One of the latest news stories to go viral is about the obituary of a woman who was apparently abusive to her family.
Here is a link to the obituary
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Anyone expecting a sweet remembrance of the life and times of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick was in for a surprise if they opened the obituary pages this week in the local newspaper.
“On behalf of her children who she abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children,” the scathing obituary begins.
Now circling the globe on the Internet, the obit was written by Johnson-Reddick’s adult children, whose horror stories prompted Nevada to become one of the first states to allow children to sever parental ties back in the 1980s.
While many people are laughing at this…how the adult children vented their spleen in the public obituary venue, to me it is not so funny (though I admit I did laugh at first). In retrospect, and thinking a bit more about this sad case, I realize that these adult children have still not healed. Their hearts are bitter. Not that it hurts their now late mother for them to be bitter, but it hurts them.
Jesus told us to “forgive” those who abuse us…but what does “forgiveness” entail? My opinion of this using the story of Joseph and the Coat of many colors as an example, http://familyarrested.com/a-biblical-view-of-forgiveness-versus-restoration-of-trust/ is that we get the bitterness out of our own hearts, but we do NOT have to trust or associate with this person who has abused us.
From my own personal experience at the bitterness I have felt toward others who deliberately abused me, I finally came to realize when I would lie awake nights fantasizing how to “get even” with those people and make them suffer, shame them, etc. it finally dawned on me that bitterness of this magnitude was as someone once said “like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”
I style myself a “Christian” though I am far from living up to the standards of that name, but I do try to obtain some wisdom from the Bible and from trying to increase my practices. One of those things is that I realized that all the commands in the Bible for us to do or not to do, are not just arbitrary hoops for us to jump through to “take the fun out of life.” Every command to abstain from something I have found is GOOD ADVICE any way you slice it. Read the book of Proverbs and you will see what I mean. Also every command to do something is also for OUR good as well. The command to forgive our enemies and the command to pray for those who abuse us seem at first glance arbitrary and against nature…and yes, they are against nature, but they are not arbitrary in the least. In the angry state I was in against my son and my mother, I had little desire to “pray” for blessings for them, but because I do try to follow the commands of the Bible, I prayed for them. At first I did not “mean” these prayers at all, it was simply a rote exercise in obedience. I actually wrote the prayers out and read them aloud, knowing that God knew I was not the least sincere, but guess what? After a time, I began to mean them, to sincerely feel the desire that God bless these people. That he heal them.
Did that mean I wanted a relationship with them? Absolutely not! Did it mean I would trust them again? Absolutely not! But by praying for my offending family members, I helped heal myself. God blessed me with peace and took away the bitterness. It was that that made me finally realize that I had to work hard at eliminating the bitterness from my heart in order for me to heal.
It makes me sad that the children of this woman who was apparently very abusive and who engendered a terrible wrath and bitterness in the hearts of her children and others still suffer from the terrible emotional wounds she inflicted.
I pray that those adult children will find healing and peace, and be able to get the bitterness out of their hearts toward this woman,