I have listened to Mothers Day sermons for more than a half century. They all sound somewhat like this:
As mother has loved you, so love your neighbor. If your mother has passed on, she sits on the ramparts of heaven, praying and watching today. Won't you come forward when the music starts, while heads are bowed and no one is looking around? Come to Jesus today. You know it's what your mother wants you to do. Repent of rejecting God's unconditional love today and yield. God loves you. Your mother loves you. Come forward today.
None Now, but Everyone Later
These sermons produce tear-stained faces and lots of money in the offering plates. Who could object? None now, but everyone later! At the judgment bar of God, millions of souls robbed of a long, healthy, and prosperous life will point a finger at the pastors who taught sentimental rubbish for sound doctrine. For generations in America, pastors have taught little girls that uncritical, unconditional love is the answer to all problems. The churchmen have taught them to really, really love sincerely, as sincerely as the giant big-mama-god in the sky and everything will turn out all right.
I have spent a lifetime working with mothers, and I can assure you that a growing number of today's mothers are moral cripples. By their fruit, you can know them (Mt. 7:16). Their children come to me without any respect for authority, God or man. Their children have no fear of God before their eyes. Their children are spoiled brats full of certainty that the world will bend to their every whim . . . or else! How did they get this way?
Some women are so insane that it is dangerous to ask them to back up school discipline. They know only one course of action, to scream, "My child is good; my child doesn't lie," and on and on. They moan, "He's a good boy, I can't understand it . . . I gave that child everything. Rev. McIntyre can't do this to my good boy." I believe they really don't understand, because this has been the evil, hate-filled pattern of their lives, which has been endorsed by the modern church. Churchmen have substituted evil for good, black for white all their lives. It will take the all-knowing God to assign to mothers their share of blame. The pastor will pay for his share, and the school teacher will get his. The politicians will get theirs, each according to what he hath done (Ec. 12:14). No one will escape!
All Mothers Are Not Equal
Mothers Day seems at first glance to be a shining symbol of virtue like the Fourth of July and apple pie. Seasoned soldiers of the cross learn to test such things by Scripture, because even Satan can be an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14). At its core, Mothers Day tends to celebrate all mothers equally. However, all mothers are not equal. Christians must revere where God directs. The Bible honors the virtuous mother who keeps the commandments of God and, by inference, condemns the evil mother who does not (Pr. 31:10-31). We are commanded to judge, or discriminate, righteously. Leviticus 19:15 reads, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour." In other words, the Bible teaches that preachers must cry out, "Down with bad mothers and up with good mothers." I wonder how many pulpits will resound with that discriminatory cry of judgment on Mothers Day? Will the message be "all good Christians love all mothers equally and unconditionally"; or will the message be "discriminate in favor of good mothers and learn from the sins of bad mothers"? One is a lesson from God; the other is the swan song of evil.
God's Love Is Always Conditional
For years, from my youth up, I heard that mother's unconditional love was God's love. My mother, on the other hand, punished me when I broke the commandments and rewarded me with love and privilege when I kept the law of God. She was very judgmental and extremely discriminatory. I learned early what deeds would bring a kiss and which a smack with the rod of authority. Her love was conditional, not unconditional. My mother was a godly woman. My father didn't marry a permissive, gushy, evil woman who screamed, "He's a good boy!" right up to the door of the gas chamber.
As a young lad, I was sure that if I turned bad, the newspaper would read, "Even his mother doesn't like him."
In other words, the evil woman who refuses to punish and reward her child according to the law of God is held up by churchmen as equal to the righteous woman of the Bible, and sometimes, I am afraid, the evil woman is held as better than the good. "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light. . . " (Is. 5:20).
Unconditional Love Is Hate!
Today with the child abuse laws, my mother could have been arrested, and I would have ended up in a state- approved home. Our society persecutes the mother who uses the rod and spares not (Pr. 13:24), but the reversal of good for evil doesn't stop here. Our nation even honors the biological mother over the adoptive parent. For example, my local newspaper recently ran a full-page feature complete with photos of a tearful reunion of an adopted adult woman being united with her biological mother. The story was full of sympathy for the biological mother and how brave and virtuous she was to handle her "difficult" situation. I would agree that the parent who offers a child for adoption should be honored above the parent who aborts her child, but that idea appeared nowhere in the article nor did any praise for the parents who reared this adopted (saved from abortion) woman. The Bible, on the other hand, honors the parents who invest their lives in providing years of training and provision in the fear of God. Our modern trend to allow adopted children to track down the biological mother after they are adults, I suspect, is causing some pregnant, out-of-wedlock women to reject adoption as an alternative to abortion.
The pastor who will be rewarded by the God of the Bible must teach, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Ex. 20:12). The adult must honor his parents according to the standard of the commandments and learn not to repeat the errors of his parents. The child must forgive as he wishes to be forgiven (Mt. 6:12). The greatest honor we can pay our parents is to recognize honor, to build on their Biblical success, and to learn from their mistakes. Good fathers and mothers want their children to do better than themselves. That means we must teach children to judge righteously and to love conditionally (inside the covenant). We must warn them that unconditional love is hate (outside the covenant)!
Foolish pastors have taught unconditional love as God's love and permissive, sentimental rubbish as being "godly." These pastors have a lot invested in these errors and a lot to answer for when they face the Lord Jesus Christ. "Many that be first shall be last and many that be last shall be first" (Mk. 10:31). Foolish pastors may discover they are at the bottom of the social economic pile for all of eternity. They will weep bitterly before the bar of God (Is. 33:7). Bottom feeders now; bottom feeders later unless they start teaching covenantal, Biblical love today!
- Ellsworth McIntyre