Loving Your “Enemies” A Sunday Snippet

Jesus stunned His audience by saying, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

What if Jesus was speaking to an audience of adults with divorced parents?
Maybe He would have said something like this:
Because of your hurt from your parents’ divorce, you love those who love you and hate those who’ve hurt you. But I say to you,

girl releasing balloon mural-1347673_1920 pixabay

Pixabay

 Love your mother who left the family for a coworker,
 Bless the woman that “stole” your father from your family,
 Do good to the stepparent who never treated you as one of the               family,
 Pray for the judge that put you with Dad when you wanted to be           with Mom, 
 Do this that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
 
Love them? You don’t understand!!
I’ve heard of enough stories and talked to enough frustrated, hurt, disillusioned, and apathetic-toward-their-family adult children of divorce to understand this sentiment. Also, as one with divorced parents, I, too, have periodic struggles. But Jesus was speaking to an audience whose “enemy” was the Roman government. One that abused people, killed them at will, and regularly took advantage of them. A few years after Jesus’ crucifixion and raising from the dead, Romans were literally feeding Christ-followers to the lions to be killed. So, Jesus’ audience would also say, “Love them? You don’t understand!!”

Love covers a multitude of sins
We are often unlovable, yet God loves us. God showed his great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). With so great a love available to you and me, how can we hold back our love from those who wounded us? Here are some beginning steps?

christ statue in Rio-pixabay cropped817998_1920

Pixabay

  1. Accept the love and forgiveness God offers you through the sacrificial death of Jesus for your sins. The Bible says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-10,13). Click here for more information on this wonderful gift.
  2. Forgive your ‘enemies’ for their offenses against you. Easier said than done? Listen to a radio program I recorded on forgiveness when dealing with divorced parents by clicking here.
  3. Enjoy the freedom, peace, and joy that comes with obedience to God’s word.

Loving as Jesus commanded may not change your ‘enemy’, but it will certainly change you!

Advertisements

I Love You and You Love Me. Now What Happens?

by Kent Darcie

One of the major problems with parental divorce is it deprives the kids of the critical tools they need to build their own adult relationships.  Even if they resolve the issues that are caused by their parent’s divorce, they still often lack a solid model for how relationships are supposed to work. Worse, in many cases, the template they do have is a flawed caricature of a healthy relationship.

Half of the battle ACD face is becoming aware of how their parent’s divorce from childhood still impacts them. The other half is making their current relationships work. Below are audio teachings from Focus on the Family that can help strengthen marriages. These particular teachings discuss what makes men and women tick and how they can tick together better.

For the Ladies

Experiencing a Fulfilled Marriage Part 1 – Patricia Ashley

Experiencing a Fulfilled Marriage Part 2

Learning to Love Your Husband Part 1 – Shaunti Feldhahn

Learning to Love Your Husband Part 2 

Learning to Love Your Husband Part 3

For the Men

Cherish Your Wife Part 1 – Walt Naramore

Cherish Your Wife Part 2

Free Divorces. Are you Kidding?

Admittedly I waited to write this blog until this contest had expired. In August a major TV station had a news article on its website that  how struggling residents could enter a contest to win a free divorce. Given the damage divorce causes in kid’s lives, I was annoyed that a story like this even saw the light of day. However, more frustrating to me was the fact that if those who were willing to jump through the hoops to receive “a complementary uncontested divorce package”1 took that same effort to make their marriage better, their marriage probably wouldn’t be “struggling” down the road. And their kids wouldn’t likely end up landing on the statistics pile.

If you are an adult child of divorce and you’ve had it with your marriage and you’re thinking of doing what you swore you’d never do to your kids—divorcing their mom or dad, please check out these links.Adult Children of Divorce Healing

This link is if you are at wits end and are ready to throw in the towel.

This link is if you still believe there is hope, but you don’t know where to start.

In either case, please click here to learn how your parent’s divorce is impacting you.

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

1Struggling Detroit Residents Offered Free Divorces, http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/08/17/struggling-detroit-residents-offered-free divorces/?hpt=us_bn9

“What if my parents should have divorced?” by Kent Darcie

At face value it seems like an odd question. Through a Christian lens the words seem almost blasphemous. So with the many negatives that surround a divorce and the biblical position on it, why would someone ask if their parents should have divorced? More peculiar are the two seemingly-opposite types of people that pose that question to me. One group has parents that are divorced. The other group is comprised of those whose parents are still married, but the marriage is a hollow shell of what it should be.

Typically, this query comes after I’ve finished a teaching or workshop related to the issues that impact adults with divorced parents. Afterward, when people gather to speak with me individually, there will often be a person who hovers on the fringes and waits for the group to disperse. Now that they’ve heard me discuss the problems that adult children of divorce face, this secret but burning question is forced to the surface. And with lowered voice and an almost apologetic tone it comes, “What if my parents should have divorced?”divorced parents fighting

True Feelings Finally Come Out

Interestingly, once it’s out and the burden is momentarily lifted, statements start flowing like water through a broken dam.  “They were polar opposites.” “I don’t see how they made it as far as they did.” “They hate each other.” “They married too young.” “They were really different people.” “Dad drank and got mean when he drank.” “They never should have had kids.” “Mom had serious issues.” “Sure, they say they’ll never divorce, but they have no marriage.”

The tone of voice varies from person to person, but the tone of their eyes is the same. Behind the color of the iris is the reflection of a soul that bears deep regret. It’s back there that the what could-have-been’s, what should-have-been’s, and unanswered questions live.  It’s there that the search for good memories—any good memories—continues with few, if any, results.

The pain is palpable, but I’ve learned that their initial inquiry subtlety masks the real question. The person with divorced parents is really asking, “Am I better off because my dysfunctional parent’s got divorced?”  The one whose parents didn’t divorce is actually asking, “Would I be better if my dysfunctional parents had divorced?”

And the Answer is…

Unfortunately, the answers vary as much as the people who ask them. However, there is a basic trend that is noteworthy. Research, like that found in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith Wallerstein, indicates that unlike divorced families, troubled intact families still tend to come together during life’s critical events. Weddings, funerals, graduations, or even times around a serious illness can become calm waters in the troubled family’s normally boisterous sea of daily life. There might be cloudy and stormy skies for weeks and months at a time in a home with dysfunctional parents, but shafts of warm, life-giving sunshine can press through during these special or traumatic times.

While this “advantage” may seem slight to those who have survived the toxic atmosphere of the divorce or non-divorce, it can be significant. Let’s use a grandchild’s birth as an example. It can bring joyous celebration in an unhealthy intact family—even if just for a short time. And this type of family will still indulge in the new baby joy-filled pie with many forks simultaneously (in-laws, extended family, etc). Conversely, a divorced family can mar the same event as conflicting and competing family splinters not only try to grab as big a piece as possible, but may attempt to deny others a taste as well.

Admittedly, when I speak with those bravest enough to ask and share this perspective, the glimmer of hope in their eyes seems slight and fleeting. Dealing with parental divorce can be a rough ride even in the best situations. The ride in the “should have divorced” household may not seem much better. In either case, “What if my parents should have divorced?” is a heart-wrenching question. But at this point in our lives, the key to healing is not found in the answer to this question. It’s found in taking intentional steps to deal with the damage that has resulted from either the divorce or non-divorce.

adult child of divorce praying to GodDealing With the Real Issue

The first step is to share how you felt, or still feel about your parent’s divorce with God in prayer. The pain, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and everything else is all fair game.  “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.”1 And don’t be afraid to share how you really feel. The psalmist wrote, “I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all my troubles. For I am overwhelmed, and You alone know the way I should turn.”2

Next, learn more about how your parent’s divorce is impacting you by checking out the helpful books, videos, articles, and links that are available on this website.

Finally, enlist your spouse, a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor to walk with you as you start the healing process. You may think you want to do this on your own, but outside counsel is important for the objective and educated insights that will be necessary to help you heal. And healing greatly lessens your own chances of divorce and your kids asking, “What if my parent’s should have divorced?”

11 Peter 5:7 NLT 
2Psalms 142:2-3 NLT