The Expository Files

The Hassles of Hope

Hassle: "1. An argument or fight. 2. Trouble; bother... to bother or harass." (American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, p.#596).

Have you ever heard a teenager say, "my parents hassle me?" There are some parents who have poor attitudes toward their children and use ineffective and forbidden methods. Those guilty of this need to take seriously the words of Paul: "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged," (Col. 3:21). Mothers are to love their children and care for them with maternal gentleness (Tit. 2:4 & 1 Thess. 2:7). As parents and grandparents we must guard against taking impulsive action against our children based solely on personal irritation or nuisance.

But could it be, when teenagers complain of the "parental hassle," they simply do not want to hear or endure the wisdom and discipline their parents offer? If your mind is set on the desires of the moments and the whims of your age, you may regard virtually everything your parents say as a "hassle." Whatever they ask of you, or whatever you do that provokes a reaction, truly, you just do not want to hear from these people. They are old. They do not understand. They are paranoid. They don't want you to enjoy yourself. So regardless of what restrictions they give or with what attitude they are given, you don't want parental control at all. You regard parents as a hassle, PERIOD.

This is selfish and sinful before God. The truth is, God set up this arrangement and He tells children to obey their parents; this is right (Eph. 6:1). This is "the first commandment with promise," (Eph. 6:2). There is promise and hope in the "hassles" your parents give you. Under constant temptation and peer pressure, it may be difficult to listen to them and obey. Peers may encourage you to regard your parents as intruders, prison wardens or worse.

Now is the time to decide. Will you listen to God and your parents - or your desires and your friends? What you do about this now will have lasting consequences in life. Think of those "hassles" as hope. When you honor and listen to your parents, accepting the discipline of God they administer, there is hope for a good life as a child of God; then heaven after death.

Remember that "the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother," (Prov. 29:15). Pray for your parents. Remember that they make mistakes, but they love you and deserve your respect. Don't manipulate them or lie to them. Talk to them. Tell them you love them, and accept the hassles of hope.

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 6.3; March 1999