If you google the subject of “difficult parent/grown child relationships” you will discover countless articles that talk about all the mistakes your parents have made, what makes a toxic parent, why you are estranged from your parents, how parents push away their adult children, and how to deal with controlling parents. Over the years I have read, studied, and taken notes on many of these articles. I want to be sure that I don’t unknowingly drive my children to distance themselves from me.
We live in an age when we are more inclined to blame our parents than to honor them. Showing honor to the older generation is a rarity in a culture that strives to hold onto youth, points out when someone is “not aging well”, and does not encourage respect of elders. The consequence is that the older generation often feels that they cannot do right, that they have little worth or purpose, and that they are not needed.
Sadly, when researching the subject of difficult parent/grown child relationships, the idea of choosing to honor parents is not a popular concept. But the Word of God teaches what is unpopular.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
Why is it important that you choose to honor your parents?
- It reflects a heart attitude of honor and reverence towards God.
- It shows that you are striving to live by faith as it forces you to trust in God’s sovereign placement of them into your life, and in the truth that He has and is still using them to shape you into the person He wants you to be.
- It helps you to turn your back on the “victim” mentality, and enables you to take responsibility for your personal choices.
- It sets an example for your children.
- It helps you to grow and mature as it requires you to take an objective look at them, acknowledge that they are fallen human beings, grieve over any mistakes or pain you find, but rejoice over the things they did right.
- It shows your desire to honor God, because it demonstrates a choice to see them through eyes of grace in the same way God sees you.
- When you love and honor your parents, with no strings attached, you are doing it because it is what God desires from you, not because you hope to get something in return.
- It can help to develop a more meaningful (not perfect!) relationship with your parents.
- It requires you to understand them as human beings. It is easy to forget that they are shaped by years of life experiences, and that down deep they are in need of love and affirmation in the same way that you are.
- Choosing to honor your parents by forgiving them for any hurt they have caused shows that God is giving you the heart and mind of Christ.
- It is one way that you can thank them for their years of sacrifice and for the ways they have poured into you.
*A note to those who have been abused physically, emotionally, or sexually: The way in which God leads us to honor our parents is as individual as our experiences. The way I honor my parents may look differently than how He will lead you. It may primarily be a heart attitude that can’t be seen, but results in forgiveness and compassion. Take time to pray over your personal circumstances. Ask Him to show you how He desires you to honor them as He helps you to work through the issues of your family background.
**Gina has a newly updated book entitled: “Grace Gifts”. You can purchase your copy at amazon.com!
“As parents we can be tempted to look for methods of parenting, when what we really need is principles. The principles found in “Grace Gifts” can be carried out a hundred different ways. They can actually be custom-fit to your particular family. “Grace Gifts” is a short book, is perfect for busy moms, and is filled with ideas and practical ways that can help your children understand God’s grace. It is one of those books you will want to reference over and over again.“