What if parents are not good to us? Some people don’t even know their parents, especially, their father.
We have the difficulty of single parent families in our society today. Often, single mothers do a heroic job looking after their children. And they do what they can to care for their children and do well at it, but I think all of them recognized that they would do much better if they had the help of a loving and helpful husband to father the children.
Because children actually need a father and a mother. And often, the the whole area of parenting is a area of trauma in people’s lives.
Parents who divorce cause big trauma to their children. Sometimes parents are killed or die of disease and children are left orphaned. This is a source of trauma and the Bible itself tells us that we should look after and care for orphans. Christians have been foremost in caring for orphans.
But even with parents who have not been good, the Bible tells us still to honour them and to care for them, and to forgive a parent who may have done wrong, and seek reconciliation if possible.
I think of my first wife Nikki. She was born to a Czech father and an English mother. The Czech father came over during the war. He came over from Czechoslovakia during the war to get away from the Nazis and married Nikki’s mother. Nikki was born and they then went back to Czechoslovakia, after the war, because he hoped that he could settle down there.
He saw the Communists were about to take over Czechoslovakia so he told Nikki’s mother, now with two children, to leave and to come back to England before 1948. When the Communist took over, he was left stuck in Czechoslovakia. He then jumped over the frontier about two years later, leaving illegally through Austria and walking his way to England.
He turned up at a little village in Nottinghamshire called Jacksdale and appeared at the house and said to Nikki: ‘I am your daddy’ in very bad English that she couldn’t really understand. And it was a very difficult relationship from that time onwards.
Then, they separated, divorced, and she had to go and visit her father every week and she said it was a traumatic experience because sometimes he was really angry and bitter, and this caused her a lot of grief in her life.
By the time Nikki reached maturity, she became a rebel and she did the thing which her father hated most of all, which was to become a pro-soviet communist. And if you know about the history of Czechoslovakia, that was the worst thing she could have done.
Nikki then became a Christian and that was when I met her, when I was in the Communist Party and she was giving out leaflets about Jesus at a demonstration. I then became a Christian and married her later on.
But what happened then was that she realized that she had to honour her father even though he’d been bad and they hadn’t been in a good relationship. Every time we went up to visit her mother, we also went to see a father who, by this time, was a lonely old man living in a bedsit in Mansfield (Nottinghamshire) and she showed him love and compassion because he was a father and she should honour him.
When we have bad relationships, we should seek reconciliation, to honour and to forgive, and try to keep this Commandment to honour your father and mother.
If you look at what’s happening with prince Harry and his parents I think that’s about the worst thing he could be doing. He’s he’s really making life much more difficult for himself and for his parents by speaking out in the way he’s doing.
Even though there were things which were done which were bad (certainly Charles cannot be seen as innocent in his adultery with Camilla and in breaking the commandment as well as the the whole breakup of the marriage which caused such suffering to them.)
But to keep dragging it out and sort of speaking it out in public like this is not what God would have him to do.
God wants us, even if there are bad things taking place in the relationships, to honour and to seek reconciliation.
This does remind us also that, of course, the breakup of families does cause trauma to to children and it’s not God’s will.
Malachi chapter 1 says:
God seeks godly offspring and divorce is one of the reasons which will cause children to rebel and not to want to follow the Lord.
In Matthew 19 Jesus says:
Amen! I should have said, by the way, that my first wife Nikki died some time ago (just in case you wonder why I’ve got a second wife).
But, praise the Lord, there’s a blessing from God on a society that honours marriage and the relationship between the husband and the wife, between parents and children.
It says in this scripture that your days may be long in the land and the Bible shows that the judgment of God is on the society that tears down this relationship; and it sees to the disintegration of society.
You can see a lot of examples of that in the Old Testament stories of family breakdown and it’s remarkable, when you look at Genesis, how many stories are actually about strife between brothers and problems within the family.
One of the problems in the Old Testament particularly, is that you have fathers with more than one wife even amongst the good guys the Bible: Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon. But it always causes trouble.
Think of Joseph and his brothers. The problem of Jacob’s children is that he had them by four different women: Leah, and Rachel and their maids Zilpah and Bilhar, and that Joseph was the firstborn son of his favorite wife, Rachel.
And so, Jacob treated Joseph favourably and he got him the coat of many colours and privileges which made his brothers jealous of him. They hated him and wanted to kill him. And the did in fact send him into slavery, then lied to their father about what had happened, they smeared Joseph’s coat with in blood and made Jacob believe that a wild animal had eaten Joseph. So that Jacob said you’ll bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.
Eventually, of course, we read about the wonderful story of the reconciliation, how the family unit is restored and Jacob is honoured. And that is actually a type of Jesus’ reconciliation with his Jewish brothers at the end of days.
Think of David and his children. David also had many wives, many sons and daughters by different women. And he committed adultery with Bathsheba. She became pregnant, then devised a ruse to get Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) to come home from the war, go to his wife to then claim that the child was Uriah’s. However, Uriah didn’t ‘play ball’ and David then had him killed.
Thus, David broke the 6th and the 7th Commandments which was followed by strife within his family. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. Absalom (Tamar’s whole brother) had Amnon killed then raised up a rebellion against David and sought to take the kingdom from him.
Thus, he broke the 5th Commandment as David had broken the 6th and 7th Commandments. resulting in ultimate dishonour, in adultery, strife between brothers, and dishonouring a father, which nearly cost David his kingdom.
So, the Bible has all sorts of ‘juicy’ stories in it if you like. But it tells you that these things happen because of not keeping God’s commandments.
David was saved by repentance and faith but this is just a sign of the disorder in the family which comes when you don’t keep God’s way.
Interestingly, the Bible tells us that children in rebellion against parents is actually a sign of a society under judgment and these verses apply very much to our society.
Isaiah chapter 3 verse 4 says:
The child will be insolent towards the elder, the base towards the honorable. Children are their oppressors. This is what’s happening in our society actually. Children are sometimes spoiled, undisciplined, not taught about the Lord, told all sorts of wrong things in the schools and in the media, and it leads to a rebellion: a rebellion against parents, rebellions against society, and it’s actually a sign of the last days.
Paul writing to Timothy said in 2 Timothy chapter 3:
A sign of the last days which includes being disobedient to parents.
Back in the 60s, before I became a Christian, I was traveling on the London Underground and I saw a sign which said exactly that. It had that verse printed on the Underground. As I read it I thought ‘that sounds like today‘, and I thought ‘what if it’s true, and what if these are the last days and Jesus is coming back, and I don’t know Him?‘
That was another one of the signs which pointed me eventually to become a Christian.
We can see that these things are happening now. And we see this breakdown of social order, family life at all levels, and even the churches sometimes contributing to it by compromising on the teachings of the Bible.
And the answer is to repent and to believe and know that God is there to help us when we do that. This reminds us also that God disciplines us and that discipline is part of the father’s role in the family.
There are certain forces in the state which are actually seeking to take away this right from fathers to discipline their children.
We should submit to the discipline of the Lord and the discipline within the family and if there’s an absent father or there’s no discipline, this is bad for the children, especially if they’re boys. Just read this words from Hebrews 12.3 where it says:
The purpose of God is to correct us and bring order into our lives, and part of the purpose of the family is also to correct children and to discipline them so that the sin within their nature may be restrained and they may come to faith in Jesus the Messiah.
These are some scriptures which speak about parents, fathers and mothers, and children.