Relationships - Family - Parents

I come from a family where my father was relatively emotionally distant and two years ago he opted to cut himself off from my family. How long should I pursue trying to get back in touch with him or is there a point to stop beating my head against the wall?

Absolutely, the answer is “yes” to both parts of your question. There is a point at which you say, “You know what, I’m beating my head against the wall.” The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “Pursue peace with all men as much as it has to do with you.” So you have to do your part and that is to reach out to him to try to work it out with him.

But after two or three or four phone calls or letters to that effect, you’ve got to let it go. You’ve now done everything that you can possibly do so the rest is up to him. You wash your hands of it. You have to move on with life and you have to find your identity in Jesus Christ so that you’re not suffering because of your father’s neglect and his emotional distance. You have to get that from God.

You have to pray for your father and hope that he comes to his senses. But you’re right on track. Don’t beat your head up against the wall; move on with your life and let him come to his senses through prayer.

Relationships - Family - Parents

I know we need to honor our mother and father but in my situation, it's kind of hard for me to honor my mother. She really wasn't there for us when we needed her and now as grown adults, she seems to avoid us more. It's kind of hard to honor someone who mocks and persecutes you.

Well, the way you honor her is by praying for her. The way you honor her is by taking the good that she did teach you, if any, and honor that. Do those things that are good; do what you learned that was good and let go of everything else.

Send her a card. Send her a note. Pray for her. That doesn’t mean you need to stay in or pursue an ongoing relationship with somebody who mocks you or somebody who persecutes you, but you do pray for them. You bless them. Send her a gift. Send her a card monthly or a couple times a year; whatever you can do to show her that you’re not holding anything against her.

You forgive her and bless her but that doesn’t mean that you have to be in perfect relationship with her if she’s not cooperating with that or she’s contributing to negative feelings and a negative atmosphere in the relationship.

Relationships - Family - Parents

My parents say they are Christian, but sometimes their behavior doesn’t show that. If I catch them using profanity around my children and I correct them, I get accused of being judgmental.

First of all, it’s not judgmental to say to your parents, “Listen, I would prefer that you do not use profanity because it’s not good for my children.” It’s not judgmental when you want to live holy. When you have an attitude of being better than somebody else then you are being judgmental. But when you are trying to protect your kids and watch over them, that is not being judgmental at all.

Tell your parents that the Bible says we are to watch over our hearts with all diligence and you are just trying to watch over the hearts of your children. Remember to stay humble and have an attitude of humility toward others. Sometimes it’s not just what you are saying but how you are saying it. So maybe you could say, “Mom and Dad, would you please not use profanity around me or my kids because it just doesn’t build us up?” They should be sensitive to that, and if they’re not, then maybe you shouldn’t hang around them as often.

Relationships - Family - Parents

I’m seeing a man who is saved, serving faithfully in his church and praying daily. We are conducting our relationship in a godly fashion with no premarital intimacy. He is over 30, he works, he’s in college and he’s doing well. My mother will not forgive his past sins and his past troubles with the law over four years ago. Is this a reason to stop seeing him? Am I dishonoring my mother by continuing to date him?

First of all, I think that the most important thing is that we honor God and we honor God’s Word. You and your mother need to have a heart to heart talk. You need to help her to understand that it’s important that we don’t hold other people’s sins against them, but that we would be willing to investigate and be willing to examine the fruit in this man’s life to make sure that he is truly living a godly, holy lifestyle.

I want to encourage you to do that; have a talk with your mother. Let her know that you respect her. Let her know you respect her intuition and her instinct and her love for you. But also let her know that you want to give this man a chance to prove that he’s changed four years after being in trouble with the law.

I know people that had been in trouble with the law who were saved and became changed by the power of God. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man is in Christ, he’s a new creature. The old things are passed away and all things have become new.”

You’ve got to make sure that you examine the fruit and make sure there’s fruit in his life and make sure that your mother’s comfortable with the fruit in his life as well. You are under your mother’s care, it sounds like, and so you do need to honor her in that way. Talk to her and you’re going to find that she’ll understand as well.

Relationships - Family - Parents

My father is a difficult and prideful person. Can you provide some Scriptures and advice on the best way to address this situation? You indicated in one of your services that you should treat a person as if they are already acting the way you want them to. This may not be the exact wording, but can you provide insight on how a person can do this in my situation?

First of all, depending on how old you are, if your father is a difficult person, we have to remember that we all have difficult people in our lives in one realm or another. There is always going to be a difficult person in your life if only yourself. You may be the most difficult person in your life.

Here’s how you handle difficult people: pray for them; pray that God would bless them; pray that God would ease the pain in their life that is causing them to be difficult.

Number two, communicate with them. If it’s a father or a close relationship like that, sit down with them and say, “Listen, can we talk about how I can show you better respect? How can I demonstrate my love for you in a better manner? How can we get along better?” You know, you have to communicate.

So number one, pray. Number two, communicate. Number three, give a gift. Sow a gift into that person’s life. Sow a seed into that difficult person’s life. Whether that gift is a monetary gift or flowers or a tie or whatever, give them a gift. These are the things I would do with a difficult person.

Number four, the Bible says in Romans chapter 12, “As much as it has to do with you, be at peace with all men.” So, you need to be sure that you are at peace with him as much as you can control. You can’t control him but you can control yourself so that’s what you need to focus on. Control yourself. Deal with yourself. Don’t worry about controlling him or fixing him. Love him. Follow those steps though.

But those are the Scriptures that I would encourage you to follow. Pray according to Matthew chapter 5. Sit down and communicate according to Ephesians chapter 4. Sow a seed and be a blessing according to Proverbs chapter 11. The Bible says, “He who waters will himself be watered.” Then, number four; be at peace with all men as much as it has to do with you, Romans chapter 12. You have to make sure that your heart is right in the situation whether his heart is right or not, whether he does the right thing or not. You make sure you do as much as you can control and then cast the care of his attitude or his difficulty upon the Lord.

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