Ephesians 6:1-3 AMP (emphasis mine)
Children, honor thy parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.
God gave me an excellent incentive to deal with my parents: my own health and happiness. In refusing to honor my parents, I was under a curse from God Himself. That’s one bracing bucket of ice water right in the face! And mildly rage-inducing as well. I mean, God gave me my parents – that’s on Him. But if I don’t like it, then it will NOT be well with me and I might not live very long?! Talk about stacking the deck!
Honor thy parents…how?
From the start, God made sure I understood that He made the rules, He called the shots and He had the final say. He knew, long before I did, that this was about His sovereignty – not my parents. God never lied to me. He was infinitely patient and merciful, and He never moved an inch. From my rebellious perspective, He was absolutely maddening.
I remember yelling, “What do You even mean when You say ‘honor thy parents?!’ What does that even look like and how do I do it?” A week later I was reading the first draft of Martha’s booklet, The Great Lie. It changed my life. From that precious booklet:
“’Make peace with everyone in your life, so far as you can…’
[God] explained that ‘making peace’ means:
‘Accept, accept, accept the life I have given you.
Desire no other life. When you receive the life I have given you,
I will show you the life that I have given you.’”
When I read that, I knew that I had never accepted my life – or anyone in it. For as long as I could remember, I was ever on the hunt for something better than who I was and what I had. What’s more, I didn’t want to make peace with my parents. They were a permanent scapegoat for me. “God, if you’d given me better parents then I would be a better person. It’s your fault.” I felt sorrier for me than anyone else that ever lived. If Irresponsibility has a best friend, then it’s Self-pity, and my heart was their home.
God, of course, had a different view of things.
People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.
Proverbs 19:3 NLT
Honor thy parents…by accepting them.
My parents weren’t the problem; my response to my parents was the problem. And the first step that God required of me in this process was to accept my parents and accept my life. He asked me to receive reality and accept responsibility for what I had done with the life He’d given me.
This took time. I wrestled and roared and cried and kicked and accused and (eventually) crumbled. I surrendered to God’s choice and thanked Him for my mom and my dad. Then He gave me repentance for the rebellion and anger and irresponsibility and self-pity that He’d showed me thus far – and the healing began.
There’s still quite a ways to go, but I’ll end this first chapter with another excerpt from The Great Lie:
“We want to be healed and make peace with it without making peace with God who allowed it. Healing of painful memories in childhood does not come without bowing the neck. After acceptance comes healing.”