“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 5:16).
Some of us have had wonderful, supportive parents. Others, abusive parents. Some parents have played an active role in our lives. Some, a passive role. For some of us, talking about parents brings up comforting childhood memories. For others, the memories are stained with pain and rejection.
This command from Deuteronomy is listed as one of the Ten Commandments. Ephesians 6:2 tells us that this is the first commandment with a promise. What is that promise? “â€¦that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:3).
If this promise is true, then the opposite is also true–that is, if we dishonor our mother and father, then it is possible that all may not go well and our life may be shortened.
“But you don’t know what my father has done. My mother abandoned me as a child, and I can’t honor her. I had no real parents,” you may say. Bitterness towards anyone–especially parents–can destroy the soul.
My relationship with my father was a rocky one for years. As I completed high school, my rebellion reached a peak. College for me was: “See ya, Dad!” I was ready to explore the “real world.” And did I ever!
Yet, the bitterness in my heart towards my father grew and grew, and I blamed him for my panic attacks. “If only he had loved me and raised me rightâ€¦” I was so ungrateful. I took advantage of him and the things he did for me.
Soon, I came to realize that my dad did the best he could. He loved me in his own way. After my little boy was born, I quickly learned that being a father is no small task. I began to see all the things my father had done for me. To show him how much I appreciated this, I wrote him a letter apologizing for taking him for granted and for dishonoring him.
I overcame a lot of bitterness to settle things with my dad. It wasn’t easy, but I know that God granted me the strength to make it through. And, God desires to help you as well. Let God be your new Father. Let him help you resolve situations with your earthly parents. He will show you how to honor them and respect them.
Prayer: Father, if there is any area of my life in which I have dishonored my parents, I ask you to forgive me. If possible, show me how I can restore a right relationship with them. If not, then show me how to receive your grace so that I can find healing. Give me the strength to achieve this that all may go well with my family and me and that my days may be long.