in thuggish or destructive behavior that advances our own ulterior motives.)
Most of us like to be considered good natured, but we cannot allow ourselves to be weak and indulgent when faced with transgressions of those we are responsible for. We have to get over the antipathy towards being thought of as a “bad guy” even when we are highly skilled at communication and conflict management and take a firm and logical approach to correcting somebody else. No matter how hard we try, even in the best of circumstances, somebody’s not going to like us for disciplining responsibly. That’s life. God won’t be rewarding us for being popular but for wisely guiding those He has entrusted to our care.
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