“I don’t want to go to church! I’ve been fed that @#$% all my life!” spouted one young man. While he was a toddler, his father had abandoned his wife & kids. His mom became a single mom and raised her children up the best way she knew how.
Another young lady told her father, “I hate being a pastor’s daughter!” Her father responded, “I’m sorry honey. Perhaps it would have been better if you’d had a bank robber for a father.”
OF COURSE your childhood wasn’t perfect – NO ONE’s is! But let’s get some perspective from a couple of dreadful real-life scenarios:
- Erica’s own father sexually abused her for many years. As an adult (and a Christian), she confronted him, holding him accountable for what he had done. She also chose to forgive him, setting herself free from the bitterness and anger that could have dominated her life.
- Jarrod’s parents both drank. His dad was a mean drunk who used his fists on his wife and children. His mother was a whiny drunk, wallowing in self-pity, doing nothing to change her situation. As an adult Christian, Jarrod chose not to follow their path. His parents didn’t change, but he forgave them anyway. His attitude is, “Who am I to judge them? If it weren’t for God in my life, I might have gone in that same direction.”
- Alison shared about her strict upbringing and the effect it had on her, “I’m so glad that we had to memorize scripture. Those verses come back to me now and help me with my life.”
I have never heard a parent plot, “How can I damage my children today?” Most parents attempt their best with the knowledge they have at the moment. Nearly all of them think they could have done better. Some of you need to grow up and develop an attitude of gratitude for the good things and quit harping on the petty things. Some of you need to go back to your parents and ask them to forgive you for your harsh judgment of their imperfections.
Here is a guarantee: You are not a perfect person. You will make your OWN mistakes. If you are blessed to become a parent, you will make decisions that your children will not like. You may be a GREAT parent, yet one day your children may question you, judge you, and possibly even reject you.
Christians, we don’t have an excuse. The Word of God teaches us to honor our parents, and promises rewards for those who do (Deut 5:16).
- “your days extended” – a long life! Wow – who doesn’t want a long life?
- “it may go well with you.” – your life will go well, it’ll be better!
Do you honor your parents? It’s really not that hard. Smile at them! Speak respectfully to them. Have real conversations with them. Look them in the eye. Consider what they have to say. Compliment them. Thank them for something. Hug them now and then. Ask their advice sometimes. If you’re still in their home, obey them! Go clean your room without the attitude and the eye-rolling! I know . . . I did it too. One of the first things I did as a new Christian was to go to my parents and apologize for how I had treated them!