create in me a clean heart

Love Jesus in Order to Love Your Parents was a sermon my husband JG Zoellner preached in Manchester, Connecticut (in English). He probably preached it in Montreal at l’Église réformée St-Jean in French. He used the 5th commandment from Exodus 20, Ephesians 6.1-3 and Matthew 10.35-37. It is amazing to me how useful this sermon is to me now as I live with my mother-in-law and try to work these verses out in my situation. I am risking not being “worthy of Christ”. I am risking not showing true mercy as it has been shown to me. I am risking not having a heart that is full of God’s love by not sharing it with my mother-in-law. I am accutely aware of the challenge. How I honour Dorothy is showing how I honour God. How I honour God is showing how I honour Dorothy. I am commanded to have hallowed sympathy for my neighbour (1835, John Angell James). It matters who I love. It matters that I love God more than her, or my own life. I don’t have to believe that honouring her “in the Lord” means she has to be a Christian. I can honour by being “in the Lord”. Then she will know the mercy OF the Lord. I am free to speak to her graciously. I am free to speak about her graciously with others when she is not there. Jesus has freed me, so I am not obligated by Satan to be angry, bitter, or despising of her failures and weaknesses. This is the hard part about my situation, because we both in some way reject each other. She rejects me because I have stronger biblical knowledge and have applied it to my life. I reject her because she has weak biblical knowledge, so has not applied it to her life. I have also never worshiped and adored her, but neither has she adored me. i am linked together with other Christians by the blood of our Saviour. I am linked by marriage to the Zoellner family. I have the priviledge of being in both situations, which together affords me great government and support. So all is well. God chose to put me here. With my own parents, the two families overlapped. I probably needed to have more opportunities to use my spiritual gifts in their church. We were free to honour my parents and help them finish their days in love, care and dignity. (death is never good, however it happens). JG said in his sermon that God wants me to submit myself to Dorothy’s authority, but he himself is the authority in the household now. I must submit to both, but in the Lord. I will have the strength through prayer to bear with her weaknesses, since it pleases the Lord for me to do so and for JG to govern her with the strong arm of God. As in the Grimm Brother’s tale, an unfortunate old man, who was eating behind the stove out of a cheap wooden trough because his daughter and son-in-law were disgusted with his table eating habits has a 4 year old grandson who is making a wooden trough for his parents to eat out of when he gets older and he is disgusted with them. We all treat each other with disdain and disgust, but Jesus does not. That is why we need to be “in the Lord” to love anyone or to respect the authority over us in society.


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