Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."  Exodus 20:12

I am a religious person.  One of the driving forces in my life is to be obedient to God.  To please Him.  Knowing that I please Him brings me great peace.  Knowing when I don't brings me discontent and sadness.

I have struggled with this commandment.

When I was young I thought it meant that I should do what I was told.  Plain and simple.

As I got older I began to question that.  What if it isn't possible to obey my parents and God?  What if their desires are in conflict?

I also remember reading that scripture and imagining some parents using it as a threat.  Obey me and I'll let you live (that thy days may be long).

I hope I have learned a lot more about that command.  I have taught it to children many times over the years through various church callings.  I hope I have taught it in my home.  Each time I have taught it I have focused on the word honor.

I come from a difficult childhood.  I did not, and still do not, have a good relationship with my father.  I spent most of my life fearing him.  I often still do.  My mom did the best she could and we had a pretty good relationship, until I realized that I was often used as the surrogate spouse.  And now, when she is struggling, it can be tough to spend time with her.

And so, as I recently spent two weeks working on this commandment and trying to figure out how it fit into my life as an adult, I struggled still.

I no longer believe it is my job to obey them.  I must find my own way.  I do not think my father agrees with me.

I no longer believe it is my job to be what they want me to be.  I need to be who I truly am, to find my eternal self and be true to that.

And I no longer believe I must be at their beck and call.  It is time for me to concentrate on my family and build my life.

I do believe I owe them something.  I can treat them with respect, speak of them with respect when they are not around.  I can help them when I am able.  I can be grateful for the good things that are in my life because they are my parents.

Those would be great things.  Sometimes I can do those things.  Sometimes I can't.  Sometimes I can't be in the same room with my father without intense anxiety.  Sometimes I beg family members to rescue me from my mother.  Sometimes I talk about how crazy they are and how much stress they cause me.

I still feel like I don't have a good grip on this one.  The best thing I think I can do at this time is be a good person.  I think that brings them honor.  Even when they don't appreciate it.


  1. I also thing it brings them honor. Bottom line with most parents is they want their children to be safe and happy, but sometimes they get so accustomed to playing the parent role that they don't see us as individuals now responsible for ourselves and our own children. I respect what you say about being a good person. Really, sometimes this is good enough.

  2. I know that I don't have a grip on this where my father is concerned, either. It is hard.

    What you said about, "I do believe I owe them something. I can treat them with respect, speak of them with respect when they are not around. I can help them when I am able. I can be grateful for the good things that are in my life because they are my parents." really resonated with me. I think that is a great guideline for the honoring thing. I'm not there yet, but it is nice to have something to work toward.

  3. Love your three words of success "true to myself." I think those words apply here too. You have to be who God created you to be - a unique and creative person. But honoring and respecting our parents can't be left by the wayside. I'm feeling your words girl! I battle those questions too.

  4. Christ's comment on this in the New Testament seems to imply that honoring your parents means making sure they have the necessities of life in their old age - specifically, money. I know that's not a common modern interpretation, but it's certainly practical in it's specificity.

  5. I think you can honor them and still be detached when necessary.

  6. That last line is perfection.

    Thank you so much for popping by Twinfatuation today...I hope you will come by often!


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