Sunday, March 20, 2011

Christain Parents that Abuse Children

Posted by Hannah at 12:44 PM

I found a teaching from John Piper that speaks on how to handle confusion of adult children towards their parents that may have abused them in their childhood.

I'm putting this into 2 posts.  I wanted to place the video and transcript here, and refer to it in the following article.  I wanted to point out the differences on how he approached abusive circumstances within marriage, and in other contexts.  

If you can't view video click here

Here is the transcript of what John Piper Said:

As a Christian adult, how do I deal with and honor Christian parents who don't acknowledge the abuse I suffered at their hands as a child?

It's appropriate, I think—at some stage in your coming alive and aware to things in your background that hurt you, as you perceive it—it's appropriate to look for ways to talk to mom and dad about that. And how you talk about them will feel honoring in the very demeanor or spiteful in the very demeanor.

So that's the first thing: seek a demeanor from the Lord Jesus to be honoring in the way you talk about it. You will wind up saying things that are hurtful, but that's different from the actual demeanor being aggressively despising.

Second, if in those conversations they're either denying that it ever happened—denying they ever talked to you that way or ever did that to you—or if they acknowledge it and then minimize it and say, "Get over it. Come on, every parent does that," or whatever, then you've got a challenge.

One solution would be to ask if they willing to go further into more serious counseling together where you have a friend or a counselor who actually sits down and helps go deeper. If they're willing, I think that can be very healthy.

Many would probably be scared of that and wouldn't. That's probably what you're dealing with when you ask this question.

At that point—and this is true in many areas of life—at that point you're not getting the hoped-for resolution. That's true, and it's sad. They are just not able or willing at this time to go there. Now what do you do?

Jesus modeled this for us. He's quoted as doing it in Romans 12 and in 1 Peter 2. It says in 1 Peter that when he was reviled he did not revile in return. And when he was rebuked or scorned, he didn't retaliate. But he handed over to him who judges justly. That's what you've got to do.

In other words, there are lots of times in life where justice is not done to us. We get fired when we shouldn't have gotten fired. We get lied about by some trusted friend and we shouldn't have gotten lied about. We got abused by a parent, and we shouldn't have gotten abused. And none of these things ever get resolved!

You may try. "Speak peace with all men, as much as it lies within you." But it won't. You're just not going to get resolution in many areas of your life. So what do you do? Do you seethe with anger and hold resentments and grudges? No! Jesus handed it over to him who judges justly.

So what we do at that point is say, "God, you know and I know that this shouldn't have happened. You know and I know that it was painful. You know and I know that it has these ongoing effects on me and struggle. But, Lord, I don't want to add the burden to my life of an unforgiving spirit. So I'm taking that injustice that was done to me and giving it to you and asking, 'Would you please settle and take care of that?'

And there are two ways he could do that: 1) he could forgive them, because they really trust in the cross. In which case, you wouldn't want to belittle the sufficiency of Christ's sufferings by adding punishment to Christ's. Or 2) he's going to send them to hell. And you will someday even endorse that.

So he's going to settle it, and you don't need to.

I find this absolutely liberating, which is exactly what it's supposed to be, according to Romans 12. "'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. And you will dump fiery coals on his head."

So God says, "Don't take vengeance. Don't hold a grudge. Let it go. Give it to me. I'm God. I will settle accounts. You just keep loving."

So I think the simple short answer to "What do you do with it?" is that you seek reconciliation. And when it isn't resolved to your satisfaction, you take the pain and the injustice, you give it to God, and you don't hold it. You say, "I'm not going to be the judge anymore. I'm not going to be the jury anymore. I'm not going to be the executioner anymore. I'm going to be free!"

Don't add the burden of unforgiveness on your life when people have treated you wrongly.

Now if you compare that to how he wishes wives to deal with abusive husbands? Its very contradictory.  I guess once the children get out of house as adults he is willing to deal with issue, but while they are a child their mother's submission for the LORD'S sake is more important.  The children don't even enter his mind until now. 

Is his advice different because its BOTH parents in this teaching?  Is it different because they are adults now?  Is it he just thinks spousal abuse only effects spouses?

This is what you call teaching confusion.

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Cynthia Kunsman on 8:23 AM said...


I'm so glad that you posted this. Piper points out the difference between forgiveness (something that is completely within our power), releasing a person from a debt that they owe to us. We have the power to choose this when reconciliation is not possible (reconciliation meaning that the books are wiped clean and the actual debt itself is removed from the account). Many times, this is not possible, as Piper points out, and it is up to the individual to decide to start the journey toward forgiveness as opposed to remaining in bitterness.

The video shows a different side of Piper which is important to note. But it's also sad to note that he essentially ascribes more power to children then to wives.

This is such a complicated topic, and you've expanded the scope of it here.

Hannah on 8:44 AM said...

I agree. It is very complicated. It can be a true struggle for anyone.

There is freedom in allowing 'God to take the Wheel' as the song goes. I love that visual myself.

For some reason it truly makes sense for me, although at times it takes a great sense of strength in your faith. The core of it is trust. When you have been whammied in so many different directions? I truly believe those that allow him to take the wheel are so much stronger than others give them credit for.

I think the comps at times struggle in the area of allowing the wife to 'hurt feelings' towards the husband, because they see that area as a tender spot. She has the responsibility to uplift, and follow him, etc. When you place authority, leadership, etc on such a high place? You tend to struggle with how to properly deal with improper forms of it - while still respecting the role. It turns into a balancing act that God never intended.

God's word should above the role, and truly no such struggle should be seen. The circumstance is either right or wrong. It should be rather straight forward, but sadly humans tend to place roadblocks there to muddy the waters.

They should stop and ask themselves - can a person for years 'let it go' as they mention while living under an oppressive circumstance? The answer should be clear, but we are encouraged to stuff down the Holy Spirit's leading in order to listen to man.

It boggles my mind that they feel that they are that important.

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