Though I am a believer in God and a follower of Christ, those who have taken the time to read through these posts on “Divorce and PAS” may have noticed something uncharacteristic from my other writings found throughout this site: an absence of biblical commentary or scriptural references which permeates my other posts.
I have done this on purpose. Why? Because I have learned something in my long pilgrimage on this planet: hurting people who might otherwise find help in some of my insights may get turned off from my biblical world view and discount what I have to say due to a preconceived prejudice of their own non-biblical world views.
And something else: it takes great skill in communicating with others, either through video, writing or speaking, to effectively share one’s spiritual perspectives without coming across as fanatical, overly judgmental, or in an annoyingly “super spiritual” tone that so often turns people away from what we have to share.
Since I don’t consider myself a particularly gifted or skilled writer or communicator, I have to be humble enough to recognize that my writing style (oftentimes polemic in nature) might not be suitable for this particular subject matter and I wish to help as many people as I can by adopting a more neutral and factual based style of writing.
There are dangers, of course, in taking this approach. The main one is the risk of not giving the complete picture of what is happening “behind the scenes” of this pathology that has destroyed so many innocent lives: the children harmed by PAS and the targeted parent who has lost his or her relationship with their beloved children.
Most of us agree that humans are far more than just the sum of our body parts. Yes, we all know that we are flesh and blood organisms and that we are physical beings and that we exist in a physical world. Many believe this is the totality of who we are, and when we die, we simply cease to exist, are buried in the ground, and “lights out.” End of story.
But many of us do not believe when we take our last breaths that we cease to exist. In fact, others believe, as spiritual beings, we are far more than simply the fleshly house of skin, bone, tissues and DNA that make up our physical bodies: we are spiritual beings possessing souls and spirits that will continue after we physically die.
If we are truly spiritual as well as physical beings, solutions to our problems must be addressed not only in a material/scientific manner, but also from a spiritual/biblical perspective. To fail to address the spiritual aspects of something as important as PAS would be, in my opinion, an almost total failure of understanding exactly what we are facing and how best to deal with this pathology.
Jesus, I believe, perfectly summed this up when He said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) Interestingly, when you read this verse in context, Jesus was speaking about being set free from the slavery of sin (see verses 34-36).
Here is a critical point: if people are truly slaves to sin, then the solution to this devastating problem is truth; the key to unlocking the handcuffs and leg irons that are used to enslave humanity is truth…biblical truth.
You might be scratching your head and asking: “Roy, how does this apply to PAS?” The answer is found in the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 New Living Translation)
“Would you have peace, joy and success in life? Make it a life-long priority throughout your days to waste no time in showing due honor to your parents.”
In the New Testament, we read: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—’so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)
First, this is one of the great Ten Commandments, a set of biblical, holy precepts that much of Western civilization was built upon and is arguably the greatest foundation upon which a nation can be founded upon. These Ten Commandments were so important in the founding of the United States that they were at one time prominently displayed in each and every public school in the nation. Please watch the video posted above to learn important reasons why honoring parents is critical in both a child’s and a nation’s health, stability and success.
Second, notice the importance of this particular commandment: it is the first commandment with a promise attached to it: ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—’so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)
In other words, honoring one’s father and mother is directly related to the child’s failure or success in life, or whether or not they will live lives full of light and blessings or be hampered by darkness and curses.
What happens in PAS is that the affected children are brainwashed into dishonoring one of their parents, usually the father. They are taught to disrespect and dishonor their father by their complete and total rejection of him and his influence over them. The behavior PAS affected children have toward their fathers is often one of hostile and open rebellion and disrespect toward him and his loving authority and care over their lives.
Third, notice the ranking in this commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” It does not say, “Honor your mother and father.” Is this ranking of the father first simple happenstance, or is there something divinely important in why the Lord put honoring one’s father first and then the mother second?
I’m not a theologian so I’m unable to speak with great authority on this question, but I can state my opinion: there was no mistake in the Lord ranking the honor given to both parents first to the father and then to the mother: it was done on purpose for a specific reason.
Fathers are obviously male figures in our society. God is our heavenly Father, also a male figure. There is never a mention of a “heavenly mother” in the Bible, and though we know that God’s character is a divine mixture of both male and female attributes, the feminine nature of God is rarely specifically emphasized as His “maleness” usually is.
I don’t believe it is any coincidence that “maleness” in our society is under attack and has been so for quite a number of decades. Though this post is not intended to go deep into this phenomena, it is worth a brief notation. This mentioned, an attack on the father’s authority and importance in the family hierarchy through the pathogen of PAS is similarly a direct attack on the “maleness” of our heavenly Father in the family dynamic. Rebellion, rejection and disrespect to one’s earthly father is a simultaneous rebellion, rejection and disrespect towards one’s heavenly Father.
Why are children affected by PAS so often deeply wounded and psychologically damaged? Though the answer can not be answered in a couple of sentences, in a nutshell it is because their rejection and dishonoring of one of their parents (again, usually the father) brings a divine curse upon their lives, a plunge into spiritual darkness that wrecks unbelievable carnage and havoc throughout that child’s life.
This is a vast topic, one that would need lengthy books to adequately plumb. But biblically speaking, honoring one’s parents is repeatedly emphasized throughout both the Old and New Testaments as being one of the primary gateways in a child’s life for blessing and fulfillment. In fact, as mentioned above, it is inextricably linked to the child finding the spiritual promise of happiness and meaning in their lives.
Thus, it can be no coincidence that the primary target of PAS is directed against fathers, the very gateways of happiness and fulfillment for a child’s life. Viewed from this perspective, one of the vexing general mysteries of the relentless and unceasing attacks against fathers in today’s society is answered.
One of the defining aspects of Judaism is their emphasis on honoring one’s parents, a ancient tradition passed down throughout their generations. This is strongly emphasized because of the importance of the Fifth Commandment prominently found in the middle of the Ten Commandments.
What, though, does it exactly mean to “honor one’s parents?” In an article titled, “The Meaning of Honor,” Jacob Immanuel Schochet writes this:
“What constitutes honor? One must provide them with food and drink, clothing and garments, to conduct them home and take them out, and rise before them. And one must provide them with all their needs cheerfully: even if one should feed them daily the most delectable foods but does so with ill grace, one incurs Divine punishment. And conversely, if one makes his father do hard labor but the intention is good, viz. to save him from a worse fate — and he appeases his father by showing him that his intention is good — one inherits the world to come.
“Also, one must perform for parents all such services as a servant performs for his master; and one is duty bound to render personal services even at personal expense.
“To what lengths should the duty of honoring parents go? Even were they to take his purse full of gold, and cast it into the sea in his presence, he must not shame them, manifest grief in their presence, or display any anger, but accept the Divine decree without demur! [Shulchan Aruch, ibid, 240:4ff.]”
As you can see, such honor directed towards one parents is rarely modeled in American society today, yet this was not always the case throughout history in the United States. Look no further than some of the more popular children’s television sitcoms in the late fifties/early sixties that held fathers in the highest esteem, like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”