Excerpt from the transcript of my March 15, 2013 show on A Fine Time for Healing, How Do I Honor My Father and Mother Who Act Dishonorably?
Written by Randi G. Fine, Author
Today’s show, “How Do I Honor My Father and Mother Who Act Dishonorably?” is one that is slightly out of character for me because of the religious subject matter. Let me preface things by saying that I do not condone or criticize any particular religion. I will readily admit that although I hold God and spirituality deeply in my heart 24/7, I am not a fan of organized religion. It resonates with many but it does not resonate with me. It is a choice each of us is entitled to make and we should respect that about each other.
I selected today’s topic, one that is ultimately about healing, after so many of my listeners requested that I discuss it. This is a topic that hits home for many of us. Many of us grew up with the message of obeying our parents, respecting them, and not questioning them, no matter the circumstance. And many of us have felt conflicted at one time or another for having to do so.
According to the bible, the merit of keeping that commandment is a long life, a good life, and a peaceful life. So for those who live by God’s word, the thought of breaking a commandment such as this one induces great fear.
How and whether or not to honor one’s parents is a fundamental issue for many whom have suffered childhood abuse and still have not come to terms with it.
Child abuse survivors who strive to follow the written law of God feel confused and torn when confronted with the words spoken by God and inscribed on the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” It becomes a huge moral issue for them, one that creates feelings of inadequacy as well as an abundance of guilt. Even worse is when others judge them and preach to them that they “must” follow God’s commandments—that they must honor their father and mother regardless of the circumstances. Someone tried to lay this guilt trip on me when I was conflicted and it felt like a terribly low blow, so believe me—I know how painful it can be.
Abuse takes many forms. It can be subtle or overt. It can be emotional, physical, or sexual. No matter what form the abuse takes it is detrimental to a child’s well-being—it cripples the child’s spirit and the effects can last a lifetime.
Parents are supposed to provide emotional and physical security for their children. No matter the reason or method, failure to do so is abusive and damaging. As children we don’t understand what is happening to us while it is happening because it is all we know. But when we reach adulthood, the cruelty of our past becomes more and more apparent—the awareness of what we were subjected to becomes heightened. That leaves us feeling angry and resentful toward our parents. The realization that they failed us may create a dilemma; it may make honoring them a confusing, difficult, sometimes even impossible thing to do.
Unless abusive parents take responsibility for what they did, seek help, and make amends, they most likely will continue to manipulate or be abusive with their adult children. This compounds the moral dilemma of honoring them even more.
What about parents who live amoral lives, have substance abuse issues, or parents who do evil things—parents who we cannot honor or respect because they are dishonest and not respectful? It becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile our values with their ungodly actions.
And what about parents we don’t even know because they abandoned us when we were very young? Are we supposed to honor them and if so how do we do it?
I don’t know much about the bible, but in my research for this show I have noted the interpretations and impressions of a variety of Judeo/Christian clergy that have posted articles referencing this topic on the internet.
According to these sources, the bible portrays parents as wise, positive role models. Mothers and fathers by biblical standards are represented as people who love, nurture, teach, guide, and protect their children.
It is easy to understand why we must respect and honor parents of that nature. The parents we have difficulty respecting and honoring are the ones who are not positive role models.
The Jewish Talmud, a philosophical explanation of the bible explains that there are three partners in the birth of a child—the mother, father, and God. That means that birth cannot take place without God. When we honor our parents we are essentially honoring God who gave us life through our parents.
We are all part of God and each of our souls has a divine spark within. We role play in the physical world because we are here to experience and learn. We outlined our life and the experiences we needed to progress our souls before we came here. Nothing that happens is pointless or random.
When we pass on and return to our spiritual home we leave these roles behind. The roles we play are not who we truly are. Our parents are spiritual beings living a human experience as we all are—souls who are honorable simply because they are each a part of God.
The bible does not command us to love our parents; it commands us to love God and honor our parents. Honor may include love but is does not have to. Not all parents deserve the love of their children.
This is a very short snippet of the show. To listen to this show in its entirety, please go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/randi-fine/2013/03/15/how-do-i-honor-my-father-and-mother-who-act-dishonorably
I am available to talk about any life issues that are concerning you. Private, confidential. http://clarity.fm/randi-g-fine