I know we all wonder why and how is it that family members can be so cruel.

The word cruel itself conjures up so many pictures in our heads, some awful events happening thousands of miles away and some much nearer to home.

We know that estrangement/alienation occurs for many different reasons, separation/divorce, bereavement, domestic violence in the home, drug/alcohol dependancy and family fall out.

I want to focus this morning on family fall out.

What happens to make our own children decide that they are going to cut us out of their lives and that of their children?

These adult children were babies themselves not so long ago, as parents we tried our best to bring them up to the best of our ability. We loved them, cared for them and hopefully taught them what is important in life.

We looked after them when they were poorly, we sat by their beds all night to keep them safe, our lives were put on hold whilst we gave them the most precious thing of all, out time.

Of course we got things wrong, and possibly if we had that time again, we might do things differently, that doesn’t make us bad parents.

Some of us may have faced some difficult times in our lives, some may have had a physical illness to contend with and some with a mental illness, whilst trying to keep going for the sake of our family.

Do some adult children feel that need to make us suffer now for the past, are they still making us pay for being ill, or for making mistakes?

It is beyond my understanding why anyone would want to cause so much pain over someone who has brought them into this world, has nurtured and loved them. I guess I never will.

Can they have no compassion at all, do they really know what they are doing to their parents?

Of course the frightening answer is, yes they do know it is a deliberate act of cruelty, an act of power and control.

Do they take delight in seeing their parents falling apart, do they delight in listening to the despair in their parents voice, do they enjoy inflicting such pain?

I have to assume they do.

I pray they never become those parents who are facing this tirade of cruelty by their own children.

Our own parents are not here forever, life is short, time runs out.

If you are an adult child who is making your parents pay this way for something, remember you may not get another chance to try and make amends. Your actions of today will live with you for the rest of your life, are you prepared to carry it with you forever? Your actions are having the most devastating affect on others.

All too often I have to stand by and watch parents going through the most enormous pain unable to make the pain go away.

If you don’t start to communicate in an adult way, there will be no way back, and it will be too late.