Tagged Relationships Versus Built Relationships

One of my relatives was saying that the stress we put on ourselves around family and relatives is usually because we are viewing our relationships through their tag:  mother, father, brother, grandparent, child, or even: teacher, preacher, elder, member.

This is in sharp contrast to our built relationships: the friends and associates we have worked hard to build trust and a working relationship with.

Oftentimes the commandment to honor our father and mother is used by parents to justify trampling normal boundaries: “Of course I can come in the bathroom while you are sitting on the toilet, I’m your mother!” or “I have the right to comment on the fact that you have chosen the wrong career. I’m your father. You need to stop your graduate studies and do something else entirely, something that suits your personality.” The only reason anyone would put up with this is because the tag “parent” has been attached to these relationships. If anyone else were to do or say these things you would probably boot them out of your life.

What if we booted parents out of our lives if they would not stop doing these kinds of things? Would we be happier or sadder? Would we still be able to honor them? Jesus said to leave your father and mother when you marry, and take care of them when they are old, but he never said to let them be intrusive. In fact if you were to study Jesus’ life, all his interactions with his family involved conflict, and in conflict with his family, Jesus never backed down.

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About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
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