I have been a reader for years now and this is my first time sending you a letter. I was blessed to read your Message to Myra when Dr. V posted it on her Facebook page a good while back. I saw a lot of myself in Myra.
Your reply to her seriously took my breath away. A lot of your writing messes me up inside because as soon as I think you some crazy ungodly man because of something I don’t agree with, you come back with something I can’t deny is nothing but God in you.
I think a lot of it has to do with me running to the church later in life after all my years of being so far out there I wonder how I am still alive. The blunt way you say things sometimes hit too close to home. And then I see myself getting all defensive and the words in my head get so ugly I become like some of the same people who used to judge me. They was the people that kept me away from ever wanting to go to church.
That is why I am writing you now. Two years ago I married a man who accepted me and my three kids. Two sons and a daughter. The two sons one father is in jail and the other died on the streets. I don’t know who the father of my daughter is. So it has just been me and them.
I admit I put them through a lot with all the men I had in and out of the house and in their life. I am scared of the things I might have taught them especially my daughter because all of them are coming into teenage years now.
I see a lot of my old sly slick ways in my daughter and I end up getting so angry with her. My husband try to calm me down and the other day I yelled at him and said don’t be telling me how to raise my daughter. Neo I never seen that look of hurt in his eyes before. He just got quiet and went to sleep.
I don’t know why I said that. He never forced himself on my kids. At first they just thought he was another guy I brought home and was shocked when we got married. The first year was a little crazy because I know there was a lot going on he didn’t like. But he was patient and I saw the kids start going to him for things they never came to me about. Maybe I am jealous? I am not sure Neo. I just feel like I did something very very wrong.
The other part is my family. My father is my pastor so they know all the things I done my whole life. Sometimes I feel like no matter what I do they still see the me that was way out there. I don’t feel like they trust any of my decisions even though I am back in church now. I don’t think they even trust my marriage because my husband is not from our church circles and none of his people live around us so they always making some comment about how I find “these guys”.
A lot of times my husband feels disrespected but I feel like I spent so much time bringing shame to my family that I have a lot to make for in honoring my mother and my father. My husband told me I am a grown woman and our relationship comes first. I told him my parents and my kids have to come first because of all the things I did before. He got quiet again.
Neo, don’t scripture say to honor my mother and father? That’s what my father tell me every time me and him get into a argument. I know he not lying because he told me that all my life. I feel stuck. My husband says he wants us to start going to another church. I am scared to hurt my parents if I do that. But I am scared to lose my husband if I don’t. He never ask me to do anything before that was hard so I don’t feel like he being selfish. But is it right for him to ask me to leave my family like that?
Mrs. I just Don’t Know
Ok, you said a lot here so let me try to take this on one issue at a time. The thing about any religion and scripture is everybody has their own way of seeing it and everybody thinks they are right. Sometimes you can even look at a scripture one year and come back to it a few years later and your understanding of it will grow deeper based upon the things that have happened in your life and those around you.
Anybody who has been reading me for a long time knows that I do not follow or claim any one denomination or religious title as any better than the other. I just don’t believe wisdom is limited to any one book or prophet but I respect whatever path someone chooses for them self. And since you came to me from a church mindset, that is the direction that I am going to try to give your answers.
First of all, let us all give thanks to the Creator for blessing your life and that of your children with the grace to live through all the things you did before whatever happened that opened your eyes and your heart to see the right path for you.
The first thing I want address is your spirit of fear. I want you to take a close look at these scriptures and to pray about them:
2 Timothy 1:7King James Version (KJV) says
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Corinthians 5:17King James Version (KJV) says
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Romans 8King James Version (KJV) says
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Now let’s take a look at why I selected those scriptures for you to read.
The first thing you need to understand is that fear is not something that comes from God. It comes from within us.
Isaiah 26:3King James Version (KJV) says
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Philippians 4:7King James Version (KJV) says
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So if we are to truly believe that the spirit of God within you is of love and power and of a sound mind, then what is the best way to deal with your fear and to have an understanding that can bring you peace?
Fortunately, that answer can be found in the book of James:
James 1:5-8King James Version (KJV) says
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
To simplify it, James says that you should look to the spirit of God within you for the wisdom of what to do because that is why that spirit exists. It is the comforter that Jesus promised to all who believe.
When you meditate and you pray and you allow your spirit to tell you what feels like the best direction, it will lead you. But you have to be open to it. Your mind cannot be closed by selfishness or anger or defensiveness or hate or doubt.
You can’t be looking for revenge or to beat someone over the head with the truth. Your heart has to be open and humble and willing to accept the answer on faith at face value. Because if you do not believe in the answer your mind and your spirit becomes divided.
James warns that a double minded person is not just confused in one area, but that confusion then affects ALL their decisions. From the looks of things, you’ve made quite a few decisions out of confusion that have affected your relationship.
The first thing you forgot is who you belong to. Yes you are the daughter of your parents. Yes you are the wife of your husband. Yes you are the mother of your children. But, more importantly, you are a child of the Creator and you have chosen to walk the path of Jesus Christ. And when you made that decision, the old you passed away even if others want to keep raising her from the dead.
I understand your confusion because your father is a pastor and your mom is the first lady of that church, but salvation did not suddenly make them perfect, it made them forgiven- no different than you even if you spent a lot of years out there that you feel guilty about.
People can spend their whole life in the church pews and quote a lot of scripture but still don’t have the wisdom to understand how to apply it to their own lives, let alone somebody else. Paul the Apostle wrote that even if he could speak in every language of man and angels and have the understanding of every mystery and prophecy- that without love, all of those things are meaningless.
What I am saying to you is that if anyone comes to you using their faith or religion as a weapon and not in love, walk the other way no matter what title they hold because even Satan knows scripture. They are in the flesh being used of evil and not of goodness and you shouldn’t be worried about hurting the Devil’s feelings.
You have to be willing to accept for yourself that you are either a new creature in Christ or you are not. Nobody else can do that for you. And once you do accept it, nobody can separate you from what that means to your new life; not even by bringing up doubts based upon your old life.
So let’s take a moment to talk about what your new life in Christ should mean to you. Because before Christ, there was only the law. These were the rules outlined in the Old Testament of the Bible that basically told you what would happen if you did anything wrong.
In the past some sins required going to a priest and making an offering or sacrifice. Other sins meant you were going to be put to death. When Jesus came. He replaced the law with grace allowing you to be saved from your sins that would lead to death. The same way a president or governor can pardon a prisoner.
Now does that mean that all the laws in the past were bad laws? No. There are a lot of good things taught in the old testament that even people who are not Christian can learn from because all wisdom comes from the same place no matter what label we put on it.
Does that mean that once Jesus came that we can get away with anything just by accepting him? No, because you are still accountable for the wrongs that you do and you will suffer for doing wrong. But that is only because your spirit is trying to get you to do right in the same way your parents might punish you for not listening.
However, there is a difference between punishment under the old law versus punishment under grace. Let’s use the example that your parents throw in your face about honoring them:
Deuteronomy 21:18-21King James Version (KJV) says
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
First of all, honoring your father and mother so that your days will be long had nothing to do with any promise from God that you would live a long life, it was the only way to keep yourself from being stoned to death while under your parent’s roof.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21King James Version (KJV) says
18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Deuteronomy pretty much lays down the law as to when you can stone kids and other people for just about everything- including having sex outside of marriage and bearing children without a husband.
So be careful about sticking to certain scripture unless you are prepared to live by what the rest of it says because, by that same token, you should not even be alive right now.
If you want to live by the law, be prepared to die by it also because every man you slept with after the first man committed adultery with you and the same book of Deuteronomy quote used for arguing with your husband about honoring your mother and your father makes the argument moot because both of you should just be taken outside and stoned anyway. Right?
So do you really want to live under the law? Or are you ready to accept that the love of Christ is bigger than all that?
Now let’s take a look at what you are responsible for under the grace of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 19:4-6King James Version (KJV) says
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
When you became an adult, you became responsible for yourself and not for what your parents try to tell you to do. My mother would tell people after we all grew up “that is my son (or) that is my daughter… but that is no longer my child. I know what I taught them. The rest is up to them whether or not life will teach them a harder lesson.”
She never put her nose in our business unless we asked her opinion or something was so bad that it started messing with the lives of other family members. Then she spoke her truth, strict but in love. Gave you a hug and a kiss- and just prayed for you after that.
If we were married, she especially stayed out of the way out of respect for the union of marriage which she never saw as her place to get in the middle of. But if you ever asked her to weigh in on something, you better be ready because she didn’t hold back if something disturbed her spirit.
What I am saying is that once you got married, honoring that marriage became the most important thing. You and that man became one. That one-ness is more important than your mother, your father, and even the kids. That one-ness is the only way your lives can last together. That one-ness is the only thing children will ever respect.
Ephesians 6:1-3King James Version (KJV) says
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
It didn’t say children obey your mama.
It didn’t say children obey the biological parent.
When you got married and became one flesh, that also included all flesh connected to you under your roof. So for you to separate the flesh of your womb from the one-ness of your marriage is a dangerous divide that children will exploit. You calling the children “yours” when your marriage is supposed to be of one flesh is a breaking of your vows and you have every right to be worried by your husband’s silence.
It sounds like grace provided you with a man who did not see your past, but embraced everything that came with you. But it seems that you cannot embrace the grace that allows him to love you and that part of you that exists in each child despite the fact that he made none of them. And that same grace that you yourself said has given unto their hearts a desire to love him back. Don’t you realize that it is the love for YOU that the kids see that have caused them to see him as a father? Instead of being jealous of it or seeing it as some sign of your own shortcomings, just thank the Creator for answered prayer because certainly somebody prayed for it even if it wasn’t you.
Something happened between heaven and earth that brought about the opportunity for you to meet this man and something happened within your spirit that told you it was okay to embrace this man. Why are you doubting it now?
The answer seems pretty clear to me. You are torn between leaving your mother and father and cleaving to your husband. You have allowed their un-spiritual accusing and unforgiving and doubting fleshly remarks to sow doubt in your mind about your union because they still don’t believe you know what you are doing and so you have bought into it.
Everything you said to me tells me this man has been loving and patient. I really don’t see his request to go to another church as disrespectful of your parents. It looks to me as if he is trying to save your marriage by suggesting to you where your priorities should be.
Pastoral family situations are very difficult to spiritually separate because there is so much fleshly knowledge that there is little room to see the light of Christ. We tell lawyers not to represent themselves, and doctors and counselors not to practice on themselves or on close family members because there is an emotional (fleshly) bias that could keep them from being objective and make them miss something because of the things they think they already know.
Families are filled with spiritual malpractice and most of the time they can’t see it until they have really hurt someone in a way they would have never done to a friend or a fellow church member. It is clear to see that staying in ministry with your parents has stunted your spiritual growth and may end up being one of the reasons that your marriage could fail.
Get your priorities in order. Get with your husband. Get it together as PARENTS (plural). And get to stepping.. . for the sake of your family that it seems so obvious that nobody but the Creator gave you both wisdom enough to bring together. Now trust HIM for the rest.