Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Reasons to Still Honor Deadbeat Parents

  • Meg Bucher Contributing Writer
10 Reasons to Still Honor Deadbeat Parents

Deadbeat parents choose to turn from the responsibility they have to their children. Many have been the victim or witness the destruction abandonment can do to a child. How are we to react to a behavior that couldn’t be farther from what our good Father intends for us?

God’s commandment is clear: “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). There are no exceptions in this modern era that give us a free pass on following this rule, but there are ways to honor parents without allowing tender hearts to become a perpetual doormat.

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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    Slide 1 of 10

    “Honor,” in it’s original Hebrew text, is the word “kabad.” It means, “heavy.” The two concepts were possibly linked together by the amount of stuff an older person had accumulated, and subsequently carried, through life (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary). 

    Each person is carrying around the weight of whatever they’ve accumulated in their life. If they are carrying around the fruit of the Spirit, which is joy, love, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness …(Galations 5:22-23), it’s easy to honor them. It’s a lighter load to bear. 

    A deadbeat parent, obvious to the naked eye or not, is carrying around rotten fruit. Heavy baggage. The weight of dysfunction that has caused them to turn away from the gift of life. People are woven together for a reason, and in attempt to honor them, as heavy as it may be for us to haul through life, God will use all efforts for good. 


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    2. Words are Not Required

    Slide 2 of 10

    Honoring parents can be done without saying a word. If what we are about to speak is hurling up from a rotten place, stifle it. In painful situations, we are always called to rise above, not sit at eye-level with sin. 

    Deadbeat parents are unable to meet their children on an appropriate level. Conversation might seem like a word-slinging match that widens the gaping wounds of our hearts. James wrote, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18). The words we speak represent Who our faith is in. We may not be able to choose this battle, or our parents, but we can choose our words.


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    3. Forgiveness is Heart Healthy

    Slide 3 of 10

    “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

    Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, used the word “redemption” for a reason. He wrote during a time when slavery existed, and redemptive life had a monetary cost. Christ paid for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to, and He didn’t put a monetary cost on it. We are to confess our sins and be forgiven. We cannot require more of our deadbeat parents than Christ does of them—or us. 


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    4. The Judge of Heaven is Just

    Slide 4 of 10

    To gather perspective on an unfair situation, let’s remember Jesus’ death on the cross. The mere reality of it was unfair, but the way He was treated added to the injustice. 1 Peter 2:33 tells us, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 

    If Jesus could trust God to judge fairly as he suffered, than we can channel our pain through the faith that God will defend and fight for us, just as He says He will. When Isaiah spoke of the Messiah, He called Him by many names, but one was Pele’ Ya’ats (Isaiah 9:6), Hebrew for Wonderful Counselor. God has a purpose for our lives that is beyond our understanding.


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    5. They are Not There Yet

    Slide 5 of 10

    Until we take our final breath on this earth, the gavel still hangs mid-air on the outcome. 

    “I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go” (Philippians 3:12). 

    The first part of that verse is not reflective at all of a parent that refuses to pay child support, or offer any emotional support to their kin. But the last half of that verse gives us hope of what we can cling to in prayer and discernment as we look to our Father in prayer for answers to all of our “whys?” 

    “He has grabbed me and won’t let go.” 

    We can learn from Paul how to do what we know we should, even when we don’t feel like we should have to. Christ will convict our souls and grab our hearts.


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    6. We are Commanded to Love

    Slide 6 of 10

    “But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you—“ (Matthew 5:44).

    Even if our parents are compliant, Christ is the only one who can fill that void. The gaping hole in our hearts when we’re left alone can only be filled by the love of Christ. “Prayer is one of the practical ways love expresses itself” (NIV Study Bible Notes).

    Prayer is the tool of communication that Christ died to lend us. We have access to sit in the presence of the Father, our Creator, and ask Him for help. He promises that He hears us, and will answer us. 


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    7. They Have Been Warned

    Slide 7 of 10

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). 

    Jesus was very clear about punishment for those who were guilty of leading young lives astray and hurting children. Some people live with deep scars from actions they can’t even recall from their childhood. Whether we remember what’s happened to us or not, God promises to avenge the theft of innocence.


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    8. Keeping Our Hearts in Check

    Slide 8 of 10

    The apostles Paul warns his young friend in the ministry about how people will “be” as the world moves closer to Jesus coming back. Lumped in with all of the deplorable behaviors is ‘they will be disobedient to their parents’. 

    Paul must have been on to something to preventatively try to guide us to protect our souls from sinning in a way that would make society usher in a parade of justified applause. Listen to what he says to do in regards to people who behave in this way: 

    “Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:5). 

    Sometimes we are given instructions that we don’t understand, but we can trust that God has our soul’s best interest in mind.


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    9. The Possibility of Reunion

    Slide 9 of 10

    It’s against all odds and the stuff of miracles, but Psalm 77:14 reminds us that’s exactly what He is: 

    “You are the God who performs miracles.” 

    The God who brought all we see into fruition in 6 days, who created all of us, individually; who split the Red Sea for Moses and the Jordan River for Joshua; the God who has sprinkled the Bible with miracles from beginning to end, and has not overlooked the everyday need in our lives for His mighty power. 

    He can restore people and relationships. We can always trust in Him.


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  • 1. We're Called to Carry the Weight

    10. Ask Him for Help

    Slide 10 of 10

    “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). 

    Living with deadbeat parents is not an easy life. The suffering and heartache should not be minimized. But are we asking the tough questions of ourselves and of God to properly grow and heal from the place we’re in? 

    Jesus’ brother, James, challenges us to analyze the intentions and motivations of our hearts. Perhaps he knew this trail best, because he traveled down quite a twisted path as he wrestled with the fact that his brother was Jesus, the Savior of the World. He didn’t believe it at first, and there are many times we don’t believe God can deliver complete answers to our prayers. 


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    Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, “Mom” is the most important calling on her life, next to encouraging others to seek Him first … authentically. A writer, dance mom, substitute teacher, youth worship leader/teacher and Bible Study leader, she can often be found having some kind of an adventure in the small little lake town where she resides with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.