How to honor dishonorable parents

July 17, 2019 by Dr. Jack Graham

“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

When it comes to honoring our parents, people often ask me, “What does honoring my parents look like if they don’t deserve honor? What if they abused me? What does honoring my parents look like when my mom and dad weren’t an example of godly parenting?”

Whenever I’m confronted with a situation like this where parents and children have become adversaries, I always go to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

For better or for worse, God gave you the parents that you have and the home in which you were raised. So could it be that God wants to use you to show his grace and love to your mom and dad?

I’ve known enough people through the years to know that one of the most powerful and liberating things you can do as a wounded child is to forgive your parents.

That’s why, if you’re the child of a parent who sinned against you in some way, I want to encourage you to make the decision today to forgive them. And keep making the decision to forgive them! Ask God to give you the grace to forgive and love your parents, and he will help you do it.

Now, does forgiving your parents mean that you’re expected to become their best friend? No, not necessarily, although I have seen many parents and children really become friends again once unforgiveness was released.

All I would encourage you to do today is to take that first step. Maybe it means picking up the phone and simply calling your mom or dad. Maybe it means writing them a letter or an email. 

Extend a hand of forgiveness in some way today, and believe me, God will give you the grace and strength you need to take that next step.

COULD IT BE THAT GOD WANTS TO USE YOU TO SHOW HIS GRACE AND LOVE TO YOUR MOM AND DAD?

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