7. Forgive Them
When I talk to people who struggle with honoring one or both of their parents, it’s typically because they’re holding on to past hurt. They don’t feel their parents deserve honor and because they don’t feel honor for their parents, they don’t know how to display honor.
First, don’t minimize your hurt. If your parents were abusive or neglectful you are justified in saying your parents don’t deserve honor. However, we must remember that none of us deserve honor, because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
Because forgiving often means dying to yourself, I believe for many of us, this is part of our personal sanctification.
Forgiving our parents of past hurts is no small thing. It’s difficult. It’s painful. It’s letting go of something that many feel defined by.
Yet, Ephesians 4:32–5:2 tells us to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
We have been forgiven; therefore we must forgive.
Even as painful as this is, it is such a gift from God that he gives us the ability to. Forgiveness will open new doors to closeness with your parents and personal healing that you would have never thought possible.
8. Model Jesus to Them
If you were raised by parents who know the Lord, then what a blessing for them to see you walk in His ways! But don’t forget, no matter your parent’s age, they still have sin struggles. They still get discouraged.
Model Jesus to them as they have for you.
If you were raised by parents who don’t know the Lord, this can be especially difficult. I have friends who try to model Jesus to their parents and it often ends in heated arguments where hurtful words are spoken, and old wounds are opened and dug deeper.
If this describes you, don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Continue to model Jesus to them. What does that look like? A good place to start is living out the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, even in the most frustrating situations. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
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