Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Son's Perspective

If there's one thing I try NOT to do, it's look too far ahead. After all, a lot of the time I feel like I have enough on my plate right now as it is. But sometimes I do anyway. Whether it's a good thing or not, I'm not really sure. I guess sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

I'm not a father. I hope to be one day. But right now I truly don't know what it feels like to be one. How can I? I'm not a husband. I hope to be one day as well. But again, I can't really know what it's like to be a husband. How can I? And I won't begin to know what it means to be in either one of those roles until I hold my first child in my hands for the first time and until I say "I do."

At my current church and my home church back in Miami, there's been a huge emphasis placed on the roles of parents and also marital relationships. Series after series based on the family, on sex and marriage, on parenting. And rightfully so. I've learned so much over the last couple of years from pastors, fathers, husbands and others who I look up to and who have lived out what it means to honor God in their relationships with their spouse and their children. Truly amazing men and women that I would be foolish to ignore.

So, naturally, I've been thinking about parenthood and how difficult it must be to be a parent. How scary it must have been for my parents. Funny... I've never really asked them how hard it was for them. If they had fears or doubts when my brother or myself were born. If they even really had time to.

What must it be like to see your child go through the same things you went through? Go through the same trials you endured and walk through the same fires you had to walk through?

What must it be like to offer your love, your comfort, your advice and your open arms to your child, only to watch them walk the other way? What must it be like to listen to your own child blame you for a rough situation?

What must it be like to see your child fall down and get hurt? To see your child go through a betrayal? To go through disappointment, pain and despair? To see your child turn their back to God?

On the other side... How amazing must it be to see your child take their first steps and say their first words? To see them off to their first day of school?

To see them graduate from high school and then college? To see them excel and succeed? To see them fall in love with God and actively walk in faith? To see them stand up for what is good and right?

To see them go through adversity and deal with it gracefully, coming out stronger than they were before?

But then I go back to what I am right now. What I have been from the moment I was born: I'm a son.

We talk about all the responsibility that parents and husbands and wives have, but what about the responsibility we have as sons and daughters?

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' - which is the first commandment with a promise - 'so that it may go well with you 
and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'" 
- Ephesians 6:1-3

"A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother." 
- Proverbs 10:1

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." 
- Colossians 3:20

As a son or a daughter, we have a lot of power and responsibility. And not only to our earthly parents but to our heavenly Father, as well.

I think a lot of people in my generation in general don't realize the kind of power we have. How much our actions impact those that are around us, those that we claim to love so dearly. Are we bringing joy to our parents or are we bringing them grief? Are we honoring our parents, aiming to make them proud? Are we aiming to make God proud? Are we listening and obeying their commands not out of obligation, but out of love? Do we realize that those commands are not there to restrict us or constrain us, but to help us grow and reach our potential?

I know I've made decisions that disappointed God and my parents. But because of the grace and love of God, reflected in my parents I've been able to move forward and grow. I'm far from perfect, but now I'm free to lead a life that is hopefully pleasing to them and to God, confident in their love for me.

Even if you have earthly parents that have hurt you, let you down, disappointed you, not shown you the love and support you needed, may I challenge you to still try and do right by them? If you're holding on to bitterness and pain and ill will towards them, can you try and offer forgiveness and let it go? Because if you don't, the only person that it hurts is you. And it won't only hurt you, but it'll hurt your future family as you carry that pain and bitterness into those relationships.

Responsibility doesn't just come when we have families of our own. Our responsibility as children started a long time ago. And it doesn't stop when we leave the house, either.    

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