Friday, April 16, 2021

Five Minute Friday - Permission

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One word. Five minutes to write about it. This is the idea behind Five Minute Friday and this is today's free-writing post.

did you ask permission?
grant permission

I had to think for awhile about what permission actually is. I didn't check the dictionary, but here's what I realized when I thought about the situations in which someone asks for or needs permission to do something. Permission is needed to do something that is otherwise not allowed. 

My kids needed permission slips to go on trips with youth group or school groups - because normally they shouldn't be travelling without family. They asked for permission to go to a friend's place for dinner or for the weekend - because normally they would be eating and sleeping at home. When they were ready to learn how to drive, they got a learner's permit - because normally you're not allowed to drive unless you have a license. In many cases a work permit is required, giving permission to perform a certain task or be in a certain area - because under other circumstances you wouldn't be allowed access there. However, if you have a license to do something, you don't need permission - because the license means it is normally allowed or that you have been given the right.

I noticed this in the Bible as well. Israel asked for permission to travel through Edom; Nehemiah asked the king for permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls; Esther requested permission for the Jews to defend themselves against Haman's edict; Daniel asked permission to follow a diet other than the food the king had allotted; demons asked Jesus' permission to go into the herd of pigs; and Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate's permission to collect Jesus' body from the cross and bury it. None of these things were otherwise allowed. The authority that granted permission essentially granted (or denied) an exception to the law or expectation. 

So what? What did I learn? It made me think about the power I have to grant or withhold permission. I shouldn't feel guilty or selfish if I decide not to give my permission. The very fact that someone needs my permission in order to use something of mine or to do something means that it is something I am responsible for and under my authority. And I don't HAVE to give permission. Others need to respect my decision, and should also be respectful of the trust and privilege they have when I do give permission. And when that transaction goes in the other direction, I need to respect the other person's decision about giving or withholding permission for something under their authority. 

Perhaps it gives new meaning to this declaration and others like it:
Nobody can hurt me without my permission. ~Mahatma Gandhi
I don't have to allow others to dictate what I feel or think. I don't have to allow circumstances to control me. I don't have to allow harmful attitudes or thought patterns to take up residence in my life. I have a responsibility to "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." (II Corinthians 10:5) I shouldn't grant permission for sin to stick around in my heart and life. God certainly doesn't give HIS permission for that, and I shouldn't either.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
~Proverbs 4:23~
And one more reminder - the ultimate authority is God's. Nothing outside of the laws he has set up happens without his permission. God is in control. Read that again: God is in control.

Who can command things to happen without the Lord's permission? ~Lamentations 3:37
One more time to make it clear: 
God is in control.


This post is linked at Five Minute Friday for the word prompt "Permission".

This post is also linked at Inspire Me Monday.

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Annette said...

after a difficult week... THESE WORDS I needed to hear. Thank you friend.

Lesley said...

This is thought-provoking! I enjoyed reading.

Jennifer said...

I really liked your application. I don't have to grant permission...even to those attitudes or negative thoughts that quickly spiral out of control (going way past even the permission granted!!) Thanks for your thoughts and the reminder!

Carol said...

A wonderful truth! "the ultimate authority is God's. Nothing outside of the laws he has set up happens without his permission."

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