It’s easy enough for someone to lay down the law about how a Christian should honor his or her parents. But any given situation is not always as straightforward as it looks from the outside. I know. For the last ten years trying to understand how to honor my abusive parents as God would have me do has been my primary spiritual work. I intensely long to live out God’s deepest truths in this. Today (that’s all I can speak for at the moment) this is how I do it:
1) Forgive them. There is no greater freedom I’ve experienced than laying aside the resentment from the injustice committed against me. When more pain bubbles up I am blessed again with the freedom to forgive.
2) Acknowledge their importance in my life and the good things they have done for me. The Hebrew word for honor is also used to mean heavy or weighty. I am literally made up of the genetic code of my mother and father. And while that thought mostly terrifies me, it helps to remember my parents were created in God’s image. No sin they commit can change who God really had in mind when He made them.
3) Live the truth. Keeping family secrets and living family lies is not honoring. For me it is idolatry. At this moment I am not able to keep in contact with my parents and still live in the truth. One day, I hope I will.
4) Stand for justice. I honor my parents by writing on this blog and by speaking out against child abuse. My parents were abused children who had no one to rescue them.
5) Be an honorable person. I try to live in a way that would make them proud if they were able to see things clearly, even though they don’t know about it.
How do you honor your parents?