As I have been working on ‘Right Relations’, I look at what I have gotten down so far as a jumbled mess. It is chaotic and out of order, not at all how I like to write, and I also don’t like to share my work until it is complete and polished but that is not how this project is being done. It is reminding me of how life is. It is not perfect or polished, and even in the lives of those you see who seem to live such perfect and neat lives, if you were to look behind the closed doors you might be surprised by what you find. Life is filled with ups and downs and unexpected turns and twists. Life is messy, but it is also wonderful and filled with some wonderful surprises. I am grateful for you taking the time to read my messy little project and for those of you who leave your comments. I have so much work left to do, and I hope that you enjoy the ride. God bless you.
Well here is the next piece in the puzzle of my project Right relations. Sometime I wonder if anything I am writing makes any sense or if I am just rambling. So I hope that those of you who are taking time to read along as I continue on this journey are finding things that are helpful to you. Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as you feel inspired to do. This is a work in progress.
Family Relations/The Parent Child Relationship
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NLT)
Leviticus 19:3 “Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NIV)
These are only 3 verses on how children must act towards their parents, yet they show the importance of the relationship between a child and their parent. Now do we stop obeying this commandment when we become adults? The answer is no. What if you parents are not good to you as you are growing up and even when you become an adult, does this mean you do not have to keep this commandment? If you read what God has instructed us to do, you will see there is nothing said about the parent’s behavior. It simply tells us to honor our mother and our father and by doing this you add to your life. Why does God care about your relationship with your earthly parents? It is not like you were given a choice who your mother and father would be. Yet these two people made a choice and you were conceived.
I do not know what your childhood was like. Some have loving and caring parents. Then there are those of you who did not have bad parents, they made sure you had what you needed as far as food, clothes, shelter, and other things. Yet they were gone a lot, they worked long hours to provide for your needs, but had little to no time for you. Then there are those of us who grew up in unstable and abusive homes. Maybe you were not the one getting abused, but you watched one parent hurt the other repeatedly. Your house was filled with anger, hate and fear. Some knew about the affairs their mother or father was having and this made you angry but there was nothing you could do. Then there are the ones who were raised by a single parent, which used to mean you were raised by your mother, but in today’s times you could have been raised by your father. For whatever reason they were left to raise you alone, and how much they showed you they loved you, there was still something missing.
I know I have not covered the entire list of dysfunctional childhoods, but you can see by this list that there are many reasons to question this commandment. How do you honor a parent that is neglectful, abusive, absent, selfish, and cheats to name a few character flaws some parents have?
How can you respect or honor someone you are afraid of? You may love them because they are your parent and you are desperate for them to love you back. Yet they have hurt you in ways that leave your angry or depressed and feeling worthless. You may do everything right, and never speak an angry word or ever talk back. Yet you cannot trust them. You live in fear of how they are going to hurt you, your siblings, or your other parent. Where is the honor in this?
You have been raised by your single parent. Some are so loving and do twice as much to make up for the lack of the other parent not being there that you do not doubt you are loved and that they will do anything to make you happy. You have no problem loving or respecting this parent, but what about the absent parent? The one who left you behind,. Whether it was before or after you was born. How do you respect or honor them? They haven’t been any part of your life, or they just show up on rare occasions, and you don’t have a relationship with them other than a biological one. So why do we even care about this person?
Unfortunately the actions of our parents are not controlled by us or by God. They have free will to choose how they live their lives. This does not always have a positive effect on our lives. We grew up watching how our parents treated each other and then how they treated us. If it was good it had a good effect on most of us behaved ourselves. Yet there are some that no matter how good their parents were they still acted out, hurting themselves and those around them. Why I cannot tell you. Then those who grew up in the unstable and dysfunctional homes it had an effect on the person we were. Some grew up to be exactly like our parents. We became victims to others just like our parents, or we lived angry, abusive, neglectful, selfish, with no self control. Either jumping from relationship to relationship or ending up in an abusive relationship of our own. Then others who grew up in these types of homes worked harder to get away from this life and made a good life for themselves.
So whether your home was good, loving and stable or it was broken and unstable it did affect the choices you made, and the relationships you formed. For some the effect was positive and we made the best choices and learned to live happy and productive lives, but still have difficulties trusting people, and honoring your parent may seem like it is not worth the effort.
So why is this command repeated throughout the Bible? Right now it I see it as a reflection of how we are to relate to God. He is called our Heavenly Father. Yet how we relate to our earthly parents effects how we relate to Him. Even the people who have the loving and nurturing parents can still have difficulty relating to Him. Not because they had a hard life, they had wonderful childhoods, so good they cannot see beyond their parents. Yet for a large number of us who grew up abused, abandoned, neglected, etc… we have difficulties seeing a loving Heavenly Father when we got stuck with jerks for parents. You may wonder how He could love you and stick you with parents who were going to hurt you? I cannot answer for Him but I will say He did not take away their free will, and He is not responsible for their actions. They chose how they lived and how they treated others. The other thing I want to tell you is that, no matter what you lived through, both good and bad He was always there and He still is. Which reminds me of a song that even thinking about still brings tears to my eyes? “A Sad Little Girl” Look it up and listen to it, if you have never listened to it before. It will tell you about how in the darkest time of this little girl’s life Jesus was there for her.
So how can we honor and respect our Heavenly Father when we do not honor or respect our parents here on earth? We can’t. Honoring and respecting anyone does not mean we have to be there door mat or punching bag. We do not have to allow ourselves to be abused in anyway. Like the old saying goes, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right.’ Just because they have done you wrong does not mean you have to return wrong for wrong. Some ways we can honor or respect the parents who failed at being good parents is by not speaking in hateful or hurtful words about them or to them. This does not mean you have to pretend like they never did anything to hurt you, and you can share what has been done to you because this is your testimony. Just speak the truth without hate or bitterness. For those of you who think this is impossible remember this verse.’ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I also want to let you know that I have not perfected this in my own life but I am putting in the effort, and doing as the Apostle Paul said, ‘ I have not yet finished the race but I press forward until I reach the goal.’
For me to have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father I am going to have to work on the relationships with the parents I have here. This includes the relationship with my mother who is no longer alive. Just because she is gone the relationship we had still plays a major role in my relationship with Christ.
Questions to think about;
What does honor and respect mean to you?
Do you have problems trusting people, and does this go back to your childhood?
How do you see yourself?
Are you depressed, angry, or are you happy and and at peace with yourself?
Have your need to forgive your parents?
Have you forgiven yourself?
Here is my next installment on ‘Right Relations’ this is a work in progress, but aren’t we all.
Right Relations/For Better Or Worse
Commitment is a necessary ingredient in any lasting relationship. Think about the last wedding you attended. The vows usually include,’ For better or for worse.’ (I have a poem with this same title, unfortunately it is not a pretty one, but one based on my own marriage)Meaning they are in it for the long haul. They were making a life time commitment. Unfortunately some enter marriage with an escape clause and sign a prenuptial agreement. In this case I wonder why they are bothering to get married. It is like you have one foot out the door and there is no commitment actually being made.
Family you are born into, you didn’t get the choice. Your parents did choose to get into a relationship with each other. Whether they were married or not, you came to be born. Their choice to be in whatever type of a relationship had a cause and effect. Hopefully they had a good marriage and you enjoyed happy childhood. If this is the case you probably have good and healthy relationships, if it is not you probably have difficult times with relationships like me. The list of wrong or painful relationships I will discuss later. Right now let us continue to focus on commitment.
A marriage is a commitment intended to be for life. You’re choosing to give your life to be shared with another and they are doing the same. This is the same commitment God is seeking to have with you and me. So how do we get to the place we want to make this commitment? This is what I am seeking to learn.
Relationships are not the only thing we make a commitment to. Friendships, work and church are some things we make a commitment to. When you take a job you are making a commitment to show up on time, work your scheduled hours and do the work assigned to you. Friends are people you choose to allow to get close to you. You share your life, dreams, hopes, likes and dislikes. Some last a lifetime, others grow apart and even end on a bad note. They take effort and commitment to work. You go to church, you become a member, or you serve in the ministry. These all require a commitment.
So what commitment or commitments do you need to work on?
As I am working on ‘Right Relations’, I am both learning and being tested at the same time. Why would I want to write on a subject when I have had so many failed relationships and come from a dysfunctional family( something many in this world have)? To be honest it would not have been something I would have wanted to write about. Especially since writing on relations is not a work of fiction. Am I a psychologist, psychiatrist, or even a licensed counselor? No, I am none of these things, but I am a woman who has lived through many things and made many mistakes. I have also learned from my mistakes but my greatest teacher is Christ Jesus and my Heavenly Father. He is the One who lead me to write about this. Why? Good question, if you get the answer please tell me. My thoughts are because He wants a better relationship with me and what hinders me are my earthly relations, both past and present. So here I sit writing as I look deep inside and learn from both the good and the bad relationships, from my childhood to the present. How much I will lay out for the world to see I am not sure just yet. I am letting His Spirit lead me, and to be honest so far this has been a painful journey but one I am glad I am on. So bear with me as I share what I learn. It is a mess now and as I have previously stated I normally would wait for a finished project that might need a little editing before I posted it and not share unfinished work, but just as i am under construction so is this work. God bless you and keep you safe from harm, in Jesus name, Amen.
Prayer does take commitment
“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
Your prayers make a difference!
Matthew 6:10 literally says, “Whatever You wish to have happen, let it happen immediately. As Your will is done in Heaven, so let it be done on earth.” That’s a prayer of active commitment to God’s will.
Many people don’t pray like that because they don’t understand God’s character. They think their prayers don’t matter and that God will impose His will on them no matter what they do. They tend to pray with passive resignation, indifference, or resentment.
I remember praying such a prayer. After my freshman year in college, I was in a serious auto accident. The driver lost control of the car at about seventy-five miles per hour, and it rolled several times before coming to a stop. I was thrown clear of the vehicle and ended up…
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Here is another installment on my project ‘Right Relations’, this is a major work in progress. I wanted to get this down before I lost my thoughts. Please feel free to comment and share your opinions and insights.
Communication-Key to building relationships
Communicating you would think is something we are all very good at, especially with all the social media that is available to us. Speaking does not mean you are communicating. Sometimes all we are doing is making noise. I might hear what you say but that does not mean I am listening to you. Sometimes people talk not so much to be heard but to get your attention but they are not really saying anything. Communication is a two way street, and it takes at least two people to do this. You speak while the other one listens to what you have to say. Then you need to listen to their response. You are both communicating your needs, your wants, your feelings, and maybe your thoughts and dreams. When we take the time to listen and acknowledge what the other is saying we are letting them know they are important and that you care about them. This does not mean we will agree upon everything discussed in every conversation. You do not have to agree to communicate.
What you need to communicate is trust. You want to be able to speak what you are trying to communicate without fear. If your conversation is on a personal and private subject you want to know this person you are sharing with will not take your conversation and turn what you say against you, or share it with others.
So far we have listening and trusting as two of the components of communication. Can you think of other things you need to communicate?
“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith.” Matt. 6:30
Clothes are expensive, and poor believers may be led into anxiety as to where their next suit will come from. The soles are thin; how shall we get new shoes? See how our thoughtful Lord has provided against this care. Our heavenly Father clothes the grass of the field with a splendor such as Solomon could not equal: will He not clothe His own children? We are sure He will. There may be many a patch and a darn, but raiment we shall have.
A poor minister found his clothes nearly threadbare, and so far gone that they would hardly hold together; but as a servant of the Lord he expected his Master to find him…
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And we all, with unveiled face, continuallyseeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressivelybeing transformed into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Holy Bible Amplified Version
When we accept Christ as our Savior and King, He sends the Holy Spirit to transform us from being a dirty filthy rag into a new beautiful Divine creation.
This does not mean that when we accept Christ there will be a hallelujah moment and then we can continue on as we were before.
It does mean a lifetime commitment unto His will in our lives. It means allowing Him to burn off the dross (bad habits and attitudes which hinder our relationship with Him and our maturity in our Christian walk).
Speaking from experience it is not pleasant but you will praise Him for it every day after its completion. It does not mean…
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As you see I am continuing my work on ‘Right Relations’. This is not an easy journey that I am on, but it is one that I must take if I want a better relationship with Christ. This work is far from perfect and it is very rough and it is still hard for me to believe that I am sharing this before it is finished but as I have previously mentioned I feel led to share my progress. So please don’t judge me too harshly but I do appreciate any comments you have to share. So here is my next installment.
From Family Relations to A relationship with God
Your first relationship began the day you were conceived. As God formed you in your mother’s womb, you were nourished, protected, could hear her voice and her heartbeat. You felt what she felt and she felt you growing and moving around inside of her. Some of us could not wait to get out of that womb and burst out on the scene a little early and others wanted to stay in the warm safe place we knew. The rest of us came in about the time we were due to make our exit and enter the world. Now the first face we saw was the doctor or whoever delivered us, but we were quickly placed into her welcoming arms. Then for those who had a father he would be the next to hold you.
So our first relationships we have were not by our choice we were born into this relationship of child and parent, There is one other relationship you have had since your beginning and it has been one with our Heavenly Father. We may not have known His name when we were born but He has been with you before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, and He is the One who has loved you like no other on earth. However as we grow from infancy into adult, we do not always know of Him. There are many different reasons this happens. Some are raised in homes that do not believe, and others may be raised in homes going to church but never know the love of Jesus. Then there are the broken marriages, the single parent who they themselves do not have a relationship with Christ. This list goes on and on.
Whatever type of family you grew up in does affect how you relate to God. Since He is our Heavenly Father, He is a parent. How our relationship with our earthly parents does have an initial impact on how we relate to Him. For those who were raised in good homes with parents who love God, you grew up with a healthy relationship and had a good foundation for your relationship with Him. Some had a good upbringing with little to no hardship, but God was not part of your life as you were raised and He was just a name you heard but knew nothing truly about. You may have even gone to church on Easter and Christmas. You did things as a family but He was never invited to join you. Then the rest of us who were raised in abusive or neglected we have a different history.
So what was your childhood like? Did you have a stable home with loving parents? I hope you did, but if you are reading this you probably did not. Yet you want a better relationship with God, but you do not know how to or what is keeping you from this. This book will not fix you or your relationships. I am writing this to help you find your way closer to Him. Not because I know it all, because trust me I do not. This is my journey on wanting a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ. You see He has revealed to me one of the things hindering my relationship with Him is the relationships I have had since I was born. Not only with my parents but with anyone who has been a part of my life. Each relationship affected who I was and He is transforming me into who He wants me to be. This does not mean I am a terrible person, or that I am unworthy of love. It means He wants better for me. He loved me so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for me. Just as He has done for you. We are to die for! There are some who have said they would die for you but He actually did it. If we were not worth the price He paid He would not have done it, but that is the value He placed on us. Blood, sweat, tears and finally laying down His life, He paid to redeem us. Telling us He loves us and no matter what we have done we are forgiven. He wants in our lives, and not just when the church doors are open, but to be in our lives every second of everyday. He does not want religion but a relationship with you, and not just for a day, a week, a month, or years but for eternity. Now that is commitment!
Look around and at your own life. How many broken relationships do you see? How many broken homes without any glimpse of love do you see? Yes there are good relationships and loving families, but how many of those do you see? In this world the broken and abusive homes outnumber the strong and loving ones. It is time for that to change. We cannot fix the homes of others until we allow God to fix us. He can only do this if we allow Him in and give Him charge over us. Yes that means we submit our lives to Him. I have to admit that I let Him into my life but I have not completely submitted all of me to Him. I have held back and been unwilling to give up total control of my life to Him. This is not a new revelation to me. It is something I have been struggling with for a while. I knew I need to as some say, ‘Let go, and let God’, but there has been something holding me back, and that something has been me. I recently started saying, ‘Got to get out of God’s way’. This does not mean that the enemy has not been throwing every obstacle he can in my path, but I don’t have to let what the enemy does stop me from what God wants me to do, and that is surrender. So this book is my white flag of surrender as I look at my own life and see what I have allowed to keep me for where He wants me to be, and that is right by His side.
So let’s take a look at my relationship with my parents, and you can look at your relationship with yours.
Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 22; 148, Exodus 2:1-22, 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3, Mark 9:2-13
Identity is a funny thing. We think of it as an internally generated sense of self, but in large part it is externally imposed upon us. The world’s opinion of us does not change who we are, but it does change who we are allowed to be. Take Moses, for example. As a male Hebrew infant, he was considered a potential enemy and targeted for death by the king of Egypt. When the king’s daughter pulled him from the river where his mother had set him afloat in a basket, he became part of the royal household. Scripture doesn’t say how or when he learned he was Hebrew, but by adulthood he was sympathetic to the plight of his people. After he killed an Egyptian taskmaster for beating a Hebrew, his position in Pharaoh’s house no longer mattered…
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