Author Topic: A Different Perspective  (Read 487 times)

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Offline FountainPen

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A Different Perspective
« on: December 19, 2011, 12:31:15 PM »
If an adult son (Christian, not living at home -- has his own family etc.), was treating their dad (also Christian) badly (who lives nearby and alone, 65 years old, not invited for family Christmas at son's house when all other members were invited etc.) and there was no response from the son when the dad asks what it is he had done to offend and offer to apologise and help fix it. The son speaks to the dad politely but the minimum that he has to while they're both in church.

Most of the people (Protestants) i know, who also know this family, have advised him to take his son to the church elders for a meeting given that he's not responding to usual methods, because that seems like the biblical thing to do. (Personally i don't think the son will agree to that and it will make a stubborn head even harder). I haven't given this person any advice and don't intend to unless he asks me which is unlikely. My interest is how a different mindset (other than Protestant influenced), would resolve a very practical situation.

It's been like this for 6 months with no clue as to what caused the rift.

The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 12:32:11 PM by FountainPen »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 12:33:59 PM »
If an adult son (Christian, not living at home -- has his own family etc.), was treating their dad (also Christian) badly (who lives nearby and alone, 65 years old, not invited for family Christmas at son's house when all other members were invited etc.) and there was no response from the son when the dad asks what it is he had done to offend and offer to apologise and help fix it. The son speaks to the dad politely but the minimum that he has to while they're both in church.

Most of the people (Protestants) i know, who also know this family, have advised him to take his son to the church elders for a meeting given that he's not responding to usual methods, because that seems like the biblical thing to do. (Personally i don't think the son will agree to that and it will make a stubborn head even harder). I haven't given this person any advice and don't intend to unless he asks me which is unlikely. My interest is how a different mindset (other than Protestant influenced), would resolve a very practical situation.

It's been like this for 6 months with no clue as to what caused the rift.

The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?
Why is praying, asking what offended the son, and not breaking off relations off the table?
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Offline FountainPen

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 12:44:51 PM »
If an adult son (Christian, not living at home -- has his own family etc.), was treating their dad (also Christian) badly (who lives nearby and alone, 65 years old, not invited for family Christmas at son's house when all other members were invited etc.) and there was no response from the son when the dad asks what it is he had done to offend and offer to apologise and help fix it. The son speaks to the dad politely but the minimum that he has to while they're both in church.

Most of the people (Protestants) i know, who also know this family, have advised him to take his son to the church elders for a meeting given that he's not responding to usual methods, because that seems like the biblical thing to do. (Personally i don't think the son will agree to that and it will make a stubborn head even harder). I haven't given this person any advice and don't intend to unless he asks me which is unlikely. My interest is how a different mindset (other than Protestant influenced), would resolve a very practical situation.

It's been like this for 6 months with no clue as to what caused the rift.

The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?
Why is praying, asking what offended the son, and not breaking off relations off the table?

He's tried asking, the son says there is nothing wrong and cuts conversation short saying that he doesn't want an argument so he's not discussing it.
None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain

Offline genesisone

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 12:56:51 PM »
So the son says there's nothing wrong, but admits that an argument is in the offing? Not a good grasp of reality.

I know anything I say may be "Protestant influenced" or at least "influenced by the mostly Protestant heritage of my culture", so I'll limit what I say.

You are very wise to keep silent. I fear that the do-gooders who are giving advice may be doing more harm than good.

I'm concerned about the other members of the family. Do they not recognize the problem? Do they have no influence on either the son or the father? In a way, that bothers me more than the rift between father and son. It looks as though they are taking sides against the father. Of course, I know few of the details and realize that my comment may seem entirely out of line. It really is more a question than a condemnation of anyone.

Are you close enough to encourage another one of the family members to take the lead in this?

Offline FountainPen

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 01:07:34 PM »
So the son says there's nothing wrong, but admits that an argument is in the offing? Not a good grasp of reality.

I know anything I say may be "Protestant influenced" or at least "influenced by the mostly Protestant heritage of my culture", so I'll limit what I say.

You are very wise to keep silent. I fear that the do-gooders who are giving advice may be doing more harm than good.

I'm concerned about the other members of the family. Do they not recognize the problem? Do they have no influence on either the son or the father? In a way, that bothers me more than the rift between father and son. It looks as though they are taking sides against the father. Of course, I know few of the details and realize that my comment may seem entirely out of line. It really is more a question than a condemnation of anyone.

Are you close enough to encourage another one of the family members to take the lead in this?

I think so too which is why i try and stay clear of giving advice but when you're asked directly, it's hard not to when you can see someone is struggling.

No, i don't want to (and can't) get involved on any level.

It's quite a common thing for people to get the elders involved and have a 'meeting' -- in my church it was. There were elders meetings going on about all sorts of relational disputes and in hindsight, i don't think it ever helped really.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 01:11:21 PM by FountainPen »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 01:11:36 PM »
I can give you my phone number. I've reconciled worse situations.
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Offline witega

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 02:14:09 PM »
The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?

The first. Breaking off relations would be a defensive move on the part of the father--at least then the wound would be 'complete' and the son wouldn't have the power to hurt him any further. But the first gives the son the power to continue to wound the father. Now, replace 'son' with 'human being' and 'father' with 'Father', and you'll see why the first is the more Christian (if harder) thing to do.
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Offline FountainPen

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2011, 10:14:28 AM »
The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?

The first. Breaking off relations would be a defensive move on the part of the father--at least then the wound would be 'complete' and the son wouldn't have the power to hurt him any further. But the first gives the son the power to continue to wound the father. Now, replace 'son' with 'human being' and 'father' with 'Father', and you'll see why the first is the more Christian (if harder) thing to do.

You're the first to pick that option. Most are going for the "tough love" approach.

I understand why you'd draw the comparison but there's a time to draw a line surely?

Would this approach apply to a marital situation as well?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 10:16:04 AM by FountainPen »
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Offline witega

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Re: A Different Perspective
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 10:55:52 AM »
The dad is thinking either to accept the situation and be patient and love his son no matter how hard the son tries to hurt him and just pray, because sometimes we have to suffer injustice when we love someone. Or to break off relations completely and tell his son that he will not accept this behaviour from him until the son apologises and comes clean about what's up so that it might be resolved.

From these two options, which would be the best -- most loving -- Christian thing to do from an Orthodox perspective?

The first. Breaking off relations would be a defensive move on the part of the father--at least then the wound would be 'complete' and the son wouldn't have the power to hurt him any further. But the first gives the son the power to continue to wound the father. Now, replace 'son' with 'human being' and 'father' with 'Father', and you'll see why the first is the more Christian (if harder) thing to do.

You're the first to pick that option. Most are going for the "tough love" approach.

I understand why you'd draw the comparison but there's a time to draw a line surely?

Would this approach apply to a marital situation as well?

Yes. I was analogizing from specific Orthodox instruction I have received on marriage when I wrote my original answer.

I'm not surprised most people would choose the second option. The first option is much harder on the father. It is a martyric path. But that's also why it's the Orthodox path.
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For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great