No child likes hearing the phrase: ‘Because I said so.’
This phrase can work with a child who knows, and trusts, their parents, but it is not a great response for a child who lacks relational connection to their parents.
‘Because God said so‘ can, occasionally, be an okay answer for a Christian who trusts God, but to an unbeliever it is like eating fire; likewise, to a disconnected child it is going to mean absolute rebellion.
Many children who have been abused, whether emotionally, physically, or sexually, have a hard time trusting authority. Something as simple as not spending quality time with your child (avoidance), can damage a child emotionally. If a child feels like you do not care about them, you are going to have a hard time with discipline. If you are already in this position, try to put quality time above the law for a little while and see if it makes a difference. Children who love their parents will automatically want to please them.
Understanding that, rules without relationship is a recipe for rebellion, we can start to see why unbelievers typically hate Christians. For years Christians have stated the ‘rules’ to God’s wayward children, instead of portraying His love to them. We need to rethink our outreach plans. Relationship is the most important thing to God.
A father gave his son his inheritance, to do what he wanted to with it. The son made some bad choices, and ended up remembering how good his father was. We need to be the people reminding the prodigal son how good and loving the Father is. The son already knew he was in a mess. When the son returned, the father didn’t get onto him for his bad choices, he hugged, accepted, loved, and celebrated his return.
The child without relational connection, or with damaged trust, will ask ‘Why?‘, so they can see if they can trust the reasoning. The unbeliever needs us to show God’s reasoning of why something is wrong or right. This is called teaching and gaining trust. The unbeliever is the prodigal son, and the mistrusting/damaged child. They need to know they can trust God’s rules. They need to be able to see that God’s plan for them is good. Thankfully, God tells us why. Instead of tweeting ‘Divorce is sin‘ or ‘Homosexuality is sin‘, realize that you are quoting rules to a disconnected child that will result in rebellion. Instead say ‘Divorce causes deep emotional trauma‘ or ‘Homosexuality results in disease and illness. God says it’s wrong because He doesn’t want you to be in pain.‘ God is concerned for you and deeply cares about you.
A ‘b/c I said so‘ message tells the child, I don’t care about our connection or teaching you how to make decisions for yourself. Why then are Christians still preaching sermons with a ‘b/c i said so‘ mentality toward the lost? God gives us His reasoning. He shows us why right is right, and why wrong is wrong. He wants to teach us and build relationship, not command/control us, and keep us ignorant. His first goal is to build relationships and trust. Once we trust him ‘b/c I said so‘ becomes an okay answer here and there.