I don’t know if this is true in your family, but in mine, parents are hard. A friend was just talking to me after I had a particularly draining day yesterday, dealing with both parents. This friend wisely commented about how someone needs to write a book on how to love and forgive like Jesus but also not let your abusive parents walk all over you. So true! That is *such* a hard line and I’m not sure I do it well.
Anyway, I thought maybe I would start a series of posts on this topic of how to go about these relationships biblically. I want to dig in and figure this out so I will share what I learn with you. 🙂
(Disclaimer: No parents are perfect! I am *certainly* not a perfect parent. You can be sure my kids will have plenty to tell their therapist someday. 😉 I am talking here about parents that fit the neglectful, abusive and/or narcisisstic definitions. If you would like some more information on that, I have a whole pin-board dedicated to it here. You can find definitions, red-flags warnings for future relationships and lots of support.)
One thing I learned awhile back that just gave me so much freedom was to find out what it actually means to “honor your parents.”
It says it all over, but the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:12 is probably the most used ”  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (ESV) I always had this rather maybe Asian idea of “honoring” like bowing to and being subservient and not disgracing your parents, whatever that looks like to them.
The word used here though is the Hebrew word kabad or kabed: to be heavy, weighty, or burdensome. (Read More Here) All this really means is to give due weight to their advice, life experiences, etc. Don’t take what they are telling you lightly! That. Is. Freeing. God gave them to us for very specific reasons and for better or worse, we can learn from them. It is necessary to remember that they do have the benefit of more life experience and knowing us better than others in many ways and so whether or not we agree with their lifestyle and maybe we would even consider them to be abusive, their words and actions hold weight that we need to consider, even if we go a different way in the end. It makes sense that when we heed their words (“Look both ways before crossing the street,” “Don’t jump off a bridge because everyone else is,” “There is a family allergy to the pharmaceutical Codeine,” “Don’t marry someone that beats you,” etc.) it will prolong our lives generally speaking. 🙂
I enjoy learning about Jewish history and how they treat the words of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.) I thought this article by a Rabbi on this topic of honoring one’s parents was enjoyable, well-written and yet concise. In Jewish tradition, this idea of honoring deals with respecting our parents yes, but also making sure their physical needs are taken care of when they can no longer care for themselves. Makes sense!
This mindset of giving due weight to their words should breed humility in us, making us more like our Savior, but also gives us an exercise in discernment and further prayer and consideration leading us to depend on Jesus more. All good things. For His glory and our joy!
How do you honor your parents? Is it different from what you were taught honor means?
More to come!Gina