As I listen, I have to constantly remind myself that they are speaking of “normal” relationships not abusive ones. Unfortunately, I often slip into the old habit of comparing my worst case scenario to what was meant to be a general idea.
I recently heard one that talked about the importance of fathers in the home. I believe this is true, with all my heart.
However, the oft quoted bit of wisdom about husbands loving their wives has become a thorn. “A father can give his children no greater gift than to love their mother.”
This is true in a heathy relationship or at least one where they’re trying to be healthy.
There is little crueler than for a father to love a mother who abuses his children, the precious children he is called to protect. He doesn’t have to hate her, but he is responsible for protecting his children from her. When he fails, it is catastrophic. He teaches his children it’s okay to abuse and to be abused. Worse, he teaches them that they aren’t worth protecting or defending. He teaches them they are worthless. He teaches them that the only thing they are good for is to be used as others see fit. He may not have done the abuse, but he is as guilty for he has as surely destroyed his precious children as the woman he supported.
Yes, this works the other way as well.
Parents, if you allow your spouse to abuse your children, no amount of love on your part will ever heal the wounds. You see, you embraced the abuser and allowed them to break the plate. If a plate is thrown on the floor and broken, no amount of glue will restore it to its original condition. Giving it over to God and saying He’ll take care of it is selfish and lazy. You’ve abdicated your responsibility. God will hold you accountable as much for your action as for your inaction.
Being a parent is a sacred responsibility. Yes, mistakes are made. The question is do you allow it to slide or do you do your best to right it? Paying the child for enduring the abuse is not righting it. Expecting the child to find their own healing in God is not righting it.
Fortunately, God often does provide a way for healing for the child, but that does not let the parent off the hook. It means God provides a way. It means God knows how to counteract evil. It doesn’t elevate the evil and make it good. Evil is evil. It means God wins over evil, no matter what.
The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable. Be willing to be miserable or choose to remain enslaved to the lies.
I’ve heard more sermons than I want to count about being harmless as doves. I can’t recall a single one that included the first part of that scripture. “Be wise as serpents AND harmless as doves.” I can think of only two reasons for not teaching the first part: 1. The speaker doesn’t understand the first part and so is uncomfortable teaching it. 2. The speaker does understand but is grooming victims.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of love and peace. He also taught that He would divide father against son and mother against daughter. He promised that for those who offended His little ones it would be better for a millstone (600 lb weight) to be tied around their deck and cast into the sea.
For those who preach the Gospel of love and peace without the other half, it’s because the admonition to be wise doesn’t fit their narrative. Those that are grooming victims are clever enough to remain silent about wisdom. They simply never mention it. Those who don’t understand don’t mention it because they fail to see the value.
Bible study isn’t about being pious or uber-smart. It’s about learning God’s truths so that when the adversary wraps a lie inside a truth, you know the truth so thoroughly you recognize the lie before you swallow it.
Yes, I enjoy feel-good sermons. They’re milk and cookies. I also need the warrior Jesus sermons. Life is hard. Jesus is in the muck and mire with me, battling beside me. He carries me off the battlefield, allows me to rest, restores my soul, and marches back out with me, day in and day out. No, I’m not a comfortable person to know. Life isn’t comfortable, and I’m not going to pretend like it is. Life is a daily battle for my soul, and the adversary would like nothing more than for me to give up/give in/turn aside. The Bible admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God. The only time anyone with any brains wears armor (considering how heavy and cumbersome it is) is going into battle. Pretending life is anything less is to go into battle unprepared.
I feel like I’ve been attempting to avoid the battle for weeks. The battle doesn’t go away. It doesn’t improve with avoidance. Stepping back into the fray.