A couple things that have become such a conundrum in this society is parents, and the kind of honor and respect they are ought to be given. How do we honor our parents, when we are noticing the sins that they have? How do we give a good example to our kids in this aspect? Let’s dive into this topic more.
Ephesians 6:1-2 ESV “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in your land.”
More often than not, as young kids we don’t tend to see the faults and sins of our parents. However, as we age we start to notice more. We all struggle with sins, but how do we continue to honor and respect our own parents, past their sins?
Before adulthood, we mainly give honor to our parents through our obedience to them while we’re in their household. However, after we have reached adulthood we start to honor primarily, through treating our parents as our confidants, our counsellors, our mentors and our friends. I did want to add, that at 18 years old you’re legally an adult, but becoming truly mature seems to happen at different ages for everyone.
It becomes more noticeable that we are a family through Christ, when we grow in our faith, mature and get older in age. With this, we can give honor and respect in different ways, then when we were 2, 10, or 17 years old, for example.
My Parents Are Sinners
After starting my own family, I began to notice some of the same sins I had seen in my parents, in myself. For a short time, I became bitter towards them for showing me how to commit those sins. However, becoming bitter against them for committing X, Y, or Z sins does more harm and no good. Becoming resentful and harboring anger towards our parents for their sins, just becomes our own sin— one we need to repent of, forgive them for, and move on from.
We Are Sinners Too
Over the last couple years since raising my own children, and struggling through seeing my parents as sinners, I have had to let things go, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and continue to forgive them for the wrongs they did [or do]. Whatever the sins are that they have committed (either directly against us or not), we must forgive them for it. (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV).
Parents and Their Kids
I believe I read a social media post that said something along the lines of, “if you find you’re committing the sins of your parents, honor them by doing better, and honor them by teaching your children [their grandchildren] to do better.”
We are here to bring Glory to God. One of the ways we can do this— in the aspect of how we treat our parents— is by acknowledging where the faults are in them and weeding them out of ourselves, if needed. We cannot uproot the sins from our parents, but we can pray for the Lord to work in their lives, for wisdom on how to be a light, and for guidance on how to do things differently, whilst giving them the respect the Lord requires us to give. (Proverbs 23:22-25, 1 Timothy 5:1-2)
How can I point them to Christ while still showing my respect as their child?
- Read scripture.
- Encourage them with scripture.
- Verify any issues within the relationship (with both parents).
- Pray for the Lord’s wisdom, a sober mind, and a respectful tongue.
- Call out any sins. Communicate these issues, so not to create unnecessary hurting (if possible).
- Get support such as; scripture to study, prayer, maybe even someone to keep accountability, if it is necessary.
If it’s a more sensitive and personal matter where sin is involved, seek council amongst someone in your church community. Lastly, identify if this is a fruitful or fruitless relationship. Is it one to keep close, or one to keep a bit further away?
Repent, Forgive, and Glorify God
Repent of your own sins first and any harbored bitterness towards them. We are truly no better than our sinning parents. (Luke 6:37 ESV)
Forgive them. Some parents sin on purpose, directly at you, some do not. Either way it goes, you still need to forgive them for their wrongdoings. (Matthew 6:14 ESV)
A Sister In Christ First, and A Daughter Second
I try to think of myself as a sister in Christ first, and a daughter second. This thought process helps me keep my emotions in check when sins start to create conflicts in the relationship (my family [husband and kids] and my parents).
When the seasons in our lives change, we can experience different kinds of strains while exercising how we act out this command. For some, it can prove itself difficult and for others, maybe not! Young children and old children offer respect and honor in different ways, but they both should still do what has been required of them; they continue bringing glory to God by obeying his command.
Lastly, I just encourage you to keep working for the glory of the Lord, and if you are in a place where having a close relationship with your parents proves unfruitful, be prayerful but ultimately, focus on the Lord and your relationship with Him, not the broken, earthly relationship with them.