Saturday, May 12, 2012


This is part 2.  Part 1 can be found at:

Here's how:

You will be tempted to concentrate on the ways your parent failed you. Train your mind to focus on how Jesus fills the gap. Psalm 27:10 "My father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in."

Look for the ways God changes and uses you when you feel short-changed.

Dwell on anything positive that you can. If you can't find redeeming qualities in your parent, think of what God can/is doing in your life in spite of them.

You are not responsible for your parent, you are responsible for your responses. Accept that you can not change them, and allow God to change you for His glory.

Not only it is okay to be angry, there are times when we SHOULD be angry. The bible says to "be angry and do not sin." When you choose to forgive, you release your parents from having power over you. You release them into the hand of God. If you continue to dwell on your parents' mistakes, you will continue to make more of your own. Only keep specifics in mind for the purpose of learning from them and not repeating the same sin patterns, or for being able to sympathize with the plight of others.

Do not be decieving. Do be discerning. Use discretion and not deciet when communicating.(Jonathan to Saul-- 1 Kings 14:1, 19:1-7, 20) Saul was one who would go into extreme moods and mental states, similar to bi-polar or manic depression. There were times that his son Jonathan withheld information from his father, not to punish, but to protect either the kingdom or his friend David. There are times when one has to seperate from parents, but keep protection and reconciliation in mind.

Don't give your parents a reason to disqualify you. 1 Timothy 4:12

While you can observe your parents' actions, don't judge your parents' motives. Seek to understand them.
Don't try to be your parent's Savior. Do pray for favor so you can point them to the Savior.

Do NOT rebel. Resolve yourself to learning how to navigate bad or imperfect authority. One day, you may have to be under other authorities that you do not agree with: spouse, boss, pastor, politician, etc

Extend the mercy to your parent that God has extended to you. (Matt 18:21-35) Your parent may not deserve mercy from you, but neither do you deserve it from a perfect Heavenly Father.  You are able to give back not what others have given to you, but what God has given to you.

If your parents are too protective, remember they are seeing the most negative outcome while you are seeing the most positive. --Arliss Dickerson

Learn the Art of negotiation: Agree..Address..Alternatives. Agree to see things from their point of view, address the problem, and find alternate solutions.

Accept it if you can't connect on a heart level with your parent. Try to connect on SOME level--even if it's surface conversation.

Obey the Lord; submit (yield) to parents who still have authority over you. You have to master the Bible to know when you your parent's commands contradict your Heavenly Father's commands.

Seek to honor your parents, even when you can't or shouldn't obey them. It is the only commandment with a promise of blessing. (Ex 20:12, Deut. 5:16, 1 kings 14:43-45).

Honor their position even if you can't respect the person.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Help! My Parents are Crazy!

I hope you are among the many who celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.   But for some of you, the day comes with bitter emotion and mixed feelings.  It is very hard to honor a parent that you don’t find to be an honorable person.   If you are frustrated with your mother or father, you won’t find much sound biblical teaching on the matter.  If you think you have a crazy parent, you are not alone, even though you may often feel like it.  Strained parent/child relationships are one of the top reasons young adults find themselves in a counselor or minister’s office seeking spiritual help.
Can we, as the Church, admit that not every mother or father did their best job as a parent?  Could some parents actually mean harm to their children, whether directly or indirectly?  I want to take an honest look at some not-so-looked-at passages in the Bible and help those of you who have been deeply hurt by one or both parents.
Let’s look at the craziest parent ever mentioned in the Bible.  2 Chronicles 33:1-9 tells the story of the evil king Manasseh, who ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years.  This king built all kinds of alters and temples to false gods as he worshiped both things that God created and evil spirits. The most horrific act is stated in verse 6: “[Manasseh] sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom…”  A father, created to protect his children, literally burned them as a sacrifice to the Baals.
You see, when a father worships Jesus, he will sacrifice himself for his children.  But when a father like Manasseh worships other gods, he will sacrifice his children for his god.  The problem in parent/child relationships isn’t necessarily the parent.  Neither is the problem with the victimized child.  There lies within this conflict a worship problem resulting in sin.
Maybe you’ve never seen a parent burn his or her child alive.  Our alters are made of different materials, our gods harder to identify.    If the parent’s  idol is money, the child is sacrificed at the job alter and neglected by the work-a-holic.  If the parent’s idol is sex, the child may very well be the victim of sexual abuse or rape.  If the parent’s idol is control, the child is left with the blows of anger or manipulation.  If the parent’s idol is soothed by alcohol or drugs, the child gets to experience neglect, abuse, etc.   When the parent idolizes a favored child like Jacob did to Joseph, the rest of the siblings are lacking in the love, tenderness, and acceptance that a parent it supposed to give.  When one’s idol is wrapped up in security and safety, the result is a controlling, over-protective parent.  It would take pages to list all the idols.  They come in many forms, in obvious and subtle ways, but all leave feelings of hurt and temptations towards all kinds of bitterness and malice.
Understand that anger, abuse, neglect, extreme work habits, misunderstanding, divorce, manipulation, & jealousy are NEVER the problem.   These are the tragic symptoms of at least one parent’s worship problem.
What should you do if your parent has sinned against you?  Look at what God does with Manasseh.  In 2 Chronicles 33:10-13, the Lord Himself brings punishment to this evil king.  God uses an army to attack Manasseh and take him prisoner, humiliating him to the point of distress.  It just so happens that this is when Manasseh finally cried out the Lord and changed his ways.
I know it’s hard, but you have to let God punish your parents for their sin. He is the only one that can make a person repent.  He is the only blameless judge and His justice is better than yours.  You are not allowed to be the judge, lawyer, or executioner for your parents.  You are not allowed to wallow in bitterness.  You can pray that your parent meets the Lord BEFORE he or she dies.  Either way your parent is responsible to God for his or her actions.
You have a choice to make.  Will you follow in the ways of your earthly father like Manasseh’s son Amon?   “[Amon] did evil in the eyes of the Lord…But unlike his father Manasseh, [Amon] did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt.” (2 Chron 33:22, 23)   Will you continue patterns of control, anger, resentment, pride, and the like?
Or will you be like Josiah, Manasseh’s other son, who followed the way of the Lord?  As young as eight years old, Josiah sought God, made wise decisions, and CLEANED HOUSE!  When Josiah became king, he purified the land and repaired the temple of the Lord. ( 2 Chronicles 34:1-3, 8)  Josiah is an inspiration, a young man who rebuilt what wicked men tore down, repaired the damage done by his ancestors, and experienced the Lord’s mercy in ways no one else in his family did.
Your parents can make you struggle, but they can not make you sin.  Even if you find it hard to honor your earthly parent, make it a point to forgive and walk in new ways--thereby honoring your Heavenly Father.

For more practical help:  see part 2:

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Secret to Freedom

Guilt was once my close friend.  Worry was a constant companion.  Depression was once my enemy that would rarely leave my company. 

I can honestly say that I've waved goodbye to those emotions.  Or at least, if they come to visit me, they are not welcome for very long.  It almost feels prideful to say.  I have never wanted to act like I have it together, because Lord knows I don't.  But by God's grace I am not falling apart. 

I once made statements all the time like: " I am not ______."   or " I didn't _______."  I feared failure the most.  If women will listen to the statements that come out of their mouth, most will recognize these sentences that start with the word "I".  And that is the problem.  It is self-focus.  They are holding to some standard that comes from themselves, others' expectations, or even the Bible.  Yes, the Bible tells us the law that should be followed.  The law was given to show that we can not fully follow it.  The law is a guideline, but not our friend.

I replaced those statements with "Jesus is _________." and "Jesus did ________".  I have trained my mind to stop making "I" statements and focus on "Jesus" statements. This miraculous thing happened:  I started forgetting about myself.  I laughed at my weaknesses.  I looked at my sin square in the face and owned it.  Peace started replacing my fear of failure.  I started being okay with "not being good enough," because Jesus is good enough.

Here are some more examples:

"I can't finish anything."                           
"Jesus said on the cross that 'it is finished'."
"I need to get it together."                    
"Jesus holds it all together."
"I can't believe I did that."                   
"Jesus believed I would do that, so He died for it. I believe in Him."
"I am not a good mother."                        
"God is the perfect Father."
"I failed."                                                
"Jesus succeeded."
"I can't do all that."                                  
"Jesus did everything that needed to be done."

I believe that if you practice these statements habitually, you will find that the solution for the Christian is never "try harder".  It is "train longer".  Train your mind to put off the old way of thinking and put on the new.