Hello Fellow Brethren and Sisters in Christ,
Because of a personal matter, I have been praying over this verse for quite sometime and I need some guidance:
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Now my problem. Forgive me if the following is harsh, but it's the truth: I'm currently the only practicing Christian in my home. I have a very good relationship with my mother and sisters and preach The Word to them when the opportunity hits. However, my problem is with my dad. Growing up and all my life and knowing him as a person, he was always (and still is) extremely negative. He complains about everything, everyone, and is egotistic, arrogant, insensitive, self-loving, greedy, loves money and secret gamblings, jealous of others—especially his own children, offers nothing but hateful words of advice to others, and recently admitted he is proud to be a racist bigot. He is ungodly and rolls his eyes when hears God's Word, and wants nothing to do with Christians. In fact, years ago when I was baptized on Palm Sunday in my church, he dreaded about attending the service so much, he had a heart attack, literally, at work and missed it because he was in the hospital for a week. He is a severe alcoholic for over forty years now. And when he is sober, he has a Jekyll & Hyde personality. He only listens to the local drunks and lounge lizards in the bar every night. Most of all, he is a liar that gives lies, and more lies.
This past September, he was arrested for a DUI (his second one; his first one was over thirty years ago) and caused an accident (luckily no one was hurt or killed) and he called my sister to have the police sign him over to her. Once he was handed over, he had mentioned to her that he was talking to someone in his vehicle when he caused the accident. That was version 1 of his story. One hour later, story version 2 from him to my mother and I... was only about his arrest and the accident. A few hours later, when my sister mentioned to us that he was with someone when the accident happened, my mother and I confronted him and asked who was with him. To our shock, he said he was with another woman—someone unknown to me and my family! Whoever this woman was, she slipped away from the scene of the crime and walked home. The look on my mother's face is something I will never forget. And yet, he offered more lies to say she's just a friend. So basically, he committed a DUI, an accident, and adultery all at once... literally. His sins found him out!
At that moment when we found this out, he caused my me and mother me to sin. He had caused us to be bitter before this incident, and even more after this. When he lied directly to our faces about the whole ordeal, I wanted to knock his teeth out and drag him out of the house by his hair (forgive me, as I'm part Italian and when I get mad, I want to break some kneecaps) but, I did not. I was so mad and even more bitter that I said some things about him and the ordeal to my sisters that were wrong, and I apologized to each one of them for what I said and asked for their forgiveness, in which they did.
As much as I wanted to seek and execute revenge upon him, I had to take all my matters and frustrations to God through prayer. For it is written, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.—Romans 12:19. And by praying fervently over these matters on a daily basis, I have forgiven him and all his actions, even though those sins still continue and my mother and I know he is still committing adultery with that other woman. But, I have to forgive him, because God through Christ forgives me when I repent for my own sins. I'm praying for my entire family and my mother, for her heart is still bitter, and now has a hard time in forgiving him. But, I tell her "How will God forgive you, if you don't forgive others?" I know she had been thinking about this. After helping her through this, I find that she no longer wants to have anything to do with him. I said also told her, that all because you forgive a person, doesn't mean you have to socialize with them.
But overall, as I have been praying for my dad and mom, and the rest of my family. The wound is still fresh as he has not apologized for to any of us about this ordeal. Because the sinful nature of this man going on for so long, and for the ever increasing pain he has recently caused, and his thinking that he is just going to skate through all of this in his court appearances and proceedings, I'm also praying to God for vengeance... I forgive him, but I also ask God to seek vengeance... not out of spite or harm... but to teach him a Godly, moral lesson through the legal court system.
As of this last week, he had his first court hearing. It didn't go well. He's in a real predicament and has to face a sentencing hearing mid February 2012, but he still thinks he is going to still skate through all this by taking his own chosen, outpatient, alcohol assessment treatment on a weekly basis—buy yet, still heads over to the bar every night to see his drunken friends, sitting before a wall of liquor. The court told him he may be required to spend time with victims and family members of drunk driving, but he told us that he wants to take no part in such a thing, or a possible court ordered AA program. His fate in these legal matters will be revealed in February. And aside from this, I have also have been doing some medical research and learned that he fits all the characteristics and qualities of a severe Sociopath.
So with all of that, how does Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother apply when you have a sinful, ungodly parent? How does it apply when a parent has no regard for his own children, his wife, others, nor God? In all honesty, holidays, especially Father's Day, are extremely uncomfortable, but I thank the Lord, my sisters, mother, and I have each other on those days. I just have a hard time trying to honor him. I feel when I honor him any way, that I, as a Christian, am honoring and glorifying his sinful nature, and by doing so, saying he is a great father, person, and human being—when in reality, he is not. I know that because I'm a Christian man, I'm a child, a son of God, and have no other loving father, but God the Father, Himself. I also realize that prophecy is being fulfilled at the same time:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.—2 Timothy 3-5.
And... Jesus said, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."—Matthew 24:12
Any thoughts and advice about this is problem is greatly appreciated.
Blessings in Christ,