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Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by Eladar, Sep 16, 2001.
How does an adult child honor an abusive parent? What does it mean to honor your parent?
Assuming that the abuse is real, and not just the cavil of one smarting from corporeal punishment:
There is no honor in submitting to the real abuse of any authority when a way of escape is present. We do not honor our parents when we allow them to harm us. In fact it is more of an honor to prevent them from committing such a grievous sin. It protects their dignity.
[ September 16, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
As I said, this is about adult children who are having a hard time trying to honor an abusive parent. The abuse physical abuse is no longer there, since they are moved out. How does one honor such a parent after the damage has already been done.
By putting God's commands above personal tendencies and preference. Obedience is always expected, even amid less than desirable circumstances. To borrow a principle from the words of Christ, if you do good only to those who do good to you, what thanks do you get. It is when you do good to those who have not done good to you that obedience and love for God are truly shown.
What does that include? An apology for calling them on their abusive remarks? Just being civil to them?
Should grandchildern be allowed to be around the abusive grandparent when we're not around? What if the abuser tells us to leave our children in his care while we do something else? What kind of parents would we be if we allowed this to happen? What kind of submissive child would we be if we didn't? Is the inlaw allowed to be disrespectful to the in-laws to protect the children?
Sound off time!
No, do not allow the grandchildren to be alone with somebody who has abused you. Even if the grandparents insist, even if they flat out TELL you you MUST allow them to have some alone time with them.
You are to protect and care for your children. Leaving them alone with someone you know perfectly well has already caused harmed to one child, especially one of their own, the very one they were supposed to love and care for most in this world, what makes you think you'd not be just as responsible for anything that happened to your kid?
Children, obey your parents.
You're no longer a child.
Honor your father and your mother.
To all extremes? G-d never expects you to use good judgement and common sense?!
What does it mean to parent?
You don't have to be disrespectful to say no. A calm polite refusal works just fine. If they insist, repeating yourself with a brief reminder of exactly what happened to warrant such an adamant refusal usually will do the trick just dandy.
I am not suggesting making unwise choices with grandchildren or even yourself. Honor is an attitude and is given even if not deserved.
So then is it being civil? I have always understood honor as in doing what you are told.
Could honor then mean for an adult child 'Love'. Love doesn't require subservience.
Honor in the Word of God is tima-o (verb) from timios = valuable, i.e. objectively it would be "costly" or subjectively "honored, esteemed, precious"
Nothing about "obey". Obedience is for children; honor is for a lifetime.
And honor reflects the POSITION, not the PERSON. If you do not honor your parents, how will your children learn to honor you?
(Illustration: Honor to the Presidency as an office, not to Slick who defiled the office. Marines salutd the President, not the whoremonger.)
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tuor:
What does that include? An apology for calling them on their abusive remarks? Just being civil to them?
Should grandchildern be allowed to be around the abusive grandparent when we're not around? What if the abuser tells us to leave our children in his care while we do something else? What kind of parents would we be if we allowed this to happen? What kind of submissive child would we be if we didn't? Is the inlaw allowed to be disrespectful to the in-laws to protect the children?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
An adult can and should honor their parents in the same way that a woman is called to submit to her husband...even if he should be unsaved. In no way does God say that we should do what they ask if they are asking us to sin, and NO I wouldn't dare expose my children to danger. You can honor your parents, even if you don't allow your children to be alone with them, but there is no doubt that it should be stated very clearly to them WHY you cannot do this. It may be hard to confront a parent on this, especially if that parent has not acknowledged the abuse, but I think that you have to. Yes, do it in a respectful manner, but let them know that you love them, but more than that you love God, and that God calls you to respect them, to honor them...not BECAUSE of them or because of anything they have done to earn it, but in SPITE of them. I would make it clear to them however that you now are a parent yourself and God has placed upon you the responsibility of instructing and guiding your child. You would be remiss to place that child in the midst of this sin.
I know that it seems like it is easier for someone who is not in the midst of the situation to say what they would do, because they aren't facing it, but It does really remind me of the issue on marriage. God doesn't tell me to submit to my husband as long as he is a good husband, loving, kind and caring. He tells me to submit...period. Honestly, I don't like that all the time!, but I must do it, not out of love for my husband, but out of my love for Christ.
The bible says " Honor thy parents."
It didn't say "Honor thy parents if you feel like it, or if they haven't abused you, or if they've never said anything that hurt you."
Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
I don't think anyone has said otherwise. The question is what does honor your parents mean?
Thanks for the replies.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tuor:
I don't think anyone has said otherwise. The question is what does honor your parents mean?
Thanks for the replies.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I could be wrong Tuor (oh no, here I've gone and said that again...my husband would just love this!) but I think in terms of how do you go about honoring them...through respect, even if you don't respect their sin (which you shouldn't) you can still respect the position and authority that God has given them. I think this is where speaking respectfully, yet truthfully and biblically come into play. I think that the only way to begin it is to sit them down and explain to the person exactly what has brought you to your position of not allowing your children alone with them. I am trying to keep away from assuming that they have never made this right through repentance, but from the sound of your original post...that's kind of what I gathered. If that's the case you have every right to hold your ground. We all know that we don't know anothers heart but we have to keep in mind that true repentance is a change of heart that results in a change of action. It seems like if this person had truly repented of this then number one, you'd probably see evidence of a change and so you'd feel more comfortable and number two, they would understand your misgivings and accept it as being a consequence, one that they would be willing to do whatever it takes to help you overcome your doubts and trust them.
Like I said...it's easy for me to say, I had two loving christian parents, but that is what I hope I would do if I were faced with that.
This is Tuor's wife.
The abused one is me, not Tuor.
Our children have never been alone with my father, and at 4 years old and 1 1/2 years old, they don't even know they have a grandfather on my side. He is never mentioned, though my mom (who is still with him) comes to visit when the 2000 mile seperation allows.
My father won't even open my birthday and Father's Day cards to him until I apologize for the day I "told him off" and take back the statement that I don't want him a part of my life. I have apologized for the way that I spoke to him, the disrespect. But I still don't want him part of my life. He is too manipulative -- with guilt trips and his "I have the walkie talkie link with God and I know what HE wants of you..." moves, etc.
He has tried emotional abuse (giving gifts and taking them back when he needs some leverage) with another grandchild, so the abuse continues.
This is the story in extreme brief.
Jewish custom calls this evil (I asked a practicing Jew in the know). And as evil, there is no further requirement for contact or submission or honor. But I am a Christian, not a Jew. Jesus spoke of forgiveness. But he never spoke of being a doormat or the bull with the ring in its nose which forces it into obedience.
So.... What are my requirements as an adult child with a family of my own in regards to a physically, emotionally, verbally, spiritually abusive parent?
Marian, I really am sorry for the situation you are in with your dad. I can't even begin to imagine how much hurt, amoung all the other emotions that it has caused. Before I say anymore let me just say that I really hope you are comforted with the fact that you have the absolute most WONDERFUL father you could have...your heavenly father and I feel quite sure that he wants to be all of the things to you that your earthly father wasn't. (too bad you can't just go visit him during the holidays huh? )
Anyhow, one good thing, it doesn't sound like it presents itself too often since there is a 2,000 mile distance. It does sound like you have done everything you can to try to honor him. If he wants an apology for you "telling him off" I think you did the right thing to apologize for the way you presented it to him, but still, you remain firm on the issue itself with him. And yes, Jesus teaches forgiveness, so many times, and he goes on to imply that who are we to hold grudges or not forgive someone else when we are ourselves are guilty of much. But it doesn't seem to me like this is the problem, it seems like you are aware that forgiveness can happen in our hearts, even if the person NEVER repents. Granted, restitution will never occur in this way but we can forgive. AND forgiving does NOT in any way mean ACCEPTING. If he is continuing in this behavior, after you have done what GOd tells you to do (don't forget the part about bringing someone else with you...if you tried yourself and he didn't come to repentance, you have every right and actually you are called to bring someone else in to confront him too) but after you've done this, if he still is this way, I don't see where the bible tells you that you MUST have a personal relationship with him. You can honor him in your mind by not allowing your thoughts to dwell on the wrong he has done, try to replace those thoughts with the idea of loving him like God has loved you) I applaud you for continuing to send him cards and such...that is wonderful!!! Personally, I think you should continue to do so, even if he NEVER opens a single one. Believe it or not, you never know, the holy spirit could really get a hold of his heart by convicting him of his actions when all you continue to do is good. And think about this too, if when you are around him, you are under heavy temptation of sin, maybe you should really make sure that you limit that. Just the anger itself can be wrong in God's eyes and as you and I both know, we are sinners, saved by grace yes, but still sinners and what you described about telling him off is something that can easily happen, and more times then not, that's what someone like him will try to provoke you to do (afterall, Satan will use any means he can to get in your face) If you find that this temptation is too strong, then to me there is no dowbt in my mind, you need to remove yourself from the situation...Just make sure that you state clearly to him your position, and the fact that you have already forgiven him in your heart, even without him asking, God helped you to do that, but as long as he continues this, you cant be around him, if in the future he decides that he wants to restore that relationship, let him know that you will be right there for him, willing and waiting. Then best of all, you can be at peace with having done the right thing. He may never come to the point of repentance, I hope he does, but even if he doesn't, you can honor him, the same way we can honor parents that have died. They don't need to be physically present, a lot of it comes down to your mind, your thoughts.
More than anything though, and you may have done this already, turn to God on this. Ask him to comfort you and to give you waht you've missed from your father here on earth all this time. Talk to him as if he were here holding you in his arms, gently rocking you to sleep. He can fill that void and when it comes right down to it, he could have allowed you to have a father like that because he wanted you to need him in that way, he wanted you to come to him when you needed that comfort.
I honestly will pray for you in this, I really hope you find some peace in it!
I don't believe obeying and honoring are the same thing. . . especially as adults.
Tuor, could you have your wife email me???
Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate you, to pray for them that despitefully use you and abuse you. Is one somehow relieved from that responsibility if the enemy is a parent?
But this is easy to say.
No one simply chooses to be angry and bitter. It is the result of our sin nature. One needs the Holy Spirit to enable him to forgive and love your parents. Please don't fall prey to the old Baptist mantra that we have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion. That is simply not true. (I am not talking about the "Second Blessing" of the Pentecostal movement.)
Jesus said: "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Jesus is not talking about conversion, for those who are asking are already children. It is a good thing for one to ask his Heavenly Father for love and forgiveness and honor for his parents. God, in answer, will give him the Holy Spirit to do this.
Actually honoring your parents is less of obedience than what you speak out. Being an adult obedience to them is kind of irrelivant since you are the responsible one in your life now and not under their roof.
Our church is currently offering counseling sessons for this specific thing of healing for the grown adult regards to past wounds. A mistake we make is being angry with our parents for abuse and say I will never be like that, because that is actually going to place you into that position of doing exactly that.
Now, I'm just learning this stuff and about to go thru this healing in my own life so don't ask for any proof in particular until I actually go thru it. The reason I mentioned this is because it is a very big thing going on right now in our congregation and a lot of people are being healed from a lot of abusive situations and able to forgive and love again.
I just want to encourage you to hold on that there is hope and God does care about what you are feeling.
Sorry, let me add one thing (by the way Sue, that sounds like a great program...hope it helps!)
I think one of the biggest things here that you have to get straight in all of this is where is your heart. See, to separate yourself from him because after having biblically confronted him about it,he has still failed to repent of this behavior and/or he is continuing in it, and like I mentioned in an earlier post, the relationship is a stumbling block to you...well, I really believe that God would want you to do just that. Now, if you separate yourself from him because of the fact that he makes you angry, or because you haven't achieved forgiveness for him and...important issue here...you are feeling this way because of what he has done to you...then I don't think that GOd would endorse that. He wants you to find forgivness for this man, even though he does not deserve it, and maybe hasn't even asked for it. God DOES indeed give you the ability to do this, granted, really have to put things into perspective which is sometimes hard to do, but it can be done.
I'm going to tell you about something I recently have gone through, and believe me, it's a very sensitive issue, and I really prayed first about whether to bring it up. In bringing it up, I want to say right up front that I am not trying to paint my husband in a bad light....I think that regardless of anything...that would be wrong and it would be sinful in God's eyes. I'm actually trying to use this situation, which was terrible while happening, to show how God really can help you through this.
I'm 29 years old myself, and have three little boys 7,4 and 6 months. I have stated in earlier threads that three years ago I was diagnosed with brain cancer and told that I would be lucky if I made it for six more months. The tumor is located in the center of my brain and wraps and weaves itself throughout the brain thereby making it inoperable. Now, here I was, someone who had hardly ever been sick, and was very used to living a full and active life. My husband is VERY reserved. Must be that military background he has He wasn't the type of person to comfort or to even discuss what was going on with me. He just pretty much took the news in stride and was moving on with his life. He was brought up in a catholic home, only went to church at christmas, actually, he never, not once in his life read anything from the Bible. It was his thought that it was inspired by man. So, when I found out about the cancer, we hadn't found a church here and he wasn't too excited to look for one but finally I told him that I just couldn't deal with this alone...he agreed to go to the church we now attend...within two weeks my husband accepted the Lord. (Biggest reason I thank God every day for allowing me to have the cancer)He was eager to learn and got discipled, did a couple bible studies, everything. NEVER missed a day at church. But in terms of being a husband, nothing much changed. He had real intimacy issues (was NEVER interested...maybe twice a year) and I was really hurt. I needed him severly, and struggled with what to do. Finally, through some very good counsel I learned that I was feeling so alone and unloved because I was looking to the wrong person for that love. She told me that God wanted so badly for me to come to him, to let him comfort me and give me all that my husband wouldn't. I really struggled with that because I just didn't think it was fair...I felt like he wasn't doing his job as a husband, not based on what the bible said! It made me angry and confused that this woman was trying to tell me that I had to love him and respond lovingly to him, regardless. (Naturally, the confrontation part of this had already occured) So I didn't heed her advice and continued to feel miserable. i was bitter, angry, hurt, and all the while...dying. I was scared that this man just didn't love me and once I was gone, he wouldn't even shed a tear or try to keep me alive in sons minds. I wallowed in that for a while, every now and then I'd even go to the extreme...(trust me, this man's clothes went flying out the window many a night!...I've said before, my biggest struggle has ALWAYS been self-control!)Finally, I decided that nothing I did was working so who knows, maybe God really DID know what he was talking about. So I went back to this lady and just asked her to help me understand how to do what God wants me to do. I began turning to God and my whole relationship with did change. I would find myself sitting down during the day, and all the sudden, I'd realize I was praying and had been for a while. Here I was, talking to God, just talking, normal conversation! I learned to really enjoy the intimacy I had with God. I learned to be patient and let God work on my husband. I did whatever I could to respond properly to him in all situations. You can imagine my disheartenment when I gave birth to our third son...literally almost dying during the birth, having to be placed on life support for some time...they had to take him three months early because both of my lungs collapsed. (I'm still on oxygen, have been since January) ANyhow, I had Sam and was in and out of the hospital quite a bit. This year alone I've been in four months total. My mom came to visit and I we were talking and I told her to come to the computer so I could show her this website that my husband liked to go to...it was called politics and religion. I logged in and he saw that it was listed under "Favorites" So I clicked on it and low and behold, let me tell you...it wasn't politics and religion (well, technically, it could have involved Bill Clinton It was pornography. Hardcore stuff here! I was in shock. As I looked into the temp. internet files I found where he had been doing this for quite some time. I found evidence from at least the past year. The most hurtful was that on the night I gave birth to our son, as I was laying in the ICU, them not knowing whether I would pull through or not, instead of staying with me, he let my parents stay there and he went home. The files showed that he was on the internet viewing all of this pornography from 10:30 pm until 4 in the morning...if something had happened to me, or to our baby who was in the NICU, they wouldn't have even been able to get a hold of him. Well, I confronted him and he actually blamed it on me, said that it was my fault because I had been so sick. That really hurt because I did feel guilty. The clincher however was when I got him to admit that he had been involved in it for the past five years. Long before i ever became ill. I demanded that either he would go to pastor or I would. He wouldn't at first and yet anytime I would act normal...he seemed to get complacent and comfortable thinking "Oh, cool...I figured she'd get over it" what happened was that I did go to pastor and he told me that right now, the most important thing to remember was my response would directly affect this whole thing. He said if I get indignant and act and speak out of my hurt and anger then all that does is allow him to stop focusing on his sin and he can focus on my response and how wrong I was acting. Our pastor explained to me something that I think you can use....he said I had to learn and seek God's guidance on how to separate his sin from myself. He said I was taking my husbands sin personally...hurting and being angry at "what he had done to me" Of course I said to the pastor, well what do you expect...I think this is pretty much as personal as it gets! He's neglected me, our marriage, everything, he's left me alone during ANYTIME i have EVER needed him. The cancer, the baby. He would rather have an intimate relationship with a computer screen than with his own wife. I told him that I had struggled long enough and this was the final blow. I was tired of being with a man that didn't love me, and maybe if he had ever shown me love I could get past this eventually but that wasn't the case and I couldn't see ever forgiving him. The pastor told me that I would feel differntly if I could pray about and do something...he said I needed to look at it NOT as my husband sinning against me and hurting ME, but look at it as an area of his life where satan had taken a stronghold on him. He said this is a war between Satan and God inside your husband, right now, satan is the one with more points...he's the one being fed. He went on to say that if I could look at it strictly as something that was devouring my husbamd, something that he was causing him to be out of fellowship with God, and see it as an area where as his wife, I needed to help him, help him beat this enemy, help him restore that relationship...he said, He will NEVER be the husband God intends him to be, nonetheless anything else as long as he is continuing in his sin. To wrap it up, I had to forgive him even though at the time, he was extremly arrogant about it, continually tried to justify it, really, just didn't seem sorry at all, only sorry he got caught. So after a lot of prayer, God finally did show me how to forgive him. I truly felt it in my heart. I could now see it not as him doing something that betrayed me and hurt me, but as him doing something that was hurting him, hurting God. Something that he really needed my help in. It truly did cause me to respond differently. I was able to show kindness, yet at the same time, let him know that things were not right between us yet. (remember, he still had not repented of this) I did make it clear to him that if he chose to continue in this behavior, and of he chose NOT to get counsel from someone then, while I would not divorce him, because I didn't feel that would be right, I would insist that he leave our house until he was ready to deal with this. My pastor had told me without a doubt that the Lord intends our marriage to be "till death do you part" I couldn't allow this to cause ME to break a promise I made before God. DOn't let satan take me down too, however, he said that I also had every reason and actually as his help-meet, a necessity to put in place some accountablity for him. He said if he chooses not to repent of this sin and restore that which it has broken, then if it would be a risk to you and your children then you wouldn't be wrong to tell him to leave until he can deal with it. I certainly couldn't imagine one of my boys coming down the stairs to find their daddy doing that stuff in front of the computer so I was prepared to tell him to leave. I didn't have to though, God had dealt with his heart and one Saturday night he came and sat on the floor while I was on the couch and he took my hand and said "I need to apologize to you. I have failed as a husband, as a father, and most importantly, as a christian. He told me he had called pastor to begin counseling, and that he would do what it took to make things right again. I couldn't believe how this made me feel...I was overwhelmed...God had totally answered my prayers...Since this time, he has grown so much. He is much different. Now that this sin was brought out and dealt with, he finally has focused on being the husband he should. THe intimacy has completly changed!! (YEAH!!!) and he just seems like a kinder, more thoughtful, loving man. SOmeone I respect and admire. The thing is, I don't think it would have turned out this way had I not done what God wanted me to. The thing I really wanted to stress to you though, is what I learned through this. God can and will give you the grace to not just get over, but to FORGIVE this man, which really will free you from the burden weighing you down from HIS sin. Even though it affects you personally, it is GOD that he is sinning against. It's God's commandments that he's breaking. Look at him for what he is....this poor soul is completly ensnared in satan's trap. Satan will never give him the peace that GOd can give you...but you CAN show him God's love through your actions towards him. Let him know that it is only through God that you can show him this kindness.
I know this is long...I just can't help telling people when God answers prayer and continues to work in my life!!!