Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tough Questions

Here is the question I'm currently asking of everyone I know:

You’re familiar with God's command (5th of the Big 10) to honor our parents, which carries with it a promise of long life, right?

I’m wondering what does that look like?
And what if your parents were abusive crack addicts?
And why can’t we really point to people's life spans and prove the long life part?

Heavy, I know. But if you have 2 cents to share on this, I’d love to hear it.
Heard any good teachings on this topic?


  1. Wow, that is a loaded question!

    Well, my little two cents. . .

    My mom had no business having children and thankfully she only had me to mess up. I can think of specific instances that I saw or that I heard of where she didn't honor her parents. She died at the age of 52 with cancer. Was it because of the lack of honor? Well, my grandfather was in witchcraft and pronounced many curses on his family, not to mention, the whole sins of the father being visited on his offspring how many generations. I believe that accepting Christ breaks those curses by the way.

    Now, in my life. My mother basically pimped me out to different men begining before Kindergarten, neglected me more than I find imaginable, and dumped me off just about any where so that she wasn't saddled with the responsibility. I was 13 before I found out that my life was not normal and oh so far from ok and I learned that from my father who ran with the Hells Angles motorcycle club. I think you get the picture.

    I chose to honor my mother even before I became a Christian. I have absolutely no explaination as to why. It took me 3 years after giving my life to Christ to be able to fully forgive her. Without that I don't believe I would have been able to provide end of life care to her. So, till the end, I honored her regardless of her actions even after I became an adult. Will I live a long life because of that?

    I think that there are so many factors that play into these things. Even if you didn't honor your parents, what happens if you repent? What about generational "sins"? Or even things that a person may get into without knowledge? I believe that a long life is contingent on alot of things, not just the one-"if I honor my parents". And what about the curses you heap on yourself if you dont'?

    In the end, God is sovereign.

    God Blessed!

  2. I don't know what to say and have nothing like the last comment to add, but I DO like the question and think you should come up with a book to answer all the questions.

  3. Eph. 6:1-4
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."[a] 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

    Hmmm....I like to look here:

    I'll be thinking about this one and digging into His Word.

    Honoring our parents isn't conditional on their behavior. Honoring our parents is a matter of the heart and of respect.

    Kind of like...showing our husband respect unconditionally...being respectful toward them without condition.

    Gotta run.....will check back later...

    and will be digging into His Word! :)

  4. thank God my parents were not abusive. But I felt more put down than encouraged. I remember one comment my mom said a few times, after some disappointments, "it won't matter later on". Well those disappointments did.
    When my husband and kids moved out of state 13 years ago, they would come to see us about once a year, we only live just over 6 hours apart. They never call, unless to tell bad news. I have spend the last few years seeking the Lord to help me forgive. And have even begun to accept that unless they see what they had done, they won't change. They are christians. My mom is the always no it all, and always right type.
    Recently our church did a teaching on 10 commandments, but put a spin with love on it.
    The pastor that taught on honoring your parents, made one comment that stuck.
    To honor your parents is to follow God. That was so enlightening to me. Cause I felt guilty was I honoring them. Then this comment, and I felt such a weight lifted off my shoulders.
    And recently my mom's cancer came back, and had been there to visit her and my daughter and grandchildren. I was alone in the hosptital room with my mom, and she was being cleaned by the nurse and I was helping some, and I knew in my heart, I had forgiven them.
    A friend recently told me how when she found out some things about how her dad was raised, she saw his pain and was able to forgive. I believe God is reminding me of some things my mom shared about her childhood and I plan to try to get my mom share some more of her childhood. What made her the way she was.

  5. not sure whether if I am right or not,
    here are my thoughts:
    When Saul attempts to kill David on several occasions who is his son's(Jonathan) best friend.But Jonathan gives more respect to his father in this situation calling him as King"Let not the king do wrong to his servant David;.." 1 Samuel 19:4,though he was angry on his father.
    i think we should respect our parents no matter what ?why?.

  6. Knowing whether I am honoring my parents is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

    My dad sexually abused me, and I was abused by 4 others in my family over the course of 5 years and my mom did nothing to stop it or to protect me (this I believe is a silent partner to the abuse). Despite all of that, I still love them and seek to show them the same love, grace and mercy that God has shown me. I know I certainly don't deserve it, but yet God still loves me unconditionally. I have removed myself from direct day-to-day contact with them in order to protect my kids from experiencing the same things that I have.

    That being said, I believe that I am honoring my parents by showing them grace and forgiveness (because if they don't see it from me, how will they be able to accept it from Jesus). God tells us in Exodus 20:6

    but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    That is my promise from God. He will show love to my family after the timeline of abuse stops (it stops in my generation) if I only love Him and follow His commands.

    Just my thoughts :-)

  7. I am blessed to have wonderful parents who gave me a very loving home to grow up in. I admit I sometimes fall short of honoring them as I should. When I do, I ask God's forgiveness, and repent, and then I ask their forgiveness. Thank you for sharing this post Rachel.

  8. Wow, that is a tough one. I guess as I'm thinking about it I have a few thoughts/questions to throw into the pot:

    1. The promise says "that you may enjoy long life ..." I think a key part of that promise is the effects on longevity that comes with the absence of constant stress in relationships. (It's been repeatedly shown that positive attitudes/less stress = longer life.)

    2. It's a package deal. There's the verse that says "Don't you know your bodies are the temple ... " If we treat our temples like the kitchen trash bin by filling it with junk and just leaving it sit around, it's going to affect our longevity, whether we honor our parents or not.

    3. The Bible also reminds us that our days are numbered and that God knows His plan for us. Do I want long life if I'm outside of His plan? Job 5:26 talks about coming to the grave "full of vigor". I'd rather have a full life at whatever number He determines.

    4. I did a little studying - the Hebrew word in this verse for "long" ('arak) can mean "to be long" or it can mean "to prolong" or "draw out". So do you suppose God promises long life or simply more life?

    Thanks for the question, Rachel, it was good to go digging into God's word again this morning. Regardless of the promise, honoring our parents is God's command and in some situations it can be hard to know how that plays out in day to day life.

    I think I need to do some more digging ...

  9. Oh wow how blessed I feel to have come across your blog! And the comments too! I have been struggling with this commandment lately. Forgiving my mother and father for the way they raised me has been a struggle in the last couple years. I also have learned more about the pain my mother struggled with in her own childhood. Thank you God it has made me so much more compassionate towards her and closer to forgiveness. Your comments are really a prayer answered and I believe Gods way of encouraging me to dive into the scripture. Thank you!

  10. And what if your parents were physically and sexually abusive? How do you "honor" them? I would say that "honoring" in this case may be limited to treating them with the courtesy and respect with which you would treat any person -- and that with time and God's help, you forgive them for their human frailties.


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