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Honoring your parents

All parents hurt children. Some do it in small ways and others inflict what may be permanent wounds. It comes with the job. I don't know a person who hasn't been hurt by their parents. All of which can make the fifth commandment to honor them difficult. My parents came to World Race tra…
By Seth Barnes

parentsAll parents hurt children. Some do it in small ways and others inflict what may be permanent wounds. It comes with the job. I don't know a person who hasn't been hurt by their parents.

All of which can make the fifth commandment to honor them difficult.

My parents came to World Race training camp this past week. They were introduced to the 240 racers present and got two standing ovations. They shared a few stories of what it was like to raise me. The racers laughed. My parents were a hit.

This was gratifying on a number of levels. For one thing, it has not always been easy between my parents and I. They told the story of why they sent me on my first short-term missions trip as a junior in high school. Apparently, I was so ornery and difficult that they just wanted to get me out of the house for the summer.

Mostly, I remember feeling miserable during my high school years. I couldn't wait to get out. Some people love their homes. Not me – I was glad to hit the road.

These days, with the passage of time, it's not hard to honor my parents. In addition to taking care of me and sending me to good schools, they've done the following:

  • They discipled me.
  • They gave me the model of a journeying life.
  • They sent me on multiple journeys and encouraged my exploring spirit.
  • They've always been great supporters of my ministry.
  • They've prayed for me.

Still, we've had our moments. I had stuff to process with them, yet we weren't a family that processed our stuff very well.

Some of you reading this post have truly bad parents. They have neglected you or abused you. You've been left with permanent scars. Forgiving them may seem impossible, much less honoring them. How do you do that?

I've not no great answers, but I'll say this: locking the issue away is not a good solution. Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We have to work at forgiveness – not for them, but for ourselves. If it's going to be a project, it's better to start work on the project rather than suffering with the residue of unforgiveness.

If it's true that all parents hurt children, it's also true that all parents have in some way loved their children. The trick is to learn how our parents have sought to love us and to honor that action.

Yes, we do it for them; but we also do it for us, so that we may live free. And we do it for our children, that we might not pass on whatever struggles we've gone through.

For a good article how to honor your parents, go here.

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