“Learning To Leave Your Parents!”
(Relating to them as an adult.)
It can really be a challenging to successfully forge ahead into mature adulthood where I become a peer to my parents and sense a destiny apart from them.
From past newsletters, we learned that this is called “differentiation”.
To become a fully distinct individual, is called “individuation”.
While the words cannot be found in the Bible, these concepts are far from psychobabble, they are distinctly taught in the scriptures as well as modeled in the life of Jesus Christ.
Let’s do a quick review and learn more from the Savior about His growth into autonomous adulthood.
Key Biblical Text:
“Have you not read… For this cause man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” “Consequently they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:5-6 & Genesis 2:24).”
JESUS’ AND THE APOSTLE PAUL’S TEACHING ABOUT LEAVING “AUTHORITY” OF THE FAMILY OF ORIGIN AND THE CREATION OF A NEW FAMILY UNIT:
Matthew 10:35-37: Jesus taught that the costs of following Him might mean separation, hostility and estrangement from one’s own closest family members.
Mark 3:20-35: As Jesus returned and spoke in his hometown; religious leaders from Jerusalem traveled there to accuse and challenge Jesus and even insist that He was possessed by a demon. What was His family of origin’s response to all of this? “And when His own people (kinsmen) heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses (v.21).’”
Mark 6:1-6: The people in His hometown synagogue were astonished at His teaching and resisted His ministry. Because of his family’s familiarity, they did not believe Him but challenged His authority. It was at this point that the now famous and familiar words were first spoken, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own home town and among his own relatives and in his own household (v.4).”
Matthew 19:1-6, Mark 10:17, Ephesians 4:22-32, and I Corinthians 11:3: These passages all speak of the leaving and cleaving and the formulation of the new family unit that stands accountable only to God and not to the mother and father that raised you. The parent is no longer viewed in the authoritative role of “headship” or leadership. The parent no longer must be obeyed and their authority honored as was true when the person was a child under their care growing up.
Matthew 15:1-9, John 19:25-27, and Timothy 5:3-8: These scriptures teach that Christians have a responsibility to care for their parents’ wellbeing and provision, as they grow older.
THE UNHEALTHY FAMILY OF ORIGIN AWARDS:
“The Dominating Mother Award” goes to the obnoxious mother of the soon to become Apostles James and John.
You know, John who wrote John, 1, 2 and 3 John, and the Book of Revelation?
Yes that John.
Well… while he and his brother were full fledged men… whose nick names were “Sons of Thunder” (lot’s of male bravado here), … well their mommy you know… right in front of all the other disciples… marched up to Jesus and said (whined is more like it) “When your kingdom comes, can my boys sit in the two highest positions with one to your left and one to your right?”
Where is the airsickness bag when you need one?
(Mrs. Thunder couldn’t be here tonight to receive her award.)
For the full story, read Matthew 20: 20-28.
“The Enmeshed Mother and Adult Daughter Award” goes to Herodias the woman who left her own husband (Herod’s brother) to have an adulterous affair with slightly higher ranking man… King Herod.
When John the Baptist confronted the unrighteousness of this public spectacle, Herod had John thrown in prison.
When the adult daughter seductively danced in front of the king and her mom (a really sick thing to do), the king lost his head and offered her anything in his kingdom up to one half of the kingdom’s value.
What a dance!
Where did she learn such moves?
While the panting crowd waited for her answer, her mom whispered in her ear, “The head of John the Baptist, delivered now on a platter.”
The sick, pathetic, overly dependent adult child (who was still a little girl inside) made her request and although the king regretted his offer, he gave the order and a moment later, John the Baptist was dead, the head delivered.
(We actually had a family member who had a sculpture of the nude girl gazing into the face of the beheaded John on the platter. More sick!)
“The Most Unhealthy Family in the Old Testament Award” goes to Isaac and Rebekah.
They had two sons Jacob and Esau.
Jacob married Rachel and Leah while Esau married the daughters of Heth.
This unhealthy family system was strewn with deception, conflict, favoritism, lying and scheming.
What a mess.
God was not pleased, yet because of God’s previous promises to Abraham about the future family descendent, Jesus the Messiah.
God was faithful anyway to allow this family to produce the twelve tribes of Israel, one of which would be Judah, the family of Jesus the Messiah. Genesis 25:27-28, 26:1-45, 27:1-46.
Next week, personal applications, reflections and discussion questions.
Growing in Christ with you,
Milan and Kay