Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart"1 (Lyrics)
Exodus 20:12 – Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (NIV)
Psalm 139:13-14a – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (NIV)
At the age of 65, I am simply amazed at the number of adults who still blame their parents for so many of their own issues. They harbour both real and imagined mistreatment they received at parental hands many years ago. Even though they now have families of their own, often grown families who are now raising their own families, they continue to dwell upon these unfair happenings. They mentally nurse them day and night, keeping the memories alive and as unhealthy as ever, blaming their mother or their father for their hang-ups and misery. Like a young child with its soother or favourite blanket, they simply refuse to let these things go and move forward into maturity.
As I was contemplating this phenomenon recently, after chatting with a friend who was painfully struggling due to continual blame from one of her adult children for issues within their family, today's verse from Exodus 20:12 came to mind: "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." This was a verse which God reminded me of many years ago when I was struggling with some of my own childhood memories. Through much prayer and thought, however, it dawned upon me that God did not say honour your father and your mother because they were perfect parents. He simply commands us to honour them, period. They are the parents He gave us. He is the One who allowed us the parents who bore us, so He therefore had purpose in granting us those parents. And no matter who our parents are or were, or what our childhood was like, nothing can negate the fact that through them, God fearfully and wonderfully made us. Nothing can negate the fact either, when it comes to God's ability to take and use our experiences, no matter how awful they might have been, both for our own good as well as for the advancement of His kingdom. For as the apostle Paul wrote, He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).
So let's quit complaining about our parents, people! And let's simply begin to take responsibility by honouring them. Let's honour them by choosing to forgive, by choosing to let go of this needless burden that we have carried for so long, and by humbly trusting and thanking God for His ability to heal us and use everything about us for good. By so doing, we are not only honouring our parents as commanded, we are also choosing to take responsibility for our own lives and choices, which is really what being an adult is all about, isn't it?
Prayer: Father God, thank You for our parents. Thank You for the families You set us in. Thank You that we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made and that You are able to use all of our life's experiences for our good and for the furtherance of Your kingdom when we place them in Your hands. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.