Many marriages have been ruined because a spouse has never been able to resolve a relationship with one of their parents and that gets taken out on their husband or wife or the kids.
The fifth commandment tells us that we are to honor our parents, but how do you do that? That depends on what stage of life you’re in. At each stage of life, this command has different applications.
As a child, I honor my parents by obeying and respecting them. Paul said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with a promise…” (Ephesians 6:1-2)
As long as you are dependent upon your parents for food, clothing, shelter or insurance, you are living under their authority, and you are to do so with grace and gratitude.
Proverbs 19:26 tells us “A son who mistreats his father or mother is a public disgrace.” (The Living Bible) I am to honor my parents by obedience and by showing them respect.
As a young adult, I honor my parents by accepting and appreciating them. As we get older, we are more aware of the faults and shortcomings of our parents. We start noticing our parents’ hangups and shortcomings.
Part of this is known as adolescent arrogance, where the child starts thinking they know more than their parents, but part of it is based on reality. As we get older, we begin to realize there are some things we know that our parents don’t know. It happens.
Our parents weren’t perfect, but it is important for us to learn to accept them despite their weaknesses. This is something you will have to learn to do in most cases. It probably won’t come naturally. You may have to work at it.
Most of the time, it is easier to focus on our differences and their deficiencies rather than choosing acceptance and appreciation. Unfortunately, that is our natural tendency.
Acceptance does not mean pretending everything is perfect. It doesn’t mean ignoring issues or mistakes. It doesn’t even mean agreeing with everything or everyone.
Your parents may have been excellent, they may have been mediocre or maybe they were poor, but regardless of who they were or how they lived, the fact is your parents gave you something that nobody else in the world could give you — they gave you life.
God used them to bring you into the world. You owe them your life, regardless of their parenting skills. That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.