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This Week at JMPC 10.14.18

In the movie, “Moonstruck”, Loretta is engaged to Johnny. Johnny tells her that he must go to Italy and care for his dying mother before the wedding can take place. He goes but is reluctant to tell his dying mother that he is getting married. Why is Johnny reluctant? The implication is that the news will hasten her death. She will no longer be Johnny’s highest priority. But when he finally tells her, she has a “miraculous” recovery. She begins to care for him again like the old days. It is then that Johnny decides that he will not marry Loretta because his mother has recovered and resumed her place as Johnny’s highest priority. This sub-plot of Moonstruck is a fascinating illustration of parental use of guilt to manipulate children – even adult children. The mother knowingly uses her position as mother to manipulate Johnny into doing her will. She is somehow “guilting” him into submission. That he submits is, in his mind, “honoring” her. That the logic of mother and son is tortured and is almost impossible to follow is irrelevant. Is that what the Fifth Commandment requires? Honoring mom by doing her will? Such guilt-tripping by parents is an old trick and common. This from Psychology Today: No weapon in the arsenal of a controlling person is as strong as the guilt message. Daughters or sons with poor boundaries almost always internalize guilt messages leveled at them by their mother [or father]; they obey guilt-inducing statements that try to make them feel bad. Consider these: • “How could you do this to me after all I’ve done for you?” … • “How can you abandon me like this?” … • “You have no idea how much I’ve sacrificed for you.” … • “Doesn’t the Bible say ‘Honor your parents’?” This is the message of Johnny’s mother.
While the Bible does say that we are to honor our father and mother, it does not mean enslaving yourself to manipulating parents. So, what does it mean? You might be really surprised! It is not what you think. Come and find out when Pastor Jeff preaches “Family Values” based on Exodus 20: 1; 12 on Sunday October 14 at 8:30 and 11 at John McMillan Presbyterian Church. We will look forward to seeing you.

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