The Bible tells us that we’re to honor our parents,
Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. ~ Ephesians 6:2-3, NLT.
When the Apostle Paul said this, he was quoting the Fifth Commandment from Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16,
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. ~ Exodus 20:12, NASB.
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. ~ Deuteronomy 5:16, NKJV.
That commandment doesn’t make any exceptions. You’re supposed to honor your father and mother unless they have three legs (nope, at least partly because almost no one has three legs). Or, you’re supposed to honor your parents unless they crash your car. Nope, sorry, it doesn’t say that. Or, how ’bout, you’re supposed to honor them unless they’re mean to you and beat you and rape you all the time. Nope, sorry, it doesn’t say that either. All it says is, Honor your father and your mother…
Now, I love the Bible. It’s my very favorite book in the whole world, and I also love God and desire to serve Him with my whole heart. So if God tells me to honor my parents, it seems logical to me that He’ll provide a way for me to do so, regardless of how badly they treated me, and whether they actually did anything honorable or not.
And thankfully, God did show me a number of ways where I could honor them.
For example, they got me piano lessons from the time I was five until I was ten or eleven, with my great-aunt Helena, Harry’s aunt. I hated having to practice the whole six years, but now, as an adult, I’m so glad I had those lessons. I gained a life-long love of classical music, as well as music in general, and the music theory and ear-training I was given during my lessons has stood me in good stead even today. I can identify the time signature of any piece of music almost immediately, a skill I was taught during my lessons. I can also easily carry a tune, and while I don’t have a beautiful singing voice, at least the people around me don’t have to plug their ears when they hear me sing.
My parents also blessed me with a keen intelligence, a logical and analytical mind, and a love of learning. I’ve been a voracious reader and a lover of words my whole life. When we went out to my great-aunt’s for piano lessons every Friday afternoon, once the lessons were over, we went to my grandmother’s for dinner that evening. (My great-aunt was my grandmother’s sister and my grandmother was Harry’s mother.) And while we were at my grandmother’s having dinner, my grandparents would play a spelling bee game with me. They would quiz me on how to spell really hard words. I used to love playing that game!
Harry is a highly intelligent man (he’s still living, though he wants nothing to do with me), and my mother was too, even though she always said she was stupid. She was extremely creative and artistic, and she loved working with flowers. She knew both the common and the botanical names of just about every plant God ever created, and she knew how to make beautiful bouquets with them. When I was little she used to decorate for weddings and celebrations at church, as well as for friends. She also painted in watercolor. There’s a great amount of artistic ability in my family, and my mother inherited a lot of it.
It also turns out that I inherited artistic ability from them as well, though I didn’t discover that until much later in life, when I was about 37.
I think of all the things my parents blessed me with, what I love most is the ability to think clearly and logically. And I think indirectly, they also gave me a love for the truth ~ which is probably why I love Jesus so much, because He is the highest Truth.
Once I was able to find ways in which I could honor my parents, it became easier to forgive them for all the bad they had perpetrated on me. I had been practicing forgiveness towards them for years already, but I had mostly been doing it by rote because God said I had to. Now that I could see that they weren’t ALL bad, it became a little easier. I would have continued to forgive them regardless, but easier is always better, because it’s, well ~ easier!
Praise God for easier, but I’ll do it whether it’s easy or hard!