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Exodus 20:12 - Honour thy father and thy mother? Personal Question & Matter!

Discussion in 'Bible Study Q & A' started by BrotherlyLove, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. BrotherlyLove

    BrotherlyLove New Member

    Hello Fellow Brethren and Sisters in Christ,

    Because of a personal matter, I have been praying over this verse for quite sometime and I need some guidance:

    Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    Now my problem. Forgive me if the following is harsh, but it's the truth: I'm currently the only practicing Christian in my home. I have a very good relationship with my mother and sisters and preach The Word to them when the opportunity hits. However, my problem is with my dad. Growing up and all my life and knowing him as a person, he was always (and still is) extremely negative. He complains about everything, everyone, and is egotistic, arrogant, insensitive, self-loving, greedy, loves money and secret gamblings, jealous of others—especially his own children, offers nothing but hateful words of advice to others, and recently admitted he is proud to be a racist bigot. He is ungodly and rolls his eyes when hears God's Word, and wants nothing to do with Christians. In fact, years ago when I was baptized on Palm Sunday in my church, he dreaded about attending the service so much, he had a heart attack, literally, at work and missed it because he was in the hospital for a week. He is a severe alcoholic for over forty years now. And when he is sober, he has a Jekyll & Hyde personality. He only listens to the local drunks and lounge lizards in the bar every night. Most of all, he is a liar that gives lies, and more lies.

    This past September, he was arrested for a DUI (his second one; his first one was over thirty years ago) and caused an accident (luckily no one was hurt or killed) and he called my sister to have the police sign him over to her. Once he was handed over, he had mentioned to her that he was talking to someone in his vehicle when he caused the accident. That was version 1 of his story. One hour later, story version 2 from him to my mother and I... was only about his arrest and the accident. A few hours later, when my sister mentioned to us that he was with someone when the accident happened, my mother and I confronted him and asked who was with him. To our shock, he said he was with another woman—someone unknown to me and my family! Whoever this woman was, she slipped away from the scene of the crime and walked home. The look on my mother's face is something I will never forget. And yet, he offered more lies to say she's just a friend. So basically, he committed a DUI, an accident, and adultery all at once... literally. His sins found him out!

    At that moment when we found this out, he caused my me and mother me to sin. He had caused us to be bitter before this incident, and even more after this. When he lied directly to our faces about the whole ordeal, I wanted to knock his teeth out and drag him out of the house by his hair (forgive me, as I'm part Italian and when I get mad, I want to break some kneecaps) but, I did not. I was so mad and even more bitter that I said some things about him and the ordeal to my sisters that were wrong, and I apologized to each one of them for what I said and asked for their forgiveness, in which they did.

    As much as I wanted to seek and execute revenge upon him, I had to take all my matters and frustrations to God through prayer. For it is written, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.—Romans 12:19. And by praying fervently over these matters on a daily basis, I have forgiven him and all his actions, even though those sins still continue and my mother and I know he is still committing adultery with that other woman. But, I have to forgive him, because God through Christ forgives me when I repent for my own sins. I'm praying for my entire family and my mother, for her heart is still bitter, and now has a hard time in forgiving him. But, I tell her "How will God forgive you, if you don't forgive others?" I know she had been thinking about this. After helping her through this, I find that she no longer wants to have anything to do with him. I said also told her, that all because you forgive a person, doesn't mean you have to socialize with them.

    But overall, as I have been praying for my dad and mom, and the rest of my family. The wound is still fresh as he has not apologized for to any of us about this ordeal. Because the sinful nature of this man going on for so long, and for the ever increasing pain he has recently caused, and his thinking that he is just going to skate through all of this in his court appearances and proceedings, I'm also praying to God for vengeance... I forgive him, but I also ask God to seek vengeance... not out of spite or harm... but to teach him a Godly, moral lesson through the legal court system.

    As of this last week, he had his first court hearing. It didn't go well. He's in a real predicament and has to face a sentencing hearing mid February 2012, but he still thinks he is going to still skate through all this by taking his own chosen, outpatient, alcohol assessment treatment on a weekly basis—buy yet, still heads over to the bar every night to see his drunken friends, sitting before a wall of liquor. The court told him he may be required to spend time with victims and family members of drunk driving, but he told us that he wants to take no part in such a thing, or a possible court ordered AA program. His fate in these legal matters will be revealed in February. And aside from this, I have also have been doing some medical research and learned that he fits all the characteristics and qualities of a severe Sociopath.

    So with all of that, how does Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother apply when you have a sinful, ungodly parent? How does it apply when a parent has no regard for his own children, his wife, others, nor God? In all honesty, holidays, especially Father's Day, are extremely uncomfortable, but I thank the Lord, my sisters, mother, and I have each other on those days. I just have a hard time trying to honor him. I feel when I honor him any way, that I, as a Christian, am honoring and glorifying his sinful nature, and by doing so, saying he is a great father, person, and human being—when in reality, he is not. I know that because I'm a Christian man, I'm a child, a son of God, and have no other loving father, but God the Father, Himself. I also realize that prophecy is being fulfilled at the same time:

    This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.—2 Timothy 3-5.

    And... Jesus said, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."—Matthew 24:12

    Any thoughts and advice about this is problem is greatly appreciated.

    Blessings in Christ,

  2. livin_in_the_Son

    livin_in_the_Son Well-Known Member

    Well, we ALL suffer from a sinfual nature, none of us are perfect, no not one. You are not showing the love of Christ to your father by your actions, and by following the command to honor him, you are loving him as Christ loves you, and tells you to love your enemies. It is NOT honoring his sinful nature, his short comings, or even letting him think you are ok with it. You cannot lead him to the Father, He has to draw him.

    I know it's hard, but instead of praying for vengence, maybe you should pray for God to give you a love for him. When you see someone who is broken through God's eyes, it reminds us that we were all there at one time. Being saved doesn't make you better than him, just forgiven. Remember salvation is a gift from God so none can boast.

  3. micah719

    micah719 an adopted son of The Most High God John 6:37-40

    Unconditional forgiveness is not Biblical. You can let go of bitterness and leave vengeance open to Whom it belongs, but forgiveness by definition is conditional on repentance. The world likes it, but it is merely permissiveness and actually a shirking of responsibility. Sin has to be confronted and convicted to repentance for forgiveness to come. And that is up to God to grant your Dad, so it's time to pray.

    Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
    Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
    Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
    Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
    Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
    Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

    Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
    Eph 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
    Eph 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

    There it is again, in the New Testament! You are not honouring your father's sins, nor his person, you are honouring his office. Look at it from the standpoint of one-sided agape love. Phileo-love would be noce, but when things get nasty then agape covers many sins. In practice, that means you only disobey him when obedience to him would put you in disobedience to God. Even this has to be respectful and submissive.

    It's hard that you're the only believer in the family. Take courage, you with God on your side outnumber all creation (because God outnumbers creation, by infinity). Just make sure you're with Him! Christmas is almost here. Perhaps a good opportunity to catch the family as a group, sober and well behaved, and with cause to speak about why you're all there. Can you perhaps get some old pictures of better times? Not for the purpose of making him/them sad, or regretful...you'll need to watch out for that and avoid it. Dig out the good memories, there must be some. If you want peace and forgiveness you're going to have to patiently strive for them. If your father knows his son loves him in spite of his failings and that there is a path open to true forgiveness and a new relationship then he is on the spot. Be honest, be humble, be respectful, be firm. If he sees his son is a man he it may well rebound well to him. First comes conviction...but by The Holy Spirit, meaning He is the lawyer, you are merely a witness.....and then repentance and then forgiveness.

    Try and look at the man for his strengths and the good parts...it could always be far worse. He is still with you, and he doesn't beat the living daylights out of you all, he provides for you.

    We'll be praying for you, you need to get into Scripture and prayer as well. May The Lord bless your efforts and your family, and give you comfort and courage and compassion, and heal the broken fellowship.

  4. Hannah

    Hannah Well-Known Member

    The Bible doesn't qualify "Honour your Father and Mother" with 'only if they are good people, without sin and do everything right'.

    I have a father who has not deserved being honoured today. However I didn't deserve Christ's death either so I can't be his judge.

    I honour my father but I do not condone his behaviour. I honour him by having come to his side when he needed me and so has my brother. We have looked after my father when he hasn't been able to look after himself. I am now almost 50 and over the years my brother & I have helped my Dad until he got better and the my Dad would go off and do a whole lot of things we didn't approve of all over again. When my Dad was in a bad situation again we would help get him back on his feet.

    Now my Dad is 74, old and sick (mostly from self abuse such as being an acoholic). However my Dad cannot go around and do what he used to (which makes it easier to deal with him) but he hasn't become easier to deal with verbally. When he doesn't get his way with us he abuses us verbally (at times it really hurts).

    We give my father aid but on our terms not his. Just like a child you don't give them what they want but what they need.

    So despite all the things my father has done over the years we have forgiven him time and again, put up with his verbal abuse and kept him off the streets, fed and taken care of his medical needs.

    My brother and I had decided years ago that we had to obey God's commandment to "Honour our Father". It has cost us to do this. However it cost Jesus His Life to bring salvation to people who were His enemies and hated Him. There is a cost in doing good and obeying God. Jesus paid dearly obeying God with His life. We are asked to "Honour our parents" which is nowhere near as high a cost as Jesus paid.

    At times it was hard but I know it has been a beneficial exercise for our father and for us. We have shown Jesus to my Dad. We have witnessed to him time and again and we know my Dad has recently finally shown great appreciation for looking after him, he has acknowledged we have always been there for him over the years (he has his moments). I hope that he will also come to know Jesus as His Lord and Saviour.

    I am a sinner like my father and have caused God great grief from time to time. God shows me over and over His kindness and compassion. God wants me to live a godly life and my father has certainly been a testing ground to live what I believe in. It is easier to show compassion to a complete stranger you may not have to see again. However to hang in there year after year dealing with the same behaviour over and over with a relative who doesn't look like they might change at all...... that is the real test of our metal as people who want to be like Jesus.

    Can I say after 31 years of being a Christian and trying to live a godly life before my family and especially my father whose bad behaviour really tested my faith, I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel but it was long road to get to this point.

    Can I say when my father was much younger and didn't need us and he was at his worst we didn't see him much at all. We kept our distance because there was nothing we could do for him back then. It was as he got older and sick from time to time we become involved with him more and more and we knew when he was old and no one else would care for him we would have to do so.

    Never curse your father. He has done wrong. Lift that up to the Lord in prayer. You can even vent about how you hate what he does to others but do not curse him.
  5. OnceWasLost

    OnceWasLost Super Moderator

    Honoring does not mean to agree, or elevate them beyond who and what they are. Remember this was for those under The Law and assumes the parents were worth of honor as they directed their children in the way of The Lord. Again this is in context of the 10 commandments. The ideal is of course, given the context, that the father and mother are God fearing people beholden to The Law of God, and that is an honorable thing.

    So if your father is ungodly, what is honorable in that? So what's the balance?

    As a believer we should well give due honor to them positionally ,and let them know you support what can be supported. Hopefully that is done in such a way that shines a light on your relationship to The Father, and then the door is open to witness.
  6. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Well-Known Member

    You will find an very good article at How Do I Honor An Abusive Parent? that might help you in the practical application of scripture to your case. It was from New Hope Outreach, a non-profit in NW Indiana. It specializes in cases of abuse. Alcoholism is a form of abuse towards those who are hurt by it; as is adultery by one spouse against another.
  7. LivnForChrist

    LivnForChrist Jesus Christ is Lord

    You have been given some great advice. I have nothing to add except to say
    that I will pray for you and your family. :hug :pray:

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