Multitude of Counselors

Dictatorship and Mental Health Part 2

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: MOC

Program Code: MOC170028A

00:26 Welcome to A multitude of Counselors,
00:29 part two of Dictatorship and Mental Health.
00:32 We had an amazing conversation during part one,
00:36 and I'm just kind of really frankly overwhelmed
00:37 as I think of all the directions
00:39 we could take this discussions.
00:41 But we do want to give a quick recap.
00:43 We talked about our guest, Jaime Jorge's childhood
00:47 under Fidel Castro's Cuba communism,
00:50 and it was fascinating.
00:52 We saw that it's a very difficult environment
00:55 to grow up in, but fortunately,
00:57 there were sort of moderating influences
00:59 in his loving family and in his church family.
01:02 And so we kind of got a sense of what it was like to grow up
01:04 in that environment,
01:05 some of the mental health issues
01:07 that come out of it, but how God worked in his life.
01:09 We got to the point
01:10 where he was partying in college,
01:12 and so we really want to unpack that.
01:14 We want to all of your deep, dark secrets.
01:16 No, I'm kidding.
01:17 But let me quickly introduce my panel here.
01:19 This is Shelley Wiggins,
01:21 she is a professional counselor from Michigan.
01:23 This is David Guerrero,
01:24 he is a biblical counselor from Wisconsin,
01:27 and he does a bunch of other things too,
01:28 but I'm just going to say biblical counselor.
01:30 Just leave it there. Just leave it there.
01:31 Yeah, just leave it.
01:32 And Nivischi Edwards who is a therapist and teacher,
01:37 and she lives currently in Tennessee
01:39 and will be moving to Georgia pretty soon
01:41 for certain reasons
01:43 that we won't talk about right now.
01:44 Anyway and Jaime Jorge, sometimes known as Jaime Jorge.
01:48 That's right.
01:50 So we're going to call him Jaime.
01:51 Talk us from the wild party life post Cuba
01:55 to where you are at today.
01:57 So it was a phase of me really sort of seeing
02:02 what was out there.
02:03 Yeah.
02:05 I grew up in a very sheltered environment,
02:07 which I'm thankful for in a way because my parents shielded me.
02:10 Well, that's what you're supposed to do
02:11 as parents when your kids are growing up.
02:13 That's right.
02:14 But especially from that whole communist regime.
02:16 Right.
02:18 All of the challenges that we had outside the home,
02:20 in school, on the street.
02:22 By the way, we lived in the days
02:24 where a few said Jesus in a public place,
02:26 you could get arrested and go to jail,
02:28 that's not the case anymore.
02:30 But at home, we had this bubble of love
02:34 and worship and fellowship
02:38 with our family and our other Christian friends
02:42 that made a huge difference.
02:43 So when I got here, I just started to have freedoms
02:47 that I never had before, and so I started to experience
02:50 or experiment with those freedoms.
02:53 And so I did what young people did
02:55 during my time which was go out,
02:57 you know, drinking after class or partying,
03:01 you know, at night or whatever.
03:03 And I just found the whole thing
03:04 to be very empty,
03:06 and very time consuming, and time wasting.
03:09 And I really had an encounter with God,
03:13 not that I didn't as a child, but I had one as an adult
03:17 where I realized that people look for outlets, right?
03:22 Some people turn to drugs, some people turn to sex,
03:25 some people turn to hard work.
03:28 We talk about this whole,
03:31 you know, the virtues of working hard,
03:32 but if other parts of our lives
03:34 are out of balance, that's not good.
03:36 That's not healthy.
03:38 And so I studied the Bible, I came to my own realizations
03:42 and conclusions about my relationship with God
03:45 and decided that these things were not things
03:47 that were going to be constructive for me,
03:49 that were not going to help me,
03:51 and so I decided to focus my energies on...
03:53 And you family is in the US at this point.
03:55 Yes. We were able to come together.
03:57 So you also mentioned that you started down
03:59 the path of medical school,
04:00 but then you ended up choosing music.
04:03 Could you talk about that?
04:04 Was it at all...
04:06 You said it was your calling,
04:07 you realize that music was a calling for you.
04:08 But did you feel that it was your calling?
04:11 Well, I probably always did. Okay.
04:13 But I also know how difficult
04:16 the life of a Christian musician is.
04:19 No money.
04:20 And I just didn't want to go through that.
04:22 My parents had come from nothing, we had nothing,
04:26 and so I thought
04:27 we have opportunities in this country.
04:29 I want to choose a career
04:31 that will give me the opportunity
04:33 to bless my family and others as well,
04:35 and I love medicine because when I was little boy
04:39 and I was very sickly,
04:40 my doctor who was a Christian doctor,
04:42 took such good care of me that,
04:44 I thought, "I want to do that for people as well."
04:46 What an opportunity to really bless people, yeah.
04:48 I wanted to go to the Amazon
04:50 and be a missionary for a period of time.
04:52 But halfway through medical school,
04:55 you know, God is knocking at my door
04:57 and then he's opening the door, and, you know, finally saw it.
05:00 But is music also healing for us
05:02 and have you found it to be so?
05:04 Isn't that part of your whole thing?
05:06 Most definitely. Yeah.
05:07 I planned if I ever became a doctor to do music therapy
05:11 for my patients in my practice,
05:15 even though I didn't go that route,
05:17 I have done music therapy.
05:19 He comes in with a stethoscope, whips out the violin.
05:21 You know, that'd be great. And brings healing.
05:23 No need to prescribe medication.
05:24 Yeah, everybody is great.
05:26 Which means the drug companies wouldn't be very happy.
05:27 No.
05:29 But I spent four and a half...
05:30 So you wouldn't have been a doctor very long.
05:31 That's right.
05:33 So when I did music therapy in several Ohio hospitals,
05:37 I would go in and I would play...
05:38 Did you really? Mm-hmm.
05:39 For four and a half years.
05:41 And I would play for the patients
05:42 and the staff and the staff
05:44 would tell me, "When you're here,
05:46 we don't have to administer
05:48 as many pain killers as when you are not here."
05:49 Isn't that great? That's awesome.
05:51 That is amazing.
05:52 And didn't you mention some research has showed
05:54 that calming effects and the very symptoms
05:56 that we see,
05:58 you know, develop out of a political dictatorship
06:00 that kind of systemic problems that people have,
06:02 didn't you share some research
06:04 about how music treats those very things, you know?
06:07 Great.
06:08 'Cause in the segment, Jen,
06:09 you highlighted about the symptoms of people
06:13 who come out of that type of culture that included,
06:18 you know, depression, anxiety,
06:21 PTSD, hyperventilation, you use.
06:24 Well, it was chronic hyperventilation
06:26 which we just figured out was panic attacks.
06:28 And so all of that...
06:30 I never recalled that.
06:31 Has to do with high blood pressure issues
06:32 and what not.
06:34 So I'm curious have you actually seen
06:36 those happen when you were in those settings.
06:39 So I would play for the patients in the rooms
06:41 and I would play,
06:43 "What a Friend we have in Jesus,"
06:44 "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,"
06:45 Leaning On The Everlasting Arms."
06:47 And you'd see their heart rates start to come down,
06:49 their blood pressure would start to drop,
06:52 and it made a very profound effect
06:55 in the wellbeing of those people,
06:58 even for just that moment.
06:59 So imagine if we exposed ourselves to good music
07:03 that was therapeutic, you know?
07:05 And of course, tyranny doesn't have
07:08 to just come from the government.
07:09 It can come from home,
07:11 it can come from a bad relationship,
07:12 it could come from those types of situations.
07:15 And we want to use all of these tools...
07:17 Can you unpack that a little?
07:18 So you are saying that, you know,
07:19 I grew up under political relationship,
07:21 and I had these effects, and we've established
07:23 that really well during this program,
07:25 but can you take the same principles
07:28 and apply them in
07:29 another context i.e. family, church,
07:33 and does it have the same psychological impact?
07:36 And then my following question would be,
07:39 distill down
07:40 what is that central characteristic
07:42 that would apply both in a political,
07:44 and a church, family context, isn't it controlled?
07:48 And the snuffing out of the individual...
07:50 That's what it comes down to.
07:51 Of individualism and the only
07:54 we can really bond as human beings
07:56 is to be fully individuals.
07:58 So there's like a paradox.
07:59 We have to be individual,
08:00 we also blend our lives together.
08:02 But without that individuality, relationship dies,
08:05 so they strip people of their individuality
08:08 as does any kind of dictatorship,
08:10 and in that way,
08:11 reduce people's capacity to have intimate relationships.
08:16 Do you ever see that in families?
08:18 Do you ever see it in churches? Often. Often.
08:19 And when you do, do you freak out?
08:21 Acquainted with a family
08:23 where the husband spiritually manipulated the wife.
08:28 "I'm the head of the home."
08:29 Not only that, Jesus would not be happy
08:33 with that kind of activity on your part.
08:35 Yeah, "'Cause you can't rebel against me."
08:37 That's right.
08:38 And "I am the head of the home."
08:39 When a man starts saying that,
08:41 I start to really raise my eyebrows
08:43 because if you have to resort to that,
08:47 to show your authority,
08:52 then there is a problem
08:54 because Jesus is the head of the church, right?
08:57 He doesn't say you have to do this
09:00 or this and that.
09:01 "You do what I have shown you because you love me."
09:05 So when you start having to say,
09:07 "The Lord would frown upon that on your part,"
09:09 or, "You need to be home early,"
09:11 or this and that and the other, you start seeing the results.
09:14 A person then becomes, they lose their individuality,
09:21 they start becoming dependent on their spouse
09:23 or their husband for their thought,
09:26 for their guidance, for their direction,
09:29 and they lose their individuality,
09:31 they are completely dependent.
09:33 With tragic effects.
09:35 And I think mental health,
09:36 like what I have seen in religious homes
09:38 that are characterized by a form of dictatorship
09:42 is people end up
09:43 with more anxiety disorders, more OCD.
09:46 They maybe outwardly more compliant
09:49 and it may seem like,
09:50 "Wow, that family did a great job of raising
09:52 that child just right,"
09:53 but if you get down into the nuts and bolts,
09:55 kind of the underbelly
09:56 of how that family system functioned,
09:58 those children were effectively brainwashed
10:01 and they have major health problems,
10:04 a lot of them are my clients, actually.
10:07 So you see this, does it trigger you,
10:10 you know, when you see it in families?
10:11 Do you just feel like it's Castro all over again?
10:13 Most definitely.
10:15 And it makes me very upset and very angry.
10:17 And I can tell you, I've been on concert trips
10:21 where I have been assigned a pastor
10:26 or a leader to take me
10:28 during these two weeks during, you know, all over the country,
10:33 and I have seen this behavior constantly
10:36 and I've had to...
10:37 I've mentioned it to my wife before,
10:40 I've had to take the person aside
10:43 and let listen what you're doing...
10:45 What do you actually day to them?
10:46 You just said it what you're doing.
10:47 It depends on the situation,
10:49 but I've had to confront people and say,
10:51 "You are being a tyrant."
10:53 And isn't the essential message
10:55 that you want to convey to someone like that that
10:57 if you're really a servant leader
10:59 in your family,
11:00 you won't have to constantly one down everybody,
11:03 that so called, "under you."
11:04 They will want to submit to you.
11:07 There's a responsibility on the leader of the home,
11:09 we're not against leadership, neither is the Bible,
11:11 but there's a responsibility on the leader,
11:13 "Fathers, provoke not your children."
11:15 In other words, you are to some degree responsible
11:17 for their response to you.
11:19 And the same thing with husbands and wives.
11:21 You are to some degree responsible
11:23 for whether that woman is inclined
11:25 to want to submit to you or not.
11:26 You can't find one verse in the Bible that says,
11:29 "Husbands, make your wife submit."
11:30 It's not there.
11:32 You are to enlist their submission
11:33 through being a servant leadership,
11:35 a servant leader.
11:36 Yeah.
11:38 So there seems to be here an absence of love.
11:41 How or what would you say a family or church,
11:47 what could they do to reinsert that environment, not love.
11:52 Well, the first thing we need to do is what Paul said.
11:56 We need to think of others better than us,
12:00 more important than us.
12:02 So focus off of myself. That's right.
12:03 Okay.
12:05 Because when my desire is to take care of your needs,
12:08 then all of a sudden, what I want isn't as important.
12:11 And once I start doing that,
12:13 that's going to create a desire in other people to do the same.
12:15 Amen.
12:17 But if I come to you and I say,
12:18 "This is what I want you to do,"
12:19 your first reaction
12:21 unless you are beaten down is to say,
12:22 "And who do you think you are?"
12:24 Yeah.
12:25 And so that's already going
12:26 to create this strife, this tension.
12:28 Yeah.
12:29 But if I come and say, "How can I be of help?"
12:31 Well, so what's going on in the part of the dictator?
12:34 Aren't they operating
12:35 on the exact opposite principle?
12:36 Correct.
12:38 And you kind of distilled that, we were talking in the hall
12:39 and you kind of distilled it down
12:41 to like pride being basically the essential sin
12:44 and the sin that turned Lucifer into Satan.
12:47 So could you unpack that, like, that individual is operating on
12:51 the exact opposite of the gospel principle
12:53 of serving others?
12:55 And how does dictatorship serve the dictator?
12:58 Well, it gives that person the control that they want.
13:01 Yeah.
13:03 What does control do for people?
13:04 I hate being in control, people, it's exhausting.
13:06 Well, oftentimes,
13:07 it comes from a background of inadequacy,
13:12 insecurity, and so these people
13:15 then want to overcome that by subduing others.
13:19 I read a book, very fascinating book called,"
13:21 Stalin: Breaker of Nations."
13:24 He was somebody
13:25 who starved millions of his own farmers.
13:28 Incredible. His own people.
13:30 And he was a very,
13:31 very unimportant child growing up,
13:34 mistreated by his family, mistreated by his community.
13:37 But it seems when people are compensating
13:40 for low self-esteem, there's almost no limit
13:43 to how far that compensation can go.
13:45 Once pride takes hold and people start dealing
13:47 with their innate shame by trying to be prideful,
13:50 it's like there's no sealing on it.
13:52 That's right.
13:53 Like, people can go to those lengths
13:54 where they killed 25 million people.
13:56 So there's a void and they're trying to fill
13:57 that void with control and power and abuse.
14:01 We could provide...
14:03 You were talking in last segment
14:04 about what we can do as clinicians,
14:05 support someone
14:07 who has come to us in this form.
14:08 And I think the key is relationships.
14:12 If we provide a safe space
14:14 to build and grow a healthy trusting, loving,
14:18 similar to what you described
14:20 in your family, then people can thrive.
14:22 But if there's continual pounding on,
14:24 "You must do this,
14:26 you have to do this, you cannot do this,"
14:28 then that depletes them.
14:29 Here's the tricky part though.
14:30 That's very valid what you said,
14:32 but the tricky part is when you are actually...
14:34 narcissists never really come to counseling anyway,
14:37 but if they did,
14:39 they take advantage of empathy,
14:41 so you try to build, or like,
14:43 if you are working with a married couple
14:44 and one of them is a dictator,
14:47 you don't do marriage counseling.
14:49 Marriage counselors will not see
14:50 if there's abuse going on, or control going,
14:52 they won't see the couple together.
14:54 They first work with the dictator
14:55 and try to get them to repudiate their approach
14:58 because he'll take advantage of her empathy.
15:01 However, if you educate the spouse about the behavior,
15:04 she can then gain
15:06 what she needs to change her behavior,
15:09 and the dynamics
15:10 of the relationship too can change.
15:11 And in a lot of times,
15:13 there's buy-in on the part of the spouse
15:15 that is submitting to the abuse and control,
15:17 there's enough buy-in to where they don't really feel
15:19 they have the right
15:20 or they're getting something of out of it,
15:21 and if you can get her to the place
15:23 where she's willing...
15:24 And so that's, you build the relationship
15:25 with the spouse so you can educate her
15:27 and then she can then change.
15:29 Speaking of marriage, Jaime...
15:32 are you married? Yes.
15:35 You and your wife are happily working together,
15:41 but yet at distanced because you're travelling,
15:44 you are doing concerts.
15:46 She travels with you sometimes,
15:48 but tell us more about your vision
15:51 to actually work together together.
15:54 Well, we both had been married before,
15:57 we both went through divorces,
15:58 and we both said without ever meeting
16:01 that we would never going to get married again.
16:04 Divorce is one of the most painful
16:06 and destructive things that I know on this earth
16:08 because of the collateral damage,
16:12 the amount of people that are affected by this.
16:14 But God brought us together,
16:16 and we want to make sure that we always have a happy
16:21 and a healthy and a thriving relationship,
16:24 and that means investing time into the relationship.
16:27 Intentional time. Exactly right.
16:30 And so my goal is to be home during the week.
16:35 When I was single,
16:36 and I was single for a number of years,
16:38 I would be on the road two, three, four, five,
16:40 six weeks in a row,
16:41 I would just go from the next to the next place
16:43 because I didn't have to come home.
16:45 But now I've cut a lot of that out
16:46 and I've tried to bunch up my concerts on the weekends
16:53 so that I start Friday night and I end Sunday night,
16:56 and I would typically do five concerts
16:57 during the weekend,
16:59 and then I can go home and spend time with Rachelle.
17:01 I'm so glad to hear this
17:03 'cause I have to admit, when I saw,
17:04 you know, you remarried,
17:06 and I knew how hard worker you were.
17:08 I thought, "Do they have any time together?"
17:11 I'm so glad to hear
17:12 that you're being every intentional
17:14 about it and planning.
17:15 And we have wonderful quality time together,
17:18 and I tell people who do know us well,
17:20 "Don't worry," you know, last year,
17:22 when I got invited to go to Taiwan
17:24 to do a week of prayer, she went with me.
17:26 So were together for nearly two weeks.
17:29 Our upcoming trip to Israel is almost two weeks,
17:33 she's with me.
17:34 So on this bigger and longer trips
17:36 and exotic places and that kind of things,
17:38 she comes, so we can experience all that,
17:40 you know, together.
17:42 Yeah, where she wants to come. Have some more together there.
17:43 Absolutely. Beautiful.
17:44 Then during the week,
17:46 we always have at least one date night
17:49 which means that I am not known or...
17:53 Not even heard?
17:55 Out there in my community
17:56 because I come home to spend time with my,
17:58 you know, wife and family, and nurture that
18:02 'cause I don't have time to go out and get together
18:03 with my buddies very often.
18:05 So you go out for froyo, right? Yes.
18:06 So what's it called? Mixed Up Cup Mixed Up Cup.
18:10 So tell us just a little bit about that.
18:12 She runs this little eatery. You know, I have to tell you.
18:15 I went out to eat in that neighborhood
18:17 and then we went there for dessert,
18:19 and when I got there, I was like,
18:20 "I should have eaten here.
18:21 This is amazing."
18:23 You have wraps, you have sandwiches.
18:24 You have so many choices.
18:25 And her goal is healthy and organic food,
18:29 and so it's not just food that tastes good
18:32 'cause oftentimes
18:33 we associate healthy food with...
18:35 Vegan. Not so tasty food.
18:37 Exactly right. Oh, yeah.
18:38 But she, having been a chef, makes this food that is healthy
18:43 and is very, very tasty, and with a lot of desire.
18:44 I'm definitely hitting that place up when I'm back.
18:46 I'm telling you I am. Now where is this place?
18:48 In the Chattanooga area where we live.
18:49 Oh, I'm in Wisconsin. Yeah.
18:51 And you don't want froyo anyway,
18:53 you're freezing.
18:54 Cold already.
18:56 So can you talk to us
18:57 about how growing up under a dictatorship
19:00 has affected your view of American life
19:04 and in particular, politics.
19:06 If you can, you know, just touch on that.
19:07 We don't want to alienate anyone,
19:09 but I've just noticed
19:11 in some of your Twitter comments
19:12 that you value capitalism, you value freedom,
19:17 you are a little suspicious of some of the far left,
19:21 which a lot of people are fearful of the far right,
19:24 particularly, young people,
19:25 they don't realize that there's just a militant movement
19:27 on the left, I feel.
19:29 So you seem to have your antenna for that
19:32 and it seems to me because you grew up
19:34 under a far left communist regime,
19:38 you know?
19:39 Well, any time you get into extremes,
19:42 you have a problem.
19:43 What did Jesus say,
19:45 and if we would just follow that,
19:46 we would be in so much better shape.
19:47 Amen. He said, "Stay in the middle."
19:49 Yeah.
19:50 And so we have these tendencies to go off into these areas,
19:54 and that's what brings us problem,
19:55 and that's what brings us division.
19:56 But let me clarify,
19:58 and this is getting a little philosophical,
19:59 but it's the middle of two biblical truths.
20:00 It's not like that person's truth,
20:02 and that's person's...
20:03 I'm just going go in the middle.
20:05 It's not middle of the road per se.
20:07 That would be Syncretism, just speaking philosophically.
20:09 But we want the middle of two biblical truths,
20:12 and the Bible presents a form
20:15 of government in the Old Testament
20:16 that is of really a great blend of the freedoms,
20:19 of free enterprise
20:21 that you would find in capitalism,
20:22 but also some social programs that you would find
20:25 in a more socialistic government,
20:27 and it's kind of a blend of those things,
20:28 like the ability to glean on the part of poor people,
20:30 the glean fields, the Jubilee, like you said,
20:33 it was the reset button on the economy.
20:35 So you and I talked
20:36 about capitalistic greed getting out of control,
20:39 and that's a bad thing too.
20:41 So you are pro-capitalism, the freedom of capitalism
20:43 because you know that freedom is essential to development.
20:46 And that's what I'm talking about in the extremes
20:48 because you can have extreme capitalism
20:50 which hurts people
20:52 and then you can have extreme government control
20:54 which is ideally and originally supposed
20:57 to level the playing field for everybody,
21:00 but what happens is, as government or church
21:04 or any organization starts getting more and more control,
21:07 they give up less and less of it
21:09 and they take more and more of it.
21:11 And that is my concerns in any situation.
21:14 So how should a church, for instance,
21:15 balance authority and freedom?
21:19 Like, we don't want to completely...
21:21 we don't want the world church leadership
21:23 to completely lose authority.
21:24 Right.
21:26 We have guidelines that are in the Word of God,
21:28 and that's a great place to start.
21:30 And the Bible does say there are mechanisms.
21:34 When you have a problem, you talk to your brother,
21:36 then you go to others.
21:38 And so God has established
21:41 very, very successful ways of dealing with things.
21:45 Any time you have a head of the church
21:48 that just thinks that this is how it has to be done
21:50 and there's no discussion
21:52 and there's no coming to an agreement on something,
21:57 just like in a home.
21:59 I grew in a very patriarchal society,
22:01 and so, at home,
22:03 even though I had a loving home,
22:05 and in most Hispanic and Latin homes,
22:07 whatever the man says, it goes.
22:09 And I remember, when we got here,
22:11 my dad would say to my mom,
22:12 "Hey, I'm thinking about buying this car."
22:14 And my mom would say, "Oh, that's not a good idea."
22:17 She had no scientific proof, she had no information,
22:22 it was just that sixth sense.
22:24 That women have. Exactly right.
22:26 And you know what? My dad didn't pay attention.
22:28 He bought the car, and the car was a lemon.
22:31 And I can't tell you how many times that happened.
22:34 Did she mock him for it?
22:35 Or did she...
22:37 I don't know about mocking, but...
22:38 Well, just so he learned. Yeah, hopefully.
22:41 So when you say church,
22:45 you are including even a local church,
22:47 you know, not just...
22:48 Certainly. Certainly.
22:50 I went to churches
22:51 'cause I do concerts in many different
22:53 denominations in churches.
22:54 I've been to churches
22:55 where the pastor is like, you know...
22:57 A dictator.
22:59 The representative of God, yeah.
23:00 And whatever the pastor says, it's done,
23:03 and nobody questions it.
23:05 I think that's a problem.
23:06 You would call that authoritarianism.
23:08 Mm-hmm? Yeah.
23:09 Are you ever approached before a concert and told
23:13 or, I should say,
23:14 requested not to do certain pieces
23:17 because of certain styles or types.
23:18 Well, he does all hymns. So he's really safe.
23:20 Yeah, most certainly.
23:22 I've been...
23:23 Oh, you can do hymns in different styles,
23:25 but have you ever been requested not to do certain...
23:26 Many times. Really?
23:29 Many times, I've been told, "If you come to our church,
23:33 you can't have a ponytail."
23:34 Oh, so you put it up in a bun when they say that.
23:38 You wore a cap? Do the Japanese samurai thing.
23:40 What do you do for your hair? Sometimes I cut my hair.
23:42 Sometimes I said, "You know what?
23:44 If that is the criteria for having me,
23:46 I'm not coming to your church.
23:47 If that's what you're focusing on,
23:48 I think you're focusing on the wrong thing."
23:50 It all depends on the approach.
23:52 I've had churches that said to me,
23:54 "You know, we are a little bit more contemporary.
23:56 Could you play more contemporary music
23:58 because our congregation doesn't know the old hymns."
24:00 Or, "Would you play,
24:01 we're a little more traditional?"
24:03 And so I'm happy to oblige,
24:04 but if you are going to make that a focal issue,
24:07 then all of a sudden,
24:09 I'm not really there to do what I'm supposed to do.
24:11 You are not a person anymore.
24:12 I'm just there to please your parameters.
24:13 You are not an individual anymore.
24:15 You are part of the system. Exactly right.
24:16 And I don't want to be.
24:18 You said that, you know, authoritarianism entails,
24:20 you know, never discussing anything.
24:22 Now certainly you can't discuss with a three-year old
24:24 whether they should eat the cigarette butt or not.
24:26 So there's a place for just saying, "You can't."
24:28 That's correct.
24:29 So how, if you had children, which I know you don't,
24:31 but how would you deal with situations like that?
24:33 And if you were a pastor of a congregation
24:36 and there was, genuine, like, heresy
24:38 or problems in the congregation,
24:40 would there be a place for exercising authority?
24:43 There certainly is,
24:44 and I remember times when my dad said to me,
24:48 "You are going to practice the violin,"
24:50 and I said to my mom and my dad,
24:52 "I don't want to practice anymore."
24:54 You know, and they would say,
24:56 "Well, God has given you this talent.
24:58 When you are old enough
24:59 to make those kinds of decisions,
25:01 then you can make that decision."
25:03 Like, famously, I always quote my mom saying,
25:06 "As long as you live in my house,
25:08 you are going to practice the violin."
25:09 And now you are so grateful that those were the realities.
25:11 Exactly right.
25:13 And that's a biblical principle.
25:14 And I see so many young people who've grown up,
25:15 and come and tell me,
25:17 "I wish I would've stuck with it.
25:18 I wish I would've listened to my parents."
25:19 I'm one right here
25:21 because my parents didn't pressure me,
25:22 and I played piano by ear, but I never learned notes,
25:25 and I would've been a much better player
25:27 if I had stuck with it.
25:28 So there is a good place for authority.
25:30 It needs to be God, Spirit-led authority,
25:34 and that's the difference, not just my whim,
25:36 or just because I say so, it's going to go.
25:39 But also always upholding
25:41 the sense of freedom of conscience.
25:44 I mean, as Seventh-day Adventists,
25:45 isn't that at our core?
25:47 A freedom of choice.
25:48 Core of our believes is freedom of conscience.
25:50 So what you do
25:52 as an authority figure is you say,
25:54 "I'm not telling you what to do,
25:55 but I'm telling you what will happen
25:57 if you do this or this."
25:58 That's key.
25:59 And as a parent,
26:01 I work with parents to teach them
26:02 as choice-based parenting, where you say,
26:04 "Look, I'm not going to tell you what to do.
26:05 You've got to make your own choice.
26:07 But I will tell you, if you do that,
26:09 you can't use the car this weekend."
26:11 Or, "You are going to lose your allowances,"
26:12 or whatever the consequences are.
26:13 And there's a world of difference.
26:15 It's essentially what Joshua did.
26:17 Here's Mount Ebal,
26:18 Mount Gerizim, here're the blessings,
26:19 here're the curses, now you choose.
26:21 But choose the right thing. Right.
26:23 Well, the Bible says, "Count the costs."
26:25 Yeah, exactly. "Weigh it out."
26:27 I have a three-year old and a six-year old,
26:29 and a lot of times we are trying to teach them
26:31 to count the costs.
26:33 What God did in the Garden of Eden?
26:35 You know, he gave them freedom of choice,
26:37 and he shared with them very lovingly
26:40 what the outcome could potentially be.
26:42 They made that choice, and yet he came
26:45 behind that choice and still offered them love.
26:47 He said, "I'm going to send
26:48 my Son to die for you to save you."
26:50 Praise the Lord. Amen.
26:51 You know what?
26:52 In other words, you are free to choose,
26:54 but you are not free to choose the outcome
26:55 because there's cause and effect,
26:56 and you make certain choices and the effect is going
26:58 to naturally come with that choice.
26:59 That's why God will still come by our side
27:01 to try to assist and help us,
27:03 to lovingly get back on the right track.
27:05 Amen.
27:06 And this is such an important point to end on
27:08 because Jesus said,
27:10 "If the Son has made you free, you'll be free indeed."
27:14 God's kind of leadership,
27:15 even though he is vested with authority,
27:18 is of leadership that grants freedom
27:20 and creates an environment of freedom
27:23 in which people can actually experience love for Him
27:27 and for one and another.
27:29 There couldn't be a sharper contrast
27:30 between God's way of leading and a dictator's way of leading
27:34 because that's really Satan's way of leading,
27:36 it's controlling people and preventing love
27:38 in the process of control.
27:40 It's been such a blessing to unpack all these things.
27:42 I wish we had many more segments
27:44 to be able to do this,
27:46 but may God bless you as you contemplate this.
27:48 "If the Son has made you free, you will be free indeed."
27:52 Amen.
27:53 Join us next time for A Multitude of Counselors.


Revised 2018-11-26