“Your first mission field is where you live”,
yes, this is main message I’ve received from God lately… It is not a coincidence for me to be here, at this such time and place… God has His plan. After been reminded very sharply through the church retreat recently about how important it is to be salt and light first of all in my family and to build my ministry here above anywhere else, it is now all down to the practical side. Some days are easy, but are more challenging for the others. It’s easy to be ‘salt and light’ where your parents are always nice to you, do things favorable to you, and if they are really ‘a good parents’ according to your definition. But how if they didn’t?
There are many problems in my family that I cannot simply tell to all people, even to my own friends. For years I have endured the same, if not even worst, struggles. Many times I am angry toward my parents, many times I demand justice from them and my right as a daughter, to receive their full attention and love. Many times I get disappointed. Yet from the deepest of my heart, I still love them, and I believe they also do. Sometimes there is a very strong mixture of love and frustration that causes people to act in ways that may be different from what they truly feel.
Take the example of David.
When Absalom, his son, killed his half-brother as revenge for the rape of his sister, Tamar, the family began to break down pretty rapidly. David was so angry with Absalom that he fled Jerusalem to avoid his father’s wrath. Absalom spent three years in exile and had no contact with his father, David. Yet 2 Samuel 13:39 said, “The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom”. David was very angry to his son, but he actually wanted to be with him.
David finally overcame his negative feelings enough to call for his son to come home. Did David give him some big party to welcome him? No! “Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, and did not see the king’s face” (2 Sam 14:28). The king’s son is living right in the same city, and he doesn’t see his own father for two more years! Frustrated, Absalom says in v.32, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be still there. Now therefore, let me see the king’s face”. Finally, David allows Absalom to come in, “and the king kissed Absalom” (v.33)
You might think that from here everything was headed in a good direction in this father/son rship. Not so!
2 Sam 15 tells that Absalom went out and stirred trouble. He ignited a conspiracy against his own father! “And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom” (v.12). This is conspiracy of the worst kind! The son, rejected for five years but now reconciled to his father, still has so much anger in his heart that he pulled the nation away from his dad. Can you imagine King David had to flee Jerusalem because of this?!
Then when some numbers of his army said to David that they wanted to take the kingdom back, David commanded them to get the throne back and win the battle, but not to hurt Absalom! In 2 Sam 18:1-5 David said, “Don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt him”.
So, what happens? Well, the battle is fought, and Absalom is killed! What did David say?
“The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom my son, my son!’ (2 Sam 18:33).
David was very devastated! And we may think he is crazy! This is the son he wouldn’t even talk to for five years! And remember, he stole the kingdom from David! But still now he is so brokenhearted?
From here I could see through the love/hate scene between David and Absalom, there is an unbreakable bond between a father and a son, between a mother and a daughter. It is so powerful that no negative circumstance can ever break that bond (unless they choose to)!
Many times our parents or we, don’t act from what we truly feel. We love them, but we act cold, uncaring, insensitive toward them… If that cycle is to be broken, someone has to go first! Especially if our parents are unbelievers and we are at a fortunate standing position as a believer and follower of Christ, that ‘someone’ is going to be us!
I’m so surprised to just have realized, from the Ten Commandments written in the bible, only the Fifth Commandment promises us blessings if we obey what it says —> “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you”
And this is not only written in Old Testament. Paul wrote once again in Eph 6:2-3,
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother’. This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘you will live a long life, full of blessings'”
The book that I am reading currently really helps me to define what does it really mean to honor our father and mother (“Seven Words to Change Your Family… While There’s Still Time” by James MacDonald). Honoring our parents means:
1. Choosing to place great value on your relationship with them and knocking off the attitude that ‘it doesn’t matter’. It does matter. It matters to God, and it should matter to you.
2. Taking the initiative to improve the relationship in whatever increments you can
3. Recognizing that they have done some things right. You might be thinking, My parents didn’t do anything right! Your perspective is clouded, perhaps by great pain. But they did something right. If you open your heart for this truth, God will show you.
4. Acknowledging the sacrifices they have made for you.
5. Seeing them as Christ does, with compassion and mercy.
6. Forgiving them, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.
I find these definitions as W.O.W (and super challenging!)
So I have to choose to respect and honor my parents even if I don’t feel like it, because it is God’s commandment!?
And I am the one who have to take the initiative even if they won’t receive it!?
Loving them as Christ loves me even though ‘they did a lousy job’!?
Yes, the answer is YES!!!
And point no. 3 and 4 are very true; if I am what I am today, I know God’s grace has been working through the life of my parents too, enabling them to bring me up to this point of life… I am nothing without them…
Forgive my attitude, Lord… forgive my judgmental heart, my i-know-it-all attitude, my selfishness, my unforgiveness, my always-give-me-something when I should be the one to give… Because I have known the Christ’s love… Christ’s love that compels me to love them compassionately…
I declare there is NO situation able to break the bond of this family, in Jesus’ name! I believe You are working spiritually and miraculuously!
Help me to obey Your command, Lord… And to believe in Your promises if I honor my parents… “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth”… I don’t know exactly what these blessings means. Whether it’s health, wealth, safety, easier life, or relational favor with God; but I just have faith in God’s promises I will be very blessed if I obey what He tells me! Besides, obedience always bring blessings. The most rewarding one is, we can get so close to the heart of God the Father… ❤
God bless you, your parents, and your relationships with them… 🙂