On the ride home from Pastor Cortez’ office, Edna was upset, with conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, she realized Cortez was right, and that the children’s—not just her son’s—emotional and mental well-being was likely being damaged by their father’s working overseas. Besides that, she was starting to worry that her marriage might be in danger, as she heard many stories about spouses having affairs when working overseas. (In Korea and other countries male and female factory workers often stay in dorms together.) On the other hand, she realized that she enjoyed the remittances her husband was sending home, which were going to help them build a nice addition onto their house, and add to the savings account for her kids’ future education.. “I think I’m between a rock and a hard place” she muttered, “but I have to pray about it.”
At her next appointment, she talked with Cortez frankly about her dilemma. “I understand,” he said. “You’re trained to be a teacher, right? (She nods.) Well, when I took ed psych I learned about “cognitive dissonance”—believing, or wrestling with, two contradictory truths at the same time. No wonder you were upset last week on the way home, but I’m glad you prayed about it. Tell me, what do you think God was telling you, if you had some kind of answer?”
“I’m not sure, but I think God’s been telling me we need to do something different. At least talk about the situation, so I’m going to have a long talk with my husband when he comes home next week for his Christmas vacation.”
“I’m glad,” says Cortez. “Please bring him along for your next appointment, OK?” “I’ll try, Pastor.”
“Good. Try to bring your son, too. I know I’m not a trained family therapist, but I want to see how some scriptures can help your family. For instance, Proverbs 1: 7: – 9 reads: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
“Notice the interrelated ideas: We need to fear the Lord—meaning to say, take Him seriously, as that is the path to true knowledge and wisdom. We want our children to know and follow this, of course, and as I’ve pointed out, it is the parents’ responsibility to impart this, by word and example. Fathers, primarily, but mothers too. Notice in this passage both father and mother are involved, to such a degree that the lessons become like a garland—a ring of flowers—on the head and a decorative chain about the neck of a son. In other words, internalized so well they’re almost like the psalmist’s saying, I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119: 14). Most of all, we want to introduce our children to Jesus’ kingdom of love, for ‘love is the fulfillment of the law.’ (Ro. 13: 10) Love is the opposite of sin.”
After more discussion, and a prayer, Cortez says, “See y’all next week, OK?” “Thanks, Pastor, g’bye.”