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God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - A Word to Families in an Age of Chaos, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2023 6:00 am

God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - A Word to Families in an Age of Chaos, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 14, 2023 6:00 am

How do you protect your kids from all the negative influences to which they're exposed? Chip brings a word of encouragement to families who are feeling weighed down by the pressures of life.


Honor your father and mother. What comes to your mind when you hear those words?

And by the way, are there times when you can't? What if you don't have a good dad or a good mom? What if they ask you to do things that wreck your marriage? How do you honor your folks when it seems absolutely impossible? That's today on Living on the Edge.

Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. And what a tough couple of questions Chip just posed. How do you obey God and honor your parents when your parents don't act honorable? Today we're diving deeper into the fifth commandment as Chip continues our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living. And be sure to keep listening after this message as Chip shares some additional words of wisdom and guidance on this complex topic.

So let's get going. Go to Exodus chapter 20 verse 12 for the second part of Chip's talk, A Word to Families in an Age of Chaos. If you're a student or you're living in your parents' home, boy, the responsibility from God's perspective, honor your parents. Respect them.

Cooperate. Have you ever thought about what it would be like when Jesus was a teenager? You think he knew more than his folks? I think so.

You know, I don't think he ever had a bad day. But I have a passage that tells me that from age 12 on, that after that little event, remember where mom and dad didn't know where he was? And he was learning from the rabbis and teaching some of the rabbis. I've got a passage that says from that age on, he lived in subjection to his parents.

And what he modeled for every teen, post-teen, and early adult is that, you know something? There's going to be dialogue. There ought to be times around the table where there's healthy exchange, really real disagreements. But at the end of the day, you say, you know, mom, dad, I just want you to know, I totally disagree.

I don't think it's a very good decision. I think I should be able to do that. I think it indicates maybe you don't trust me like you need to, but boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. But you know, at the end of the day, I tell you what, mom, dad, I'm going to honor you.

And I think God will reward my life for it. And by the way, when you start creating that kind of atmosphere, the way you produce great kids is you feed them responsibility. You let them do things early, early, and earlier on as they demonstrate themselves responsible, that they look at you like, you let me do that?

And I'll never forget, I was between my senior and junior year, and it was a basketball tournament, and my parents, I had a Volkswagen van and four of my buddies after the state tournament, and we drove to Indianapolis to meet some guy I met at a tournament to play hoops outside. And you know, I'm not even a senior. And I asked my mom, I said, you're going to let me go? Yeah. In fact, my dad walks over, pulled out his wallet, he says, here's a credit card, you'll probably be a bit low on gas.

Now here's four guys, 17, who meet a bunch of guys at a state tournament, and we're going to drive for a couple three days to Indianapolis. There's a lot of not good things that could happen, right? And I remember thinking, my parents are nuts. I mean, I would never let me do this.

I just asked thinking they probably won't, you know? And I'll never forget, my mom was with my dad, she leaned over, she goes, Chip, we know that you would never do anything to disappoint us. I mean, the thought of doing anything, the thought of doing anything that would bring shame on them or disgrace never entered my mind. But it wasn't because they figured out a zillion ways to restrict me. It's because there was open dialogue and they demonstrated that much trust in me. When you are a small child, you obey God, you honor your parents by obeying them. In your teen and young adult years, you honor them by respecting and cooperating with them. And third, as an adult, I honor my parents by affirmation and provision. Those are the two key words, affirmation and provision. And you say, well, how do you affirm your parents? I'm going to say the number one way you affirm your parents is by your life, by your character, by your godliness. Proverbs 23, 24 says, the father of a righteous man has great joy.

He who has a wise son delights in him. If you're 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, your parents are still living, 60 years old and your parents are still living, the greatest gift is not a phone call, as wonderful as that is. The greatest gift is not a birthday card, as wonderful as that is.

The greatest gift is not buying them a little trip and sending them somewhere. The greatest gift as an adult, a grown adult, is becoming the kind of man or the kind of woman that is pleasing to God, that is Christ-like, that your parents can look and say, wow. Wow. Oh Lord, who am I to get to be the mom or the dad of that godly man or that godly woman? Oh, oh Lord, what an amazing thing to see this godly son or godly daughter raising my grandchildren in the fear of the Lord.

Powerful. That's how you honor them. You affirm them by your life. Second, it says, do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to do it. That's Proverbs 3, 27. I want to suggest that you not only honor them by your life, but you honor them by your actions, affirm them by your actions.

And let me just give you a little kind of salad bar of suggestions and the one that hits home, you're probably doing a number of these. But one is, I would say, communication, especially when we get spread out. Communicate with your folks, whether that's a call, whether that's a letter. And I know there's times where the relationships get really funky and there's some generational issues. I've watched, at least with my parents and my wife's parents, is when there's conflict, they don't like conflict at all. And kind of speaking the truth in love, you want to get that out on the table and bring resolution, they don't do that.

When there's conflict, they just withdraw for like three or four months, or at least they used to. And then you get a phone call like six months later, like nothing happened. Hi, how you doing? Everything okay? And you're going, whoa, what about that big argument at Thanksgiving and you did this and all this stuff and don't we need to get this on the table and speak the truth in love?

And it's just wild. And so there's times where you feel like the last thing I want to do is give them a call or jot them a note. But I think one of the ways we affirm our parents is, as far as it depends on us in an appropriate way at appropriate times, there's times you can't. Where you communicate with calls and letters and visits and I think just thoughtfulness. Just being thoughtful.

You know what, we don't know. I mean growing old is something that happens to other people until it's you. And I think just being thoughtful about the dynamics of what it's like to grow old. What it's like to be alone. What it's like to not be in on the action. What it's like to experience some level, I think as you grow older, all of us are going to have some level of regrets. What it's like to deal with internal issues and just being thoughtful, including them when possible on special events.

If you can arrange a birthday with one of the grandkids or working things out where just by shifting it a few days this way or that way, celebrating a vacation on this direction, where you can include them. When that works, I think that communicates. You affirm them by your action. And one of the ways I found you affirm them is just by making requests.

Ask what they think. I mean it doesn't mean you have to take their counsel, but some of us you know you had the early knocking of the heads. And so you had the early and the knocking of the heads where you learned not to listen to them. And then you go through the next 30 years acting like they don't have any wise counsel to give you. You know it's an amazing thing.

One of the things I've cherished. When they have emotional issues and issues of the heart, I hear Teresa talking on the phone for long hours and I just think, now I know why those guys when they score touchdowns always say, hi mom, you know. They never say, I'm waiting for some guy to score a touchdown and go, thanks dad.

I mean you threw the ball with me 98,000. No, it's always, hi mom. I mean there's something about moms. But you know when they have a big decision to make or when they have a truth and love issue or a wisdom issue, I got to tell you, even if they don't take it, it makes me feel so affirmed when they say, hey dad I got an issue. Let me run this one by you. And I listen and you know if there's a passage or something or an experience I can say, well you know, let God lead you but you know from where I've been these last years, here's my take on the situation.

It's powerful. You know something, you can be in a wheelchair and give counsel. You can feel like your life doesn't have a lot of value and say, dad mom would you pray? I really need your prayers on this one. One of the grandkids is going through this one. I mean would you pray?

And then ask him to pray and then tell him what happened. So we affirm our adult parents by affirmation and then also by provision. This is probably the most radical part of this entire lesson. Let me read 1 Timothy 5, 4 and 1 Timothy 5, 8 without any interruption because what I want you to see is that when you become an adult, the non-negotiable requirement of honoring your parents is to financially provide for their welfare in their latter years.

This was written, this command was given before social security. And praise God for any government programs or praise God for life insurance or praise God for different things that people have done to care for themselves. But you need to hear that the biblical model of who's responsible in this thing called the cycle of life, this is a fact sometimes we lose sight of. If it wasn't for your mom and dad, you wouldn't be here.

Ponder that one deeply. I mean bad mom and dad, hard mom and dad, difficult mom and dad, abusive mom and dad, difficult childhood. All that being said, if it wasn't for that mom and that dad, on good authority, I'm going to just go out on a limb and say you wouldn't be here. And when you came into the world, you couldn't do anything, could you?

Nothing. If your mom and dad, you were feeble, you were completely dependent, you were tiny, you couldn't feed yourself, you couldn't clothe yourself, all you did was make messes. And they joyfully, on most parts, not all, but they joyfully embraced you and your messes and did everything for you.

God's wisdom and God's word and God's plan is they may well come a day when that cycle will go full circle and you will have a mom or you will have a dad that will be completely dependent on you. And you know what? They might need a diaper and you might need to feed them. And you will have to figure out what that looks like and there's a million different ways and whether that's moving in or moving in isn't good or assisted living or daily visits or weekly visits or monthly visits. You know what?

You've got to figure out. There's a whole lot of issues to figure out what that looks like in your particular situation but listen to this passage because the Bible is very clear that we're morally responsible to do that and that's what it means to honor our folks. It says, but if a widow has children or grandchildren, he's talking about who ought to receive financial funds from the church.

I mean, there's only so much money in the church to go around and the apostle Paul is speaking to Timothy and says, hey Timothy, you know, you asked me a couple questions, you're a young pastor, let me give you the lowdown. This is God's perspective on who should get money and who shouldn't, which widows. So he says if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family. The acid test of putting your religious into practice isn't your quiet time, it's not going to church, it's not ministry involvement, great things. He says first they should put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. Skip down to verse 8, if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for his immediate family, he's denied the faith and he's worse than an unbeliever.

Now is that strong or what? You have to be wise and discerning to know what it looks like, but we are morally responsible as believers to care for our aging parents. That's what it looks like to honor our grown parents.

We affirm them and we financially provide for them. I put on the bottom of your notes Matthew 15, 1 to 9. I don't want to develop it, but this is one of those.

You grab a cup of coffee and read it through, but you need one little tiny piece of information because it will really make a lot of sense. Jesus is being attacked and they're saying you are destroying the traditions. You are not obeying God.

You are this radical teacher. What are you doing in the first couple of verses of Matthew 15? And Jesus turns the tables quickly and says, wait a second. You are the ones that are destroying the truth of God based on the traditions of men. And then he quotes, he quotes the fifth command. It says, the scripture says, honor your father and mother. He lays it all out. He says, but you have said, you have taken that which rightfully belongs to supporting your parents and what they would do is that it was called Corban.

You have called it Corban. And what they would do, it was like a little trust fund. And they would say, this is designated for God. And it was a trust fund designated for God, but they wouldn't actually give it into the temple. They would say, this money is set aside for God. They would take the money that was supposed to go to their folks so they wouldn't have to support and help their folks and they said, oh, let's make it spiritual. We'll call this Corban and it is designated for God some day some way.

And then they'd wait until their parents died so they could use the money on themselves. And he says, you have taken the traditions of men and nullified the truth of scripture. Jesus takes this actual command about supporting parents and he goes right to the jugular with it. I think as people are living longer and longer and longer, this is going to be one of the real big issues for the body of Christ. What does it look like to lovingly support and provide for? And some of us thought, you know, man, if we could ever get our kids through college, if we could ever get close to paying off our house, I got news for you. We may get there and we may need to start saving and planning for the whole next big picture which may be supporting our parents. And it also has implications too for as we get older thinking, you know, how can I help be a part of this process where I don't kill my kids because they're morally responsible?

How could I set my life up in such a way that I'm not too much of a burden? One of the things my dad did, and I still remember, I thought it was crazy, he took a pretty expensive assisted care policy out. And I thought to myself, I mean, it was pretty expensive because he didn't take it out until he was about 70. And at 70, my dad's playing softball with 30-year-olds, playing first base, batting about 650.

Go figure, huh? That hyperness I get honestly. By 75, my dad's spending a good portion of his time in a wheelchair. And he contracts a rare disease called Shay-Draggers syndrome where the autonomic system starts with your feet and then little by little it goes up all through your body until nothing works. And you know something?

His insurance policy pays $100 every single day for an in-house healthcare professional. And it was his wisdom and discernment to do that that took tons of pressure off me and my sisters. So some of us need to think about what the kids need to do and some of us need to think about what we might need to do. Let's wrap up because there are some, I promised, who as distasteful as it is to talk about it, it's reality in your heart of hearts and your emotions are, I don't want to honor, okay? I mean, you're not going to show it and you're not going to give a facial expression in this room. But down deep in your gut you're thinking, I don't want to honor my mom and dad, okay? I don't.

In fact, I don't even like them, okay? In fact, I have anger fantasies toward my mom and dad. Buddy, you know, this sounds nice, cute, little Bible-type stuff for you. You didn't grow up in my home. You weren't abused like my sister and I was.

You don't know what it was like when you came home drunk and beat mom up. I'll tell you what, I can't honor my mom and my dad. And I would say that the Scripture is clear that we're to respect what's right in the sight of all men to be at peace with them as far as it depends on us. And I think there are four times when you can't honor your parents.

I've given you the passages but I want to highlight them and let you dig them out for yourself. The first time is the priority of salvation, Mark 10, 23 to 31. My wife recently had the opportunity to lead a young Jewish girl to Christ. And one of her big issues was, do I tell my dad or not?

And what's it going to mean? And she had to go through this issue of, am I going to align with God? What if my dad says, you know, you're out of this house, forget it. And she had to come to the point where rather than honor her father's wishes, she had to say, I'm going to receive the salvation of Yeshua HaMashiach as my Savior and my Messiah and put my faith in him regardless of what my father thinks. And there are times where we cannot honor our parents or their wishes when it comes to choosing between them and their desires and putting your faith in Christ.

Second is the priority of service, Luke 9, 59, 62. There's times where we're called to serve God, you leave mother, brothers, sisters, homes, families, right? When we took off for seminary, Teresa's dad would not speak to us for about four or five months. He did not show up to say goodbye. He was so close to my older boys and he was so angry and it was just hurt and he didn't know how to express it, but he got so ticked off, it was, you know, he couldn't see we were preparing for ministry, it was a call of God.

All he could see was I'm losing my grandkids and I mean, just, well, you know what? We had a choice of either honoring her father or honoring God. There's times where God will call you into service where you honor God and not your parents.

The third is Ephesians 5, 31 to 33, the priority of marriage. There are some parents, some in-laws and they figure out ways, some subtle, some not so subtle to put a wedge between you and your wife or you and your husband. At one point in time, and you know, this isn't pretty to share, but you know, my mom is gone now and my dad is 81 years old and in a wheelchair and I don't think he'd mind me sharing this, but out of their great love for me, they put a wedge in our marriage. We would get occasional calls, a person-to-person call. My wife would answer the phone, a person-to-person call that would say, hello, this is for Chip Ingram.

Who is this? His mother or his father. And my wife answers the phone. Now, can you imagine what it would be like to pick up the phone and have someone's parents call and call person-to-person? Is that like a not so subtle, we don't want to talk to you, you don't matter?

And then I had to have one of those big sit-down times with my folks and basically, and they did it this way and this way and this way and this way and I had one of those, you know, come to Jesus meetings. And I said, you know what, if you want to pit me against my wife, hear me, you lose. Okay? If you want a relationship with me, it's me, my wife and our family.

If you want it with me alone, you lose it all. The priority of my life before God is that woman. Don't ever treat her that way again. On another occasion, her dad came in and every time he would come in, he was just like an expert at like how to ruin her world. It took her three months to recover after every visit. This washer on this, how come no one's fixed this?

Look at these knives, these knives are dull. And I mean, he would just go around the house for three or four days and just everything that was wrong and so, you know, you lived through it, eat a few meals and then, you know, it's like when in-laws are there sometimes. Then, you know, you sit up in bed and talk and then your wife cries and then you get up and think, man, this is insane. So Fred and I have, we had to come to Jesus meeting at Kmart.

And we go to Kmart and, you know, he's this great-grandfather and buys, you know, enough candy to kill 17 kids on any two days and it's his way of loving and I let it go, eat it kids, brush your teeth, eat it kids, brush your teeth. And so we pull in from Kmart and we're sitting outside and I said, you know, Fred, I said, you know, we've had our differences and I know you really love your daughter and I know you care about the kids but we need to talk about something. I said when you come, you pick apart every single thing in my house and every thing about my wife and, I mean, it's destroying her. And, well, you know, those knives ought to be sharp. I said, Fred, you know what, it ain't your job to figure out how sharp our knives need to be and what faucets work or don't work, okay?

Now, Fred, hear me. I love you, man, and your daughter loves you. But we're going to go in that house, okay? And when we go in that house, if you continue to criticize my wife, you're going to leave and you're only going to come back until you can figure out how to have good stuff come out of your mouth toward your daughter instead of bad stuff, okay? Now, it's your choice.

You can do whatever you want. I love you, she loves you, the kids love you, but I'm not going to let you destroy my wife and destroy my family. Very quiet.

Fred walked in, it was like a button was pushed, night and day. I never heard him criticize my wife in the next 10, 15 years. And, see, what I want to say is there's a time you don't honor them. There's a priority of salvation, service, and marriage.

And then finally, this last one, it's the priority of what I'll call wisdom. If you have your Bible, flip it open, it's an important passage. Proverbs 9, verse 7. It says, whoever corrects a mocker invites insult. Whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he'll hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he'll love you. Instruct a wise man, he'll be still wiser.

Teach a righteous man and he'll add to his learning. That first line, whoever corrects a mocker invites insult. Whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. In Proverbs, there's four characters. The simpleton, empty-headed, has no knowledge, needs to get it. There's a fool who's against God. There is the mocker who opposes God and all that God is. And there's the wise person who responds to truth, puts it into practice. And if you read all through the book of Proverbs, those are the four characters. And it says when there is a mocker, when there is someone who's hostile, when there is an alcoholic, a drug addict, when you are in your situation and you say, Dad, you can't swear and drink in front of my kids like that. What are you trying to tell me? That's my kids, that's my house, you know.

And then you try and speak the truth in love and they blow up. Mom, you know, I'm sorry, I know you want to see the kids. We can't watch, I mean, that is vile. We can't watch that kind of stuff with my kids in the room.

I'm sorry. And she blows up. Who do you think you are? And you relive your childhood. There is a time when there is behavior among your parents where they are mockers and they are ungodly and when you lovingly try to respond to them and they blow up and they abuse, where you draw boundaries around it and you don't reprove them. And you take a step back and you say, the door is always open.

We would love to have a relationship with you, but when my kids are involved or my family is involved, if these behaviors, these outlandish bursts of anger or this type of manipulation, if that occurs, then you need to understand the door is open, but we won't be back until that gets resolved. And sometimes you have to set wisdom boundaries. You can't, in an attempt to honor your parents, allow them to destroy your whole family or to ruin your kids.

And that takes great wisdom and great discernment. And it's always an open hand and you pray for them, but there are times when, because of their ungodly behavior, you set boundaries for your family and yet you honor your parents. You honor the office, but not the person.

I've been through seasons of that where the behavior was so outlandish, you had to honor the office. He's my dad. He brought me into the world. Thank you, Jesus. But that behavior will not be allowed to impact my family. I draw a boundary around it and I'm going to protect my family. I honor the office. I can't honor the person with that particular behavior.

And God will honor that. Question. What is the next step for you to honor your folks?

If you're a student here, are you cooperating? Obey. If you're a parent, are your kids learning to obey? And if you're an adult, are you affirming your parents?

And are you mentally, physically, and financially preparing to provide for them? That's what it means to obey the fifth command. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And the message you just heard, a word to families in an age of chaos, is from our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living.

Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Whether you're religious or not, we all know something about the Ten Commandments and may even be able to name a couple. But do you know that they're just as important now as when God gave them to Moses?

Through this study in Exodus, chapter 20, we'll learn how respecting our parents, putting God first, and keeping our word aren't just good ideas, but the moral foundation for our faith. Stay with us to get a fresh perspective on these boundaries and better grasp how they can lead to an abundant life. If you've missed any part of this series, catch up on the Chip Ingram app. Well, Chip's with me here in studio now, and Chip, before we go any further, you wanted to say something about the mid-year match that we've been talking about for the past several weeks? Well, Dave, I just wanted to pause. I mean, to really pause and tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You know, every time a person makes a financial gift, a spiritual transaction occurs.

In other words, something actually happens in a person's heart. And I speak to those of you who gave. You gave, you responded, you invested in Living on the Edge, and I want you to know that as you've invested, we're going to invest in the lives of people here and all around the world. It really matters, and we are super grateful. Thank you, each one of you who prayed and said, Lord, what do you want me to do?

And then you followed his lead. The final numbers will be on our website as soon as we get all the mail that comes in, but I just want to say thank you, thank you so very much for hearing from God, responding to God, and for being so generous. And let me add my thanks, too. We truly celebrate every gift we've received and are excited to see how God will use it to motivate Christians to really live like Christians. So thanks again for your support.

Well, here again is Chip with today's application. As I've taught this passage, I want you to know that the lightning rod of response is around this issue. Are there times when we can't honor our parents or honor them in the traditional way that we have? You know, I'm supposed to do what they say and cooperate with whatever they think. And we learned today that the priority of salvation is one time you can't honor them. You have to honor God first. The second was the priority of service. If God calls you to do something, your parents, you're an adult, and they say, hey, forget it. You know, you have to honor God's calling. The third was the priority of marriage. You can't honor your parents in a way that puts a wedge between you and your mate.

And the fourth was the priority of wisdom. I mean, if you've got an alcohol or a drug problem or anger issues that can hurt you, your marriage or your family, you have to set boundaries. Now, all that is great except for, well, how do you do it? And what I believe the goal of this broadcast is in your life is primarily to bring these issues up. I know from my personal experience that I hadn't thought these through, and I always felt between the rock and the hard place.

I wanted to honor my mom and dad, but they didn't come to faith until late. And they did certain things, even unintentionally, that I mean was absolutely messing with my marriage. And I had to sit down and sort of say, hey, you know, these couple things we can't do anymore. There were certain things where we had to have very hard talks and really get some things on the table. And here's what I want you to hear.

I doubt if you can do that alone. They are so complex. They're so emotionally loaded that you feel so guilty when often you're doing the very right thing. You will need either a wise elder, counselor, or pastor who you can say, I feel I'm between the rock and the hard place.

I know I'm supposed to honor my folks, but I don't know how to work this out. So here's my counsel. As a couple, listen to this and say, you know, we've been not dealing with this in a righteous way. We've got to get to the root of this. Let's get some help.

Who should we go talk to? And I think in the next 10, 20, 30 years, God will really honor it. It may be tough on the front end, but I can tell you from personal experience, God restores and repairs those things.

Once you set wise, godly boundaries, it will be hard, but you'll be glad you did. Thanks, Chip. And as we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. If there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Give us a call, 888-333-6003 is our number, or connect with us at And while you're there, take a moment and look through our resources on various topics, many of them absolutely free. For Chip and everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-14 05:36:20 / 2023-07-14 05:50:00 / 14

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