May 8, 2013

Respectfully fighting with my parents

A few days ago, i called my father to talk about some family matters.He was excited to talk to me as always but our conversation quickly changed from a calm and peaceful tone to a noisy and yelling tone. In the course of our discussion about the particular issue that we are dealing with as a family, he got angry when i tried to give my opinion concerning the issue.

Like my father, i am strong willed and very opinionated and i do not hesitate to let my feelings out. So it is therefore never a good idea for two-like-minded individuals to get into such heated argument as each feels their reasoning is the best and their point of view should be taken.I have had disagreements with my father growing up but none was ever as heated as this recent one.

One thing i had never realized my dad disliked most until he said it last week, was being challenged and i only realized it after our conversation that,that was the common denominator in all of the fights i have had with him over the years. It is not like i enjoy challenging him but i always called him out if i didn't feel good about something he said or did.

As an African, it is rare to hear of kids challenging their parents or even getting into fights with their parents in the first place, but i guess that is why i have always been different too growing up.Though this is not only peculiar with African parents,it is a norm for  most African parents if not all to feel always that they know better than their kids.Their justification of that knowledge is stringent on their experiences as parents, raising the kids and longevity on earth which has given them wisdom as they mostly feel, to know better than the kids.

My dad was so infuriated that he said he didn't want to talk to me for a year. After talking to my mother, she asked me to call him and apologize to which i was adamant at first. I told her, i wasn't rude to him, all i did was state my opinion. She insisted that i call him and ask for forgiveness lest i incur a curse from him by mouth out of anger.

Mom has always been the voice of reason between both of us and i didn't want to disappoint her, so i went ahead and called dad and we smoothed every thing out. It wasn't until later that evening that i realized that though i was right in stating my opinion to dad, mom was equally right to suggest that  i apologize to him regardless.

Colossians 3:20 reads 'Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.'. I might have been right in stating my opinion to dad but i had to obey mom when she said for the sake of peace, i should apologize to dad. A lot of times, we get caught up with the emotions and while we may be right in our opinion and point of view, we need to realize that just contradicting our parents hurts them, especially when they feel that their years on earth have given them enough wisdom to deal with situations. It is also very helpful to have that voice of reason, in my case mom to calm every one down and bring you back to reality, to Christian values of obedience, honor and respect.

Exodus 20:12 reads  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.". From this verse,our longevity on earth is hinged on how well we honor our parents. We should not only honor our parents when the relationship or the conversations are good. Even when fight, we should still honor our parents. We live in a very realistic world and being human, we are all bound to have disagreements with our parents every now and then,but as Christians who are filled with God's love and word, we can respectfully disagree with our parents, obeying them even as we fight.

For Proverbs 23:22 says 'Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old'.  and Proverbs 20:20 reads 'If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness'. Non-Bible believing people have said after reading the second passage that God would be a mean God if a child is killed because he cursed his parents. I disagree with that. We have already seen how God tells us to honor our parents with the promise of long days on earth and also to please him. And Bible-believing Christians know all too well of God's love for his children, therefore, how can he harm us when we fail to please him by honoring our parents. What cursing our parents will do to us is remove the divine grace,mercy and compassion of God from us and especially, his holy spirit will depart from us and that to me, is worse than death.

I could not imagine myself living without the grace,mercy and compassion of God or for his Holy spirit to leave me. I am here, i am where i am because his grace found me in my time of need,his mercy pardoned my transgressions including my irrational fights with my parents sometimes and compassion gave me another chance to make it right but mostly, His Holy spirit guided me through it all. If we understand as Christians that we would all die someday in other to be with the Father, then truly death for cursing or disrespecting our parents is nothing compared to living without all of God's divinity.

In the same vain as we obey our parents, they are equally not to provoke their children to anger for Ephesians 6:1-4 says  'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.'. Verse 4 is a guide for parents to raise their kids up in the way of the Lord with discipline and not take advantage of the fact that they are our parents to anger us or teach us otherwise. Some kids grow up to find the way to God for themselves while other parents lead their kids to God. If any parent,Christian or not angers their kids whether intentionally or unintentionally,it is the responsibility of that child who walks in the light of God therefore to humble themselves as the younger ones because our parents gave us life and not the other way round.

As children to our parents and to God, we have to be humble always. In the argument i had with dad, my opinion concerning the issue was correct but dad didn't like it because in stating it to him, i gave him hard facts with examples that he had witnessed. I don't think he got mad at me because i stated my opinion but because he knew i told him the truth, and he didn't want to hear that hard bitter truth from me. I was his daughter,his child,he gave birth to me and i should listen to him and not the other way round. So it is understandable that he got frustrated to the point of not wanting to talk to me anymore.

But like mom told me, i had to apologize for the sake of peace. My human self was stubborn at first but when moved away from the situation, i saw reason with mom.It wasn't until later when i stumbled upon the words of 1 Peter 5:5-6 which says 'Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,'. I was the child, i was the younger one and so i had to be the one to humble myself in asking for forgiveness from my father for challenging him. And what would you know,God exalted me because my father ended up going with my approach in the issue.

We are humans and what sets us apart from the other animals of the earth is the fact that we have the ability to express ourselves and show our emotions.It will also happen very often that we get into fights with our parents be it over our future, our education,personal lives,family matters and all. But that we are Christians doesn't in no way mean we should keep our emotions bottled up for fear of cursing or disrespecting our parents.

Being Christians sets us apart from others in every aspect and that includes how we fight with our parents. We can fight with them without cursing them, we can disagree with them without disrespecting them and we can be angry too with them without disobeying them. When it gets too heated up, it is advisable to retreat for a moment and come back with a clear head to talk in a more calmed tone. Remember, as the child, we are the ones who should be humble before our parents and God always seeks a way to exalt us before them and prosper us.

Indeed,we would not be here without our parents had they not chosen to give us life and our existence would be miserable if we dishonor or disobey them as God put them as the pillars in our life. So if you are not in good terms with your parents or just recently had a fight, humble yourself before said parent and do the right thing. Start the conversation all over again and ask for God's guidance that your parents may see or reason with you. No one knows tomorrow and the time you spend being mad at your  parents is the time you could have made amends and enjoyed a wonderful parent-child relationship.The time you spend begrudging your parents is the time you could be spending in bonding with them. Make use of this opportunity while you have it and remember in future times to be gentle with them. Most parents if not all, always have their kids best interest at heart and all of them want nothing but a wonderful relationship with their kids just like our Father in heaven.

I hope my little broil with my father inspires you to repair your relationship with your parents or to see a better way of disagreeing with your parents without being at each others throat. May God guide us all and make us the best kids that our parents want us to be as He destined. Have a blessed rest of the week everyone and it is great to be back yet again.