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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

How To Honor Your Parents, Even If You Were Wounded By Them As A Child

I wanted to jump into your inbox this morning to share a strategy for emotional healing as an adult, because so many of you wrote into me on father's day asking for advice on how to heal your life when your parents did not do right by you, so I thought I would address it on this website. . 

A big part of our emotional healing as adults, particularly believers, has to do with forgiveness. This morning I want to talk about what this means within the context of honoring your parents, even when they did not do right by you.

As hard as this may be to hear, there comes a time when you have to stop blaming your parents for everything that's wrong in your life today. You have to stop blaming your parents for your career choice, your financial situation, your relationships, your self-esteem or lack thereof and how you handle things emotionally when life doesn't go your way.

See...When we are children we have no control over who raises us and how we are raised. When we are children, we are not responsible for the things that our parents did to us or did not do for us. And as children we do not have the hindsight or foresight to process our lives from a place of purpose and objectivity. And that's understandable when we are children!

However once we become adults, we are responsible for our lives ...and that includes our feelings, the thoughts we choose to dwell on, our outlook on life, our choices and how we react to the things that happen to us.

Some of us are holding on to things that have happened to us more than 20, 30 and even 40 years ago and we are still blaming our parents for the lives we are living today. No matter how deep the wound or how bad the scar, you have one of tow choices: 1.) You can remain in mental and emotional bondage and choose to keep bleeding from a childhood scar that you as an adult have the power to heal from. Or...2. You can choose to proactively do the work to heal your life, so that you can experience full joy and daily grace.

The 5th commandment tells us..."Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you."

This is the first commandment that comes with a promise and for many it's the hardest commandment to keep...especially if you have been abused at the hands of a parent. The first four commandments define how God wants us to show love for Him. This Fifth Commandment begins a series of six commandments that show us how to love other people—starting from our formative years within the context of family.

Let’s keep it 100, there aren’t too many of us who have not been hurt in some way, no matter how small, by our parents, because parents just like you and me are imperfect people. And if you've been deeply hurt by your parents and feel like your parents are the source of your unresolved issues and your deepest pain, then it can be difficult to find it in your heart to honor them.

However, in this Fifth Commandment, the Bible provides us with a spiritual principle that comes with a promise for us. This principle will determine how every relationship around you will turn out, because the home is the foundation and if that foundation was rocky or abusive, you will enter into your relationships from a place of either; anger, neediness, fear or low self-esteem. The only way to come to terms with your past is to confront it when the time is right, search your heart for all bitterness towards your parents and then choose to forgive them so that you can break the cycle and live your life from a place of emotional freedom, mental peace and personal power.

When you hold your parents hostage to the way they treated you as a child, you also hold yourself psychologically hostage to the pain of your past and you are allowing yourself to bleed from a wound that you have the power to heal. And here's the most difficult part of it all... even if you were terribly mistreated by your parents, you still have to press through the pain and honor them so that you can experience the promise attached to this commandment. (which is to live long in the land that the Lord is giving you)

Let me be clear: Honoring your parents does not mean to put yourself in the direct path of abuse and mistreatment, if that was an issue. God is not asking you to put up with abuse, if that is an ongoing issue with your mother or father today. God is not asking you to leave your children in the care of an abusive grandparent if that is an issue. God is not asking you to call your parents everyday or visit them every weekend, however at the same time as your parents get old and less independent, you cannot leave them to die or solely at the mercy of a nursing home either. You have to make sure that your parents are okay, no matter what you're angry about. Why? Because to whom much is given, much is required and you were given much in the form of the light, love and knowledge of God. You've got God in you and that means that you've got the power to be bigger and better than an abusive parent was toward you.

So the question remains...How do you honor a parent once you become an adult, who abused or mistreated you as a child? By doing these 3 things:
  • Pray for yourself, pray that God gives you a revelation concerning your abusive parent so that you can dig deeper than you've ever dug in order to see your parent the way God sees them (and this is hardest step, but you have the power to do this, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you)
  • Pray for the parent who abused you, pray for their spiritual healing, pray that they allow God to work in their lives, pray for their healing for whatever happened to them as a child that made them abusive toward you, pray for them to know God in the same way that you know God so that they can be transformed by their relationship with God, pray that they repent.
  •  Finally, and now I’m speaking as a mother, the best thing my son could do to honor me would be to give me grace and pardon for the parenting mistakes that I have made with him, to forgive me for being an imperfect mom and to forgive me for my trespasses against him, especially when I dealt with him from a place of overwhelm, financial stress, anger, my own unresolved baggage, and the buried dreams that I had to put on the back burner as a single mom in order to put him first. I pray that when my son has children of his own that he breaks any generational cycles that I might have unknowingly passed on to him. I pray that he chooses grace over hate and that he lives his life with gratitude, joy and emotional freedom. I pray that as my son gets older and reflects on his own childhood that he sees me with forgiving eyes and a heart that won't hold hate. This is my prayer for myself and every other imperfect parent, just like me.
So in closing, the reason why we are commanded to honor our mother and father is first and foremost so that we can live long in the land our God has given us as believers. (and land does not just mean literal land but it's also a metaphor for the territories that rightfully belong to you like: the territory of peace of mind and emotional wellness and joy) Plus, this promise also empowers us to break generational patterns and finally be HAPPY and FREE.

You have the God given power to clean out old wounds so that you can live honorably and love from a heart inspired by grace and not infected by hate.

((...If you were blessed by this post today, don't keep it to yourself. Please share it))