Ask Your Preacher
I belong to a rather large family. Like with many families, my family has the 'A' side and the 'B' side. In other words, one part of the family thinks very little of the other part of the family. I happen to be on the 'B' side, the one that is looked down upon. The 'A' side has begun organizing a family reunion. Experience has taught me that they take our kindness for weakness. They have us bring an obscene amount of food each event, they bring little or nothing, and then they dictate how the food will be disbursed. There is always conflict. I know this all sounds silly, but I would like to avoid the foolishness this year. Would it be wrong of me (in the eyes of God) to send my portion to the reunion, but not attend?
Fed Up… But Hungry
Dear Fed Up… But Hungry,
Whether or not you go to your family reunion is a matter of preference and wisdom, but it isn’t a sin issue. God tells us that we must honor our father and mother (Eph 6:2), but that requirement does not extend to the rest of your relatives. You must always be kind and decent to everyone (1 Thess 3:12), but that doesn’t mean you need to go to every shindig that your family puts together. Jesus recognized that family ties often are the most difficult (Matt 13:55-57). Jesus’ brothers were some of the last to believe He was the Messiah (John 7:5). There were times where even Christ had a strained relationship with his family members. The key is to be faithful to God and loving to others at all times (Matt 22:37-39). Avoid bitterness at all costs (Eph 4:31) and seek to prayerfully do what is wise (Jas 1:5). There is no right or wrong choice in this circumstance… only right and wrong attitudes.
I have a question about "honor your father and your mother". Some parents seem to use this as a weapon when kids are not listening to their parents or misbehaving. I seem to get different meanings of what this really means. I do thank you for your time. God bless!
Dear Ain’t Misbehavin’,
Children are told to honor their father and mother at all ages (Eph 6:2-3). The word ‘honor’ means ‘to esteem highly’. Parents deserve respect and kind treatment from their offspring. As parents reach old age, children show honor by caring for their parents’ needs (Matt 15:4-6). Until independent adulthood, honoring your parents is shown through respectful obedience (Eph 6:1). No Scripture should ever be wielded “as a weapon”, but regardless of how the verse is used, that is what it means.
My mother is very religious, and she and her husband (not my father) claim to live their lives according to the Bible, which is wonderful. However, I have a couple of questions regarding her faith. I am forty-eight-years-old, and my father just died last year (my parents have been divorced since I was around ten years old). Two days before my father died, he told me that he was not my biological father. I had no idea and was in absolute shock. Because of the trauma of losing my father, I was not able to focus on what he had told me and not able to ask him questions. When I asked my mother, after my father died, to tell me who my biological father was, she told me that it was not necessary that I know... THAT IT DIDN'T MATTER... and that she came to this decision by praying to God. I can't believe that God would want me to suffer the way I am. All I want is to know who it is... I don't want a father, and I don't want to disrupt anyone else's life. I am having trouble believing that God really operates this way. I am a nice person, and I believe in God, but I can't believe that He would want me to suffer like this. My mother is Baptist. Please let me know if you believe my mother is justified in her faith or if she is just hiding behind it. Thank you.
Who To Trust?
Dear Who To Trust,
The issues involved with finding birthparents are very emotional and sometimes painful… as you are now experiencing. We will not even pretend to handle all of the counseling issues involved with what you are dealing with; we will simply focus on answering your doctrinal question.
Whatever your mother’s intentions are (and we are sure they are sincere), praying about something doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to make the right decision. Whether or not your parents would talk to you about your birthfather is an issue of wisdom, not doctrine. If your mother believes that God spoke to her directly – she is wrong. God doesn’t speak through visions and prophecy anymore (read “I Dreamed A Dream” for further details).
Just because your mother prayed for wisdom doesn’t mean that she did what was wise. People make mistakes all the time, and this may, or may not, be an example of bad judgment.
I'm not sure what started it, but I have a huge family of twelve aunts and uncles with twenty-six of us grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, to boot. The only existing grandmother all of us have from this side of the family is eighty-five and was living with my uncle, but his wife and my grandmother came to a verbal shootout a few weeks ago, and now half of the family is divided between Granny and my uncle. It's becoming really petty and hateful. Is there a Bible verse that can sum up what everyone should realize, so they will just stop being hateful to each other?
Out On A Limb
Dear Out On A Limb,
Family disputes are always difficult. Here are some verses to remember and share with others:
- God tells us that we are blessed if we are peacemakers (Matt 5:9).
- When we sow peace in our lives, we get righteousness and peace back (Jas 3:18).
- Christ tells us to be at peace with others “as much as it depends on us” (Rom 12:18).
- Peace with others doesn’t come naturally; it must be pursued. Peace takes work (Heb 12:14).
- The ‘golden rule’ is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt 7:12).
- The whole Bible stands upon two commands. “Love the Lord” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-40).
Hopefully, some of these verses will help arm you to wage peace in your family.
I know the Bible tells us to respect our parents. In my case, it would be my mother. Ever since I can remember, my mother has always said or done mean things to me. I am now forty-six, and she still says untruthful things about me to anyone who listens. I am currently trying to do what is right as a christian. She has done something recently, and I have come to the conclusion that I need to separate myself from her. Is it okay to remove myself from her completely? I have not had peace for many years concerning this issue. She is always saying, "Honor your mother", but she did not do the same for her mother. I love my mother and give her as much respect as I possibly can, but now at the age of forty-six, I think I need to remove myself from this situation… which means removing myself from her. I have been hurt so much by her behavior. Please advise.
Where in the Bible does it say you must stay with your immediate family even though they are not good for you?
Wanting To Do What Is Right By My Family
Dear Wanting To Do What Is Right By My Family,
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that you have to stay with your immediate family even if they are bad for you. The Bible says that Christianity will create division in many families (Matt 10:35-37). The Bible also says that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33). The Scriptures are clear that we must honor our parents (Eph 6:2), but honor is not the same as staying in an unhealthy family arrangement. ‘Honor’ means ‘to esteem highly’. We honor our parents by treating them respectfully, regardless of their behavior. As long as you are a minor, you are under the supervision of your parents and must abide by their decisions (Col 3:20). However, once we reach adulthood (forty-six would count), we must make our own moral decisions and choices (Php 2:12). Using wisdom (and prayer), you will have to decide what level of closeness and distance is appropriate with your mother.