God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?
Job 35 & 36
1 Corinthians 4.1-21
Honoring Parents Who Were Less Than Perfect
Buy the Truth & Do Not Sell It
Matthew 13.45-46 says:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
We should be willing to get God’s truth no matter what the cost and once we have gotten it, we should not be willing to give it up, not for wealth or fame or popularity or anything else.
Properly Honoring Parents as Adults
“Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old” (v. 22).
“Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice” (v. 25).
As a counselor, some of the most frequent problems I see in marriages involve a failure to properly “leave and cleave.” Spouses fail to make their husbands and wives the primary human relationship. They run first to their parents when there is a problem instead of communicating biblically with their spouses. This hinders the one-flesh relationship God intended.
They may continue to support their parents financially against their spouse’s wishes or neglect their own family unit in other ways.
But just as serious is a failure to properly honor parents as these two verses command. This often comes as a result of actual or perceived parental failures.
Getting Over an Imperfect Childhood
We live in a fallen world. I don’t know anyone who grew up in a perfect home. I know I made mistakes, many of them, when raising my children. So did my parents and your parents.
I also know many adult children who refuse to see their childhood through God’s eyes. Instead, often because of unforgiveness and bitterness, they continue to view their childhood through a childish lens. As children, we all have a narrow understanding of the world. We only know how decisions and circumstances affected us. We don’t usually see the big picture.
Children may blame a single mom for leaving a marriage and destroying their home without ever knowing that the father was an adulterer or an abuser, sometimes because their mother didn’t want to destroy their relationship with their father.
Children in blended families sometimes resent a step-parent without ever appreciating the difficulties, financial strains, and sacrifice parents and step-parents make. All they can see is that this person was NOT their biological parent. That thinking breeds resentment and rebellion in childhood and a lack of grace and thankfulness in adulthood. They may only see what they perceived as unfairness without considering their own difficult, rebellious attitudes and how that complicated the relationship.
One of the biggest issues is favoritism and perceived favoritism. Certainly, parents need to avoid sinfully favoring or comparing one child to another. Parents are not blameless in this. Continue reading