Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
What Does Honor Look Like?
Upon reading Doug Wilson's review of The Shack, I'm once again wondering how in the world I'm supposed to honor my father. He abused and abdicated his position as husband and father, he's almost a complete stranger to me, and there is simply nothing obviously honorable about him. I suppose the first thing some of you will say is that I shouldn't be writing stuff like that on my blog, and perhaps I shouldn't, but I do so to solicit your help not in bashing him, but in figuring out how to "salute the uniform" in the case of someone who has himself trashed the uniform.
I've often likened my situation to that of a British subject in 1937. Edward had abdicated to marry Mrs. Simpson, and was no longer king, so the citizens no longer owed him the honor due the king. In the same way, a lawfully (and by that I mean biblically) divorced woman no longer owes her former husband honor as her husband. And I'm kind of thinking that a father has a very tenuous claim indeed to being honored by the children he has abandoned.
But grace makes me want to figure out how to do it, anyway -- at least in some sort of tokenish way. And grace enables me to approach it from a position of strength (being under Christ's protection) rather than of weakness and fear (being rejected and terrorized by an evil man). I'm just rather at a loss to know how -- both inwardly (attitudes) and outwardly (actions).
For those of you who've known me online for a while, yeah, I've asked this question in one form or another several times over the years. Just call me a slow learner. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:25 AM
On October 23, 2008 12:44 PMpentamomwrote... This may sound abysmally platitudinous, but the very fact that you ask the question is an indication that you are to at least some degree being obedient. And I don't mean in the sense, "Well, I'm trying, so that's worth something." I mean a little more than that -- that the very acknowledgment that you owe him that duty and wish to exercise it is a form of honor of his fatherhood. Even if truly honoring him entails more, even much more, than that, the very effort to work it out is itself a degree of honor.
I'll leave it at that not to leave it as "there, there, you're doing something right, that's what matters" but simply because I know that much, but don't have any further answers.
On October 23, 2008 9:43 PMEleanorwrote... I think mercy about does it for me. I need mercy. You need mercy. Your dad needs mercy. No one really knows why the Lord has not intervened in his life, but since He hasn't all we can really do to deal with folks like this is to have mercy, pray and move on. To have mercy is at least in part to show honor to the humanity of God's fallen creation.
On October 24, 2008 11:13 AMCarol in Oregonwrote... The question came up with one of the Wilsons (Jim? Doug?) about showing respect to a drunkard in a ditch. The speaker said to give him a hand and help him on his feet.
Can you write your father a letter? Not A Letter, just a note updating him about your life.
A wise woman told me once to begin with *civility*. What you would give any stranger. Or former neighbor. The news about whose gotten married or buried, what project you are working on, that sort of stuff.
Long story: a young woman asked her mother to walk her down the aisle, since her father had abandoned the family. Wise mom agreed but asked her daughter to consider her father, as an gesture of mercy and forgiveness.
When daughter informed her dad that she was now engaged, he showed amazing humility and offered to play whatever role daughter wanted in the wedding. "I'm happy to be the wallet and nothing more, if that's what you want. I don't deserve to be more than the wallet."
This never before seen humility won her heart and she proceeded to ask him to walk her down the aisle. He asked for a measure of forgiveness. They decided to begin again as father and daughter. It didn't wipe away years of abandonment, but it was a change in their relationship.
A year later her father (51) dropped dead. The girl became executor and had to deal with dad's live-in girlfriend. In an amazing twist, she lead her dad's girlfriend to Christ.
It's just an anecdote--I hope more helpful than harmful.
God can change your father's heart. Whether He does or not, you can show respect, even in a tokenish way.
On October 24, 2008 11:25 AMValerie (Kyriosity)wrote... I used to be able to at least call him once in a while, but his phone's been cut off now. I should probably just make it a point to drive up to his house every once in a while, but I just plain forget to find the time. Perhaps that's the key to honor -- remembering and prioritizing finding the time to think and act.
On October 24, 2008 1:10 PMJenniferwrote... I'm a total stranger to you, came across your blog from Nancy Wilson's - so I hope you won't consider this an intrusion. But I have been working through an excellent book (and very convicting) on honoring parents - The Promise, by Philip Rosenbaum.
I think it is well written, theologically sound, and offers plenty of practical advice. Worth a glance.