Honor Your Father and Mother

FormerTexan

Administrator
Staff member
I'm betting this command is tough one for many of us. We had a father or mother who was a perpetrator of abuse in one way or another. My mother is one of the reasons I came to this site. She did many things I would deem unworthy of honor. I have many choice things I could say about here that are mighty negative.

I figure God does not give us a command we are unable to fulfill. Somehow we must find a way, but often times it feels impossible.
 
This actually brings up an interesting point. I usually ramble more than I need to. So for the moment, let's just say that things aren't always what they seem.

In our day and age, biology seems to take a huge role. For example, adopted kids. Quite often the foundations of the world are shattered upon learning that they're adopted. But... if they were brought up in a loving home (bear with me), loving parents and family, etc. what changes? Is who mom and dad were up until the adoption revelation somehow no longer the same people? Don't get me wrong, I understand the desire and even sometimes the need to know one's birth parents. This isn't an all-encompassing example and explanation.

The point is: biology isn't everything. And the Bible is actually quite clear on that as well as extremely explicitly Jesus himself.

Is this an easy concept? For most of us in a western culture, it's nearly impossible to grasp. Several years ago, I had a small 3-month stint lost in the equatorial forest in northern Congo-Brazzaville. That experience taught me many many things. One of those things was the fluidity of family. It brought to life some of the concepts of the Biblical text. Namely, just because you didn't provide your chromosomes to a child has no bearing on whether or not it's your son or daughter.

In the end, it comes down to parenting and a true sense of family. And so, just because mom may have carried you for 9 months and reared you in whatever way that happened (obviously pretty bad for you @FormerTexan), it doesn't strictly follow that she was really a mom. Obviously the same applies to a father. It even applies to siblings.

It's the bond that matters. The love that counts. Not the biology.
 
"honor" does not mean "obey" - if it is a safety thing, you can honor them by being the best person you can be despite the abuse and despite their upbringing.
 
I figure God does not give us a command we are unable to fulfill.
"honor" does not mean "obey"
I like this because it is something I have pondered as I was raped and abused for many years beginning at an early age. The sex abuse was from friends of my parents and my mother.
God is love. God's "commands" were and are for our benefit and for the benefit of the human race. I have head the interpretation of this command to mean that we provide for our parents in their old age. You do not have to have warm and fuzzy feelings for them. You cannot command yourself to have warm feelings toward people who used and abused you (at least I cannot). Joyce Meyer was repeatedly raped by her father; yet she provided for her parents in their old age. It can also mean for you to respect their personhood even though they did not respect yours. Do not return evil for evil. It does not mean you have to place yourself in a position where they can continue to hurt you - or others. You do not have to obey them in instances where you know better; you do not have to believe lies they tell when you know the truth. Of course, as a child, we had no choice but to do what they said, but hopefully we were able to maintain our understanding of truth - sadly, mental illness and the blurring of truth can result when the one(s) upon whom you depend for life itself live a lie and teach those lies to their children.
God is love. The Bible, I believe, is man's interpretation of God's love for the authors in their particular time and place. The original language and the context are not always 100% applicable today, but the principles of love are eternal as is His love.
Anyhow, I hope this adds a perspective that may be helpful regarding what it means to "honor" you father and mother when one (or both) of them were perpetrators of sexual violence against their own children.
 
I'm betting this command is tough one for many of us. We had a father or mother who was a perpetrator of abuse in one way or another. My mother is one of the reasons I came to this site. She did many things I would deem unworthy of honor. I have many choice things I could say about here that are mighty negative.

I figure God does not give us a command we are unable to fulfill. Somehow we must find a way, but often times it feels impossible.
FormerTexan, this is a powerful question. When I have questions like these, I pray about them constantly. I am a firm believer that God is the "hearer of prayer." (PSALM 65:2) He will answer your question better than anyone. I know that God would never ask us to do something that is beyond our limit. Also he will give us his Holy Spirit to endure trials. I pray that you have the strength to endure this trail. Also, he notices every effort we make to follow his commandments.

"Happy is the man who keeps on enduring trial..." (James 1:12).
 

Rurai

Registrant
When I was a child my mum would quote this commandment often, I used to feel defeated, it seemed my experience and feelings were wrong, it compounded my shame. My dad was a nasty violent pedo and she wasn’t much better I couldn’t honour them, honour definitely involves respect and that is something I could not and still cannot feel for them.

This commandment still makes no sense to me, I do not feel that my child must honour me, why should she? I have obligations to give her the best childhood I can, she didn’t ask to be born and I don’t see that she has any obligations toward me. I always felt and still feel that the commandment is unfair why wasn’t there a commandment telling parents how to behave towards children since it is parents who have the power throughout childhood.

Guess I still feel angry remembering my mothers triumph when she used the power of that commandment.
 

Fitz

Registrant
I have had the biggest struggle with this one... "Honor thy Father and thy Mother." All my growing up years, this was thrown in my face implying unconditional obedience & respect was their right or it would be my loss for all eternity. But though I obeyed as much as any of my siblings, I had no respect for my parents as people. Oh, sure, hard workers, good managers, not outwardly horrible, but they never "warmed" to me and always made me feel I was a disappointment & a failure. That I never challenged them or argued with them says more about my timid personality & low-self-esteem than any "respect." But outwardly I always treated them respectfully even when they did nothing to deserve it. I felt empowered when I was able to do so no matter how poorly they treated me. I was gutted when they chose not to believe me about the abuse. Devastated. But I still treated them politely and with outward respect. I'm now glad I did.... I have no regrets.

I have reached the conclusion I do not have to respect, obey, or adore them, but by treating them civilly, courteously, and yet distantly, I am doing what is asked of me. And I know deep down they know they failed.

I love my parents despite our history. I know they have their good points and I understand their weak points better. I honor what I am able to. But on my part, I know I have no regrets for anything I have done or said to them. for me, that is enough.
 
why wasn’t there a commandment telling parents how to behave towards children since it is parents
While not a commandment, there are lots of instructions for parents against aggravating children and in general against all adults causing harm to children.
 
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