The Ten Commandments includes a commandment about honoring our parents. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12. It doesn’t make any exceptions. For some, it’s a tall order.
So how does one do this? How do we honor a parent that’s complicated and not any of the things that God designed for a parent to be? For years it meant keeping my mouth shut and not saying anything about my Mom. The polite thing to do is say positive things and never talk about the tough things that happen behind closed doors. To not say anything felt like pretending that everything was okay and living a lie. Real friends were people who believed me when I shared a story or two. Real friends were ones that validated my experience and didn’t make me pretend. Even my father would say things like, “Oh honey, you don’t really mean that.” Oh, yes I did. It feels like lightweight denial.
Hence, the first step of the honoring process is honesty. Real honesty. Wow. This is good news. Our parents are not better than they were. It’s no longer about overlooking the truth. Honoring starts with an honest assessment.
Our society trends toward wanting to have everything good or bad. We like movies where the good guys are thoroughly good and the bad guys are really bad. We like our wars that way. The good guys are always good and the enemy troops are dark and evil. Further, we want the good guys to win. In studying Bible characters, the emerging pattern reveals God as perfect, and our heroes as flawed. Looking at the Hebrews 11 list of characters, we see God honor various men and women for their faith. Yet, we know their imperfections. Noah endured ridicule to build an ark. We also know about the night he drank too much and had to hide his nakedness. We know Rahab hid the two spies and saved her family. We also know she was a harlot. King David had a heart after God, fought wars valiantly, and openly admitted sin and repented before God and man. We know David’s sins included murder and adultery. Nonetheless He was loved and honored by God.
Continued in Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2