Are you stubborn? Were you a stubborn child? I think I will take the 5th amendment on this one; of course that tells you all you need to know doesn’t it?
Suppose someone has a very stubborn son. He doesn’t obey his father and mother. And he won’t listen to them when they try to correct him. Then his parents will take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They will say to the elders, “This son of ours is very stubborn. He won’t obey us. He wastes his money. He’s always getting drunk.” Then all of the people in his town will put him to death by throwing stones at him. Get rid of that evil person. All of the people of Israel will hear about it. And they will be afraid to disobey their parents.
Suppose a man is put to death for a crime that is worthy of death. And a pole is stuck through his body and set up where people can see it. Then you must not leave the body on the pole all night. Make sure you bury it that same day. Everyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not make the land “unclean.” The LORD your God is giving it to you as your own.
(Deuteronomy 21:22-23 ESV)
This is one of those statements that sends us up the wall asking, what? Are you serious? Take the stubborn son out and execute him? The drunkard son gets put to death? And then hang the body out to remind people what the price of disobeying parents could be? Just don’t leave it out all night; bury it before dark. Of course it isn’t just that this son disobeys once in a while (you didn’t make up your bed? Off with your head!) but that his whole life has become rebellion, with rejection of all his families values, refusal to listen to correction, a profligate and drunken life of excess that is destroying the family; it is evil behavior in God’s eyes. And the answer is get rid of that evil person. Do it publicly to teach the danger of such a lifestyle. I’m glad the new covenant in Jesus doesn’t send us out with rocks, but I think we still run into times when we simply cannot permit one person to destroy with selfish behavior the rest of the family. And it will hurt if you have to do such a drastic thing to preserve good in the family. It will hurt to know a child has taken a path that you cannot walk down, and you must not let the family go that way. But if you must walk through such a time, do remember the prodigal son, and the father who let the son go, but never stopped looking for the son to come to his senses and come home.
Lord for those painful moments, give us your peace to sustain our hearts, your strength to do what we must and your understanding to know how to speak and act.