How do we honor an abusive parent?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
It would be so much easier if God had asked only that we honor our parents if they are good, kind and loving to us, but the command of Exodus 20:12 is "Honor your father and mother," period. Ephesi...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Jjb 2003 1 Jj Breen Husband, Dad, Grandfather and 60 Years ODD
This is not an easy answer. Especially when you've been on the receiving side of it, as I have, and have read others have, too.

Understand: I had verbal abuse. I was worthless, I was not his biological son and he should have given me up. I had my back laid open with an electrical cord. You could not tell one welt from the other. I had been thrown out a 2 story window. It was a blessing there were soft shrubs that broke my fall. I had fists thrown at me, hammers and well - you get the point.


At the age of 15, a very godly man sat me down. "Jj, if you want God's very best for you, you need to forgive your dad."

I looked at him and said I could not. Note I did not say, "Would not." He was aware of my history and knew full well, as he doctored some of my injuries.

But in my heart I knew he was right. My prayer? I still remember it 40 some years later: God, you know the hurt and pain. You know I want to, but you also know where I am right now and that I am not able to forgive him. I want to, but I do not have it in me right now. So please help me, God I need it, because I want your best in my life!" 

It was about a year later I noticed something. I did not 'hate the man' any more. I actually found I had no feelings for him. No hate - but there was no love either. There simply was nothing there. Then about another 6+ months, I found myself talking with my dad, about my day, my job and such. He was sick and was slowly dying. Then to my surprise and his, one night I found I kissed him on the top of his head and said, "Dad, I love you. Have a good evening." He cried. "Jj, of your two step-brothers (his biological sons) and 1/2 brother and step sister. You are the first one to kiss me and say, 'I love you.' " I knew then God had indeed gotten me to where I needed to be. It was a slow process, but God was in no hurry. It had to be "right" - it had to come from MY HEART. When my dad died, when I was 17, there was no doubt that I loved the man and had forgiven him. He also knew I loved him.

Now understand, that in saying this - are the memories gone? No, they are still there. Will they ever go away. Well that was when I was 14 - 17 years old. I am now 59, going on 60. No, the memories are still there. But not as 'nightmares' - rather, as reminders that God CAN help you forgive, heal and be where God wants you to be. You just have to be willing to let God, hold your hand and move you forward.

All the Bible verses in the Bible will not help you 'get there' as a simple prayer will: "God, you know the hurt and pain. You know I want to, but you also know where I am right now and that I am not able to forgive him. I want to, but I do not have it in me right now. So please help me, God I need it, because I want your best in my life!"

I remind you also of Peter's simple and direct prayer when he was sinking in water - " LORD SAVE ME!" Simple, to the point and obviously heart felt.

August 03 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Jodie Jarvis
I was abandoned along with my sister when I was only 7 months old & was eventually placed into foster care. My foster family were not what one I would have chosen. Fear was a huge problem for me with my foster parents. I was never 'good enough' which I tried so hard in changing, however the harder I tried the angrier I made my foster mother. 

When I became an 'adult' I had a battle which was ongoing. One thing I had to change was 1) blame 2) forgiveness. When I accepted JESUS into my life, He began healing my deepest of deep hurts. Forgiveness was a huge step & an everlasting one. Once I forgave not only my biological but my foster mother I began understanding as to why she behaved the way she did. Both my biological & foster mother had a real rough life, hence their choices. 

I certainly can understand how people can struggle with honouring their parents after abuse whether it be physically, sexually, verbally and or mentally. But I do know that our Abba Father loves us no matter what and if we trust Him and fully rely on Him He will help us to overcome all wrongs and help us forgive all those who do wrong by us-I am a living testimony to that. I can honestly tell you I honour my mother & love her dearly. 

I just love that Jesus is my role model & He LOVES us NO MATTER WHAT. Remember the only way to peace is THROUGH HIM. The only way to forgiveness is THROUGH HIM. The only way to live is THROUGH HIM!

August 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Isabella earrings Dan Rivers Christian, Husband, Grandfather, Son, AT&T retiree
Someone anonymously asked, 

"What does God expect you to do in a situation where you've been raped by your father?

The questions was merged by admin into this column.

My answer to that person would be to report the incident to the police and allow them to investigate it.

If they find that he is guilty then he should go to jail where he would have plenty of time to repent and be subjected to jailhouse justice meted out to child sexual abusers...

August 01 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Norman Garwood
In having an abusive biological father this issue was on my radar from the time Holy Spirit changed my heart when I was 13. Earthly father abused alcohol, practiced homosexuality and had violent temper with my mother and my 4 older siblings. 

To honor him was difficult on my own. A sincere Christian grandfather was such help as was my relationship with Jesus. Then in studying the Scripture I found an additional meaning to the command of 'honor'. One of the lesser meanings of honor is to 'give weight to their words'. From this concept I was able to have a 'guarded' relationship with my earthly father, but not follow his lifestyle and/or example. 
Surprisingly, when he was 85 and I was 53, he pointed out a stream where was reportedly baptized 72 years before. He finally requested that I pray in his hearing as he was on his deathbed 3 days before he left this life at age 93, though I never heard him speak of my Savior, Jesus.

August 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20120904 29416 1q0aqvn Crystal George
A couple of areas I find helpful to consider in a situation like this.

1 Peter 2:18-20 is one of my favorite in any situation where you are dealing with obeying authority.  
"Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God."

It can also help to remember all that Christ suffered even though he was himself innocent.  This helps me remember that he understands and can make it easier to draw close to him in times of hurt and stuggle.

God also tells us (1 Corinthians 10:13) "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

I found a very insightful site that addresses this issue very well.  I found the comments at the end very insightful as well. 


September 02 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tom howard Contender of the Faith
We honor them, as they are anointed as your parents, so, • Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Its also a testimony of your faith and obedience to God. They will see this and be saved too.

June 24 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini JR Hamilton
I read each of the responses above and my heart breaks for each, my situation doesn't rise to the level of many of them but my answer is pretty simple, NO! My mother and stepfather were alcoholics and my stepfather was abusive, physically and emotionally. The intended abuse wasn't aimed at me but that didn't keep the impact away.

My reasons for answering "NO!" go beyond this surface though. I think I was around ten years old when my mother, after having been beaten once again said, "If it wasn't for you I would leave that man." Thanks mom, that is a great thing for a fourth grader to hear, I was the cause for her abuse. As I got older I eventually realized it was her cowardice and refusal to stand on her own, not my actions that caused her to put up with that abuse.

Is it wrong that I can't respect or forgive the person who was supposed to be responsible for my development, perhaps, but if that is a sin I will have that discussion when I stand before God. I don't blame her for my early life, I made my own decisions but I learned from her and my stepfather the best coping tool came from a bottle. Since then I have become addicted to my faith, a much more pleasant way to live.

I don't feel guilty about my lack of respect for her whether it is right or wrong.

August 25 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Chef william Gibson
I became the parent of my parents. They were alcoholics and very abusive, but the LORD worked through me and instead of feeling hate, anger, for them I rest in the fact that I got my DAD to read the Good News Bible, and that my Mother is most likely with JESUS too (both have passed away). The act of forgiveness is much more a benefit for the person doing the forgiving than the person who has wronged someone. But it can be AMAZING GRACE for both parties. To forgive our enemies is a very illogical thing in the way man thinks, but it is GOD'S wise way of turning hate into love! How cool is that? Amazing grace! Imploring prayer, indwelling Spirit, imparted grace, interceding Son of GOD KING JESUS, ALLELUIA!

October 30 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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