Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

The only specific way that Jesus told adult children to honor their parents was to support them in their old age.

When you go down the list of what we are tempted to believe when we think of honoring our parents it becomes more clear what it must mean:

  1. Does honoring one’s parents mean to never argue with them? Jesus argued with his mother at the Wedding of Cana, and his parents at age 12.
  2. Always agree with them? Jesus did not agree with his mother.
  3. Go to church where they want you to?
  4. Believe what they believe? What about people who have atheist parents?
  5. Be their best friend? Now we are getting into the real meat of the issue.
  6. Keep them from being lonely? This is what most people who feel guilty about not honoring their parents are often the most guilty about. Yet those who are lonely generally create their own loneliness, and those who create community have worked hard at it.
  7. Show up at Thanksgiving and Christmas? (And be depressed for however many weeks afterwards.)
  8. Let them verbally, physically or sexually abuse their grandkids?
  9. Let them spiritually abuse their grandkids?

Some people say you should honor your parents with the truth:

  1. The truth about the lies they told you,
  2. the truth about how you feel about them,
  3. the truth about the manipulating they do,
  4. the truth about the spiritual abuse that has gone on in the family.

Jesus was blunt with his family, and blunt with his apostles.


About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
This entry was posted in Manipulation, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

  1. John Doe says:

    I’d like to start by saying that I appreciate much of your commentary and analysis. You have keen insight into what makes people tick. Combine that with your experience with hardline churches of Christ, and your articles are generally spot on. I am a member of a hardline coc, but only because I do not want the family turmoil that will follow if I leave. So, I swallow my liberties and hang in there for peace in my family. Obviously, my behavior indicates that I believe my situation is better off if I yield to my parents (in-law in my case).

    With this post, however, I hope you will allow me to insert a word of caution. Yes, Jesus was at times blunt. Yes, Jesus was at times even angry. However, I remind myself that I am not Jesus and that I may not use the same discretion with my bluntness or anger that He did. Therefore, I usually try to avoid acting when angry or being blunt, especially with those older than me.

  2. garycummings says:

    Honoring your parents does not mean consciously accepting the family lies, secrets, and generational dysfunctions demanded of us. We do enough of that unconsciously,and it takes a lot of pain and honesty to come to terms with the family lies. I read The Prince of Tides and Beach Music by Pat Conroy. Both of those books were therapeutic for me. Then I read Bradshaw and Whitfield about family lies and shame. It took me till my forties to come to terms with generations of crap passed down to me. When I removed my mother’s power to hurt me further, that is when as significant healing came my way. She passed away in 1999, and now I can look back with both fondness and revulsion. Fondness for the good mother she was when I was a young boy, and revulsion for how I was treated as an adult. Now I can accept her as simply a flawed human being like me.


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