How to Honor Parents When You Feel You Can't?
"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you."1
One person asks, "I know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honor one's father and mother, but how can I do this when they fought like crazy and brought me up in the midst of never-ending conflict where I felt neglected, rejected and trapped?"
In his book, Home Is a Four-Letter Word, R.E. Lybrand talks about several prisoners who were flipping through a merchandise catalog and discussing what they would like to give their mothers as a gift. As they looked at beautiful homes, one wanted to be able to provide such a home for his mother. When looking at a car parked outside one of these homes, another prisoner wished he could purchase a nice car for his mother so she could come and visit him in jail.
Another prisoner just stared blankly at the catalog not saying a word. Upon being asked what he would like to give to his mother, he said in a sorrowful tone, "I wish I could give my mother a more honorable son," grieving the fact that his dishonorable life had dishonored his mother.2
I think this prisoner got it right. I agree in that one of the best ways we can honor even bad parents is by being grateful for whatever good we received from them (the gift of life for example), by not allowing our past and what they did or failed to do to or for us to control our future, and by living such a life that it will both honor them and God. With God's help this we can do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I thank you for the gift of life that came through my parents and for all the good qualities I inherited from them. Help me to see all these qualities, resolve all past hurts caused by them, and forgive them as you have forgiven me for my sins and failures. And help me to so live that my life will honor both them and you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV).
2. R.E. Lybrand, Home is a Four-Letter Word: Preaching Resources to Strengthen Christian Marriages and Families, Inc., CSS Publishing, Lima, Ohio.