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‘I hate my father’

Friday, February 19, 2016: Yesterday, I got this message. It said, “Please could you pray for a 15-year-old boy whom I teach. His name is Lawrence. He is normally very boisterous and outgoing but last year his dad abandoned the mother, sister, and Lawrence.
“The dad went to live in Chingola with a new wife, although I don’t know if it’s a legal marriage or a traditional African marriage. Today Lawrence was crying in class and we had a long chat. He has said he hates his dad, but it’s obviously too much for him to handle.”
Marriage interference is a very sad but common phenomenon in Zambia. So many men and women entertain ongoing sexual relationships with other people’s spouses and this inevitably leads to serious disruptions in the marriage bond. Adultery is never right.
It is not only single people who go after married people. It is also married people who go after single people, especially because their world of fantasy falls apart when they realise they did not marry a perfect person after all. They start searching for love elsewhere.
The Bible is clear on this matter. “Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4). So, anyone who is God-fearing should know, this is a no-go area.
Whatever excuse Lawrence’s dad had for abandoning his wife and children to go to Chingola and start a new life with this woman, it is not right. Marriage is for life. Whatever went wrong in the marriage can be fixed as long as both parties are willing to be helped.
The breakdown of a marriage also harms the children emotionally, especially when they are in their teenage years. To begin with, they would have witnessed the arguments and quarrels as one spouse was trying to “fix” the other and the situation was only getting worse.
Sometimes these quarrels deteriorated into actual physical abuse and the children would have seen fights that etch themselves into their minds. The trauma is indescribable. It is one thing to see fights on a television screen. It is another to see fights live.
Lawrence probably heard the quarrels and saw the fights. One cannot imagine the damage that was done to him mentally and emotionally. There must have been many nights when he went to sleep with tears making his pillow wet and asking God, “Why? Why?”
To a child, the two most wonderful people in the world are his mother and his father. With the two of them there, a child feels secure and hardly ever worries about anything. This is how life is supposed to be. That is how God wired us all and this is what makes us happy.
So, when the two most wonderful people in the world fail to get along, a child’s mind goes into a state of painful confusion. The child cannot figure out who is bad and who is good because both parents are supposed to be good. Parents are supposed to be friends.
The pain is even worse when one parent ditches the other and moves on. The child fails to process this. There is no reason in the world that is good enough for this—absolutely none. There is nothing like the emotional whirlwind that the child has to battle.
That is the reason why Lawrence says, “I hate my father.” You cannot blame him for feeling like this. He must have heard the quarrels, seen the fights, and now only to be told that his father has abandoned them for the love of another woman in another town.
Once this hatred in a child’s heart is not handled properly, you are breeding a citizen who will soon do a lot of harm to friends and society. Many children go through school with such bitterness. They end up in the hands of the police, the courts, and in prison.
If a child can hate the very person who brought him into the world, who can he fail to hate? His faith in human beings is destroyed. He fails to trust and love other people. Those who are going through difficult marriages must bear this in mind. Do not destroy your kids!
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