Our Forming Influences
with Martha Kilpatrick and John Enslow
(J) Well, Martha and I are on the road in North Carolina, so if you hear GPS noises in the back of people telling us directions of where to go, or you hear the hum of the engine or street sounds, you’ll know what it is. But we are traveling, and we need a podcast for this weekend, and we have been kind of stewing on a podcast for weeks really. It’s been at least three weeks, if not more. And the Lord has just… has been developing a message, and birthing a message. And so, we wanted to bring it to you today, and it’ll go over the next couple weeks. I’m believing that there’s going to be a lot here that we’re going to discuss. So, Martha, how would you like to introduce the topic?
(M) I want to say that for years and years, this is the subject that I deal with in private with people, and that our Body deals with. And many of the things I’m going to share are insights from our Body. We’ve dealt… We’ve been on this in our prayer time and in our meeting times lately too, really for weeks. We are just seeing the biggest picture of this issue. And basically, the major sin we have to deal with is bitterness. Bitterness is not just unforgiveness, it’s having an offense that you stew over and you keep, and makes you hate. And Hebrews 12:15… Oh now it’s started to rain over the mountains… “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God.” And if you don’t take the grace of God for your situation, you’ll fall short into this issue of bitterness. “That no root of bitterness springs up, causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” And sometimes we have people in the Body of Christ, and we don’t know how bitter they are, but we’re being defiled by their bitterness without knowing it. And most of the bitterness that we find… In fact I really believe the source of most bitterness is offenses with parents. And we… You know it’s called parental issues, and we deal with parental issues a lot, the sins of the parent to the child, and the effects of that. But you know I had a young believer recently trying to deal with some offense; I don’t know that it was parent. I don’t remember what it was, but she immediately, the Holy Spirit took her to her own responses. And it was just amazing because that’s our problem. Our problem is not bondage to parents; its bitterness against parents. So there are two commands in the Bible now. Jesus reiterated the command strongly to honor father and mother, that the days of your life may be long. So, let me read this in Proverbs 30, starting verse 11, “There’s a kind of man (or person), who curses his father and does not bless his mother. There’s a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness. There is a kind, oh how lofty are his eyes, and his eyelids are raised in arrogance. There is a kind of man (or person) whose teeth are like swords, and jaw teeth like knives to devour the meek, the afflicted from the earth, and the needy from among men.” The next verse doesn’t seem to be connected, but it is. “The leech two daughters give, give.” And then verse 17 says, “The eye that mocks a father, and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” And that means when once the ravens and the eagles begin to eat the eyes, it’s death; it’s when the creature is dead. So there is a blindness and a death that comes to you if you scorn hate, are bitter with parents. And I’m really asking the Lord to make this as huge and as powerful as we’re seeing it in private. It’s just the biggest issue of life, isn’t it, John?
(J) It is the issue of life. I believe that it’s the core issue that every single human being has to deal with and will face. There’s… it’s inevitable, and it is inescapable. You will face this issue because we all have parents, we’ve all been birthed into this earth, and we all have offenses that manifest in different ways.
(M) …and follow us through our lives. They enter our parenting, our marriages, our relationships and our Christianity. And I had a couple of recent insights that have seemed to be a terrific help. A young man was talking to me about his discovery of his fathers’ extreme wrong. And he said to me, “I just don’t know how to balance the really sins of the parent against the command to honor.” Because there are things in parents that you, should stand up to and address. There are things that should be said. And he had said some things. And I said, “You know, I really believe that when you receive your parents as God’s choice, and honor God about your parents, that everything falls into place.” But to come to that, to come to that sovereignty and that realization, and basically that surrender, is a tremendous work. I’ve seen people take forty years to do it. I’ve seen people take as year to do it. It can haunt you if you had a bad time in childhood. It can haunt you into every area of your life until you become what… that which you hate. And so, it is the basic issue to be dealt with. And somebody in our Bible study said the other morning, the parents are the first introduction to God; they are your training ground.
(J) Flawed as they are, they are the training ground, period.
(M) Yeah. But it’s so difficult to see that our response is our problem. And most of the time if people have extreme bitterness and unforgiveness, you can trace it back to the parental dealing. And if people have blame, and they don’t take responsibility for their problems, for their sins and wrongs and errors and failures, you can usually trace it back to blame of parents for who they are. And somebody asked, wrote and asked me the other day, where is that scripture about parents and children being distinct in their sin. And it’s Ezekiel 18. It says, “No more will you say the father eats sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” “For every man…” It goes on to say, every person, will suffer the consequences of their own sin. And what it’s saying is, you cannot claim ‘influence’ because we have a free choice. We are born sinners, so we’re always going to choose the wrong until the Lord comes into our lives. But if you have an integrity in you and a sense of responsibility, you will understand that what you deal with is your own response and your own responsibility. And that is the only way to come out. I spoke with someone this morning, and the Lord said to tell her this, “Very important Martha, you’ve got to tell her this, and you’ve got to insist on it.” And it was, your problem was, you were not willing. It wasn’t that you couldn’t come to God, or you couldn’t forgive, or you couldn’t bow, it was that you weren’t willing. And she so ‘got it’ that she said, I have blamed Satan, and I have blamed God. And I said if you don’t ‘get it’, that it is your response, and you have to deal with it that way. And you do have to forgive legitimate wrongs. Every son and daughter has to forgive parents. Go ahead.
(J) Let’s just lay the foundation of this entire message as saying that there is not a parent on earth, ok, there’s not a single one who has not wronged their child. I mean it is impossible. We are human, we’re flawed. And you know, it reminds me of the scripture that says “If you being evil, giving good gifts…”
(GPS in background)
(J) So every single parent being evil…Ok we’re just because of the fallk…It’s impossible. So, we’re not coming to this discussion with people at an un-level footing. Every single parent has done wrong. The degrees, yes, they are different, but there’s not a single parent who has not wronged their child.
(GPS in background)
(M) That’s so true, John. Being a parent is one of the most painful things because of regret. And I’ve had to ask my children forgiveness, and every parent does. And I think there’s a tendency in the son and daughter to decide that they know better and are better than the parents. And some of the most terrific pits we fall into is because we believe we would never be ‘that way’. (Martha laughs)
(M) We would never do ‘that’. I know how to do it better than you. And it’s just… It’ll ruin your life. These, these parental things will ruin your life for no reason, and you’ll be held accountable.
(J) Well, it just lays you in a position as a parent. I’m not a parent, but it lays you in the position of a parent for your dependence on God. So the entire design of it is wonderful, because of the fact that in order to raise your children you have to be dependent. And you have to be dependent in the Blood to cover where you weren’t correct, and you know.
(M) Yes, yes you do. And it’s the hardest place to really access God’s forgiveness. But I also… The other insight I had recently is from the statement that‘when you were a child you had everything you needed’. And in one sense that’s true, and in another sense it’s not true. For yourself, for your soul perhaps you didn’t have everything you needed, but from the purpose of God, you did. And what we’re seeing in our midst is such a broad picture of God’s sovereignty over parents. I think the Holy Spirit is giving us something that I pray we can express, because it is the awesome sovereignty of God over every situation that the believer is in, in family and parenting. And Roman’s 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” And what I’ve seen is, everything in your childhood is perfect for the purpose God has for His Son in your life. And that’s in that verse of Roman’s 8:28. It’s for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose, and are fitting into that purpose, everything about your parents works out to serve God and ‘for you’. One of the things I can tell is that my mother’s death, when I was fourteen, devastated me. But out of that particular pain and those circumstances… formed who I am, and gave me, I’ve recently seen, it gave me the ‘heart of a mother’ to the Body of Christ. I really know that my ministry, and most of my people that walk with me, are my children in spiritual terms. Paul was a ‘spiritual father’ to people who had a Father. Well, there’s a sense in which I’m a representative of God’s ‘Motherhood’; I’ll say that. But in so much of dealing with parental issues is coming under, coming to believe the sovereignty of God, don’t you think John?
(J) So are you saying that even someone’s abuse from neglect or ‘whatever’ is sovereignly ordained to form and fashion someone? Is that what you’re saying?
(M) Yes, exactly. And I know that things in my childhood, that you might consider ‘wrongs’, and some things that were very right. My, my childhood had some deep measure of respect for my person, and those things have formed God’s purpose for His Son. In other words, John, it’s not about ‘me’. And if it remains ‘about me,’ that is the ground of bitterness, discontent, and taking an offense against God for your parents, because ultimately if you have an offense about parents, it’s really with God.