Okay, where do you draw the line?

Okay, so if you’re supposed to honor your mother and father, where do you draw the line? Say your parents are abusive, do you continue to love and cherish them despite the black eyes your friends keep asking about? I’d like to know where to draw the line. I don’t want to hurt or insult my parents, but I’d like to know at what point do they lose my respect for being stupid? Any answer, bland or detailed would be helpful.

I’m sorry to hear about your abusive parents. My prayers are with you as you face your troubling situation. Up front, I would say that no child, of any age, deserves to be abused. You have every right to be protected from physical harm and should seek out someone in your area to be of help to you (protection and comfort counseling) and your parents (warning and abuse counseling).

In regard to honoring your mother and father, you may have to honor them in spite of themselves. The command of God declared in Exodus 20:12 and directed to children, whether young or old, is to simply honor their father and their mother. Therefore, while sympathizing with your pain, I would also remind you that this command is unconditional, thus your honor of your parents must be unconditional. You can love them for being the parents God gave you, even though you may not be able to cherish them as caring parents. Honoring them does not mean you condone their bad behavior. God loves us in spite of our imperfections.

In fact, when you honor your father and your mother, God promises you blessing. The example in Exodus 20 is that “your days may be long upon the land which the Lord God is giving you”. The particular blessing in your life will be personalized for you, but it will certainly include some good thing that God wants to give you. So, don’t miss the blessing of God by refusing to honor your parents. This same idea is repeated in the New Testament in Ephesians 6:1-3 and further details the blessing in terms of you being well and living a long time on the earth. While the context here includes “children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”, this does not mean obeying your parents demands to be abused. Your obedience in other areas will show them that you love them, but you hate the abuse.

So, be the child God wants you to be, even if your Mom and Dad are not being the parents they ought to be. This will bring you peace with God as you prayerfully wait for peace with your parents. Another way to look at it is: the honoring of your parents is up to you, and their honor of God is up to them.

Pray for your parents to make peace with God, and you, in days ahead. That will be my prayer as well. May God bless you, protect you, and give you wisdom as you seek His Will!