Farmville Enterprise August 29, 2018
It started with a cheery proposition over the phone in March. “Let’s take a trip.” My mother offered to treat me to a vacation, just the two of us. “Where are you thinking of going?” I asked. “Well, I don’t want to go to North Korea; I don’t want to go to Venezuela.” We decided that Montreal and Quebec City would be good options- interesting and scenic but with the ease of staying in North America. Last week was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us. We are grateful that we enjoyed many conversations over delicious food and logged thousands of steps seeing the sights.
Fortunately for us our relationship always has been easy and encouraging. Generally speaking, most biological and adoptive parents are loving and nurturing. The Bible reflects this fact. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:13) “My child, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.” (Proverbs 6:20-22) “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? (Isaiah 49:15) “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:9-11)
The Bible also portrays the sad reality of far too many instances where parent-child conflicts arise causing discomfort and sometimes even destruction. Most of us know someone who suffers due to an unhealthy or even abusive parental relationship. On our trip my mom mentioned two of her close friends, now deceased, who had extremely strained relationships with their daughters. What a shame. These daughters are now left with regrets and unanswered questions.
Paul’s admonition to the church at Rome seems especially appropriate for parents and children. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) There are few relationships more important to maintain or improve than that of the parent and child. This is not always an option if one party is completely unwilling to cooperate or is toxic. Still, we should try and try again to forgive when necessary and extend grace when possible.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise- ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4) “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22) In God’s created order, family relationships are paramount. Do everything within your power to promote peace. Concerning your words and actions, leave no room for regret.