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:

No comments:

Post a Comment