“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Of all the 10 commandments, (not suggestions) this is one I have wrestled with in life a lot. Not because my mother acts dishonorably in any way. ( major disclaimer here in case she ever reads this! ) But because I have had to work through this for my kids sake and how they deal with their mother. Again I am not casting judgment upon her either, but anytime you deal with a broken family, you have to deal with how to encourage your kids to have relationship with the other parent, not allow your own hurt and bitterness to influence them, and yet how also to teach them what to do if that parent is not behaving in a godly fashion.
These are just a few of the things I have learned. I hope they help you!
- Always encourage and support your kids in their love for their mother and father! If you do not do this, then you are actually inflicting wounds upon their heart toward you. They are driven by their God given instinct to love their parent no matter what they do and if you try to get in the way of that it will cause resentment.
- Always encourage relationship. Both to that parent and to the child. A child, whether or not they are adult or not, need that relationship with their parents. If there is not relationship, a child feels abandoned, unworthy, and always wonders why they were not loved enough to be thought of.
- Always keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself. If you are living a godly lifestyle, your kids will see that and don't need to be reminded of how ungodly or bad the other parent is. In fact this behavior causes a psychological condition called Parental Alienation Syndrome. It causes a child to be alienated from the other parent!
- Always, teach them that you can love someone and have relationship with them without condoning or supporting behavior that is not good. To honor does not mean to support or condone bad behavior. Bad behavior leads to a bad lifestyle, a bad life, and pain and hurt down the road. It is in fact honoring to not condone or support those types of behaviors. It is saying I want the best for you and want your life to be all that God has for it, so I am choosing not to enable you to keep walking this way.
- Finally, teach them to support and condone in abundance the things that the other parent is doing right. Find something that the other parent is doing right. Give them the chance to honor that parent. Cheer and support them as they support the other parent.
The Bible teaches us that we reap what we sow. If you sow these principles into your kids, you will reap the benefits. I know, I learned these the hard way but today I am the recipient of kids who honor me.
And if you personally are struggling with honoring your own mother or father, I hope that these principles that I taught my kids, will also help you.
Blessings to you all!