Here’s a word for those who have a problem with the Fifth Commandment – Honor your mother and father - which comes from Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you."
People who have had abusive childhoods at the hands of their parents find it very hard to deal with this commandment because it’s just plain hard to “honor” someone who physically, sexually or emotionally abused you. Why on earth would God demand that we honor someone who slapped us around or made us feel like dirt on a daily basis?
Well, what we need to remember is that the commandment says to HONOR your mother and father; it does not say you have to "love" or even "like" them! It means, "honor" them, for they gave birth to you and – presuming you made it through your childhood in one piece – they fed, clothed and provided for you while you were growing up.
The dictionary defines "honoring” thusly: a : to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect : to regard or treat with honor; b : to give special recognition to : to confer honor on.
The word "honor", is defined, in part, like this: "a showing of usually merited respect: recognition ... pay honor to our founder"
Note the word “merited” which is defined, in part, as “character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem.”
Not every parent “merits” praise and honor, so if you’ve had an abusive past and absolutely cannot find any “warm and fuzzy feelings” for your parents – whatever the reasons might be – and there is no chance of discussion, “talking it out,” or reconciliation, you MUST, for your own sake, try to forgive and move on with your life.
Turn it over to YHWH and ask Him to heal you from the inside-out and help you to “just let go” of your anger, pain and disappointment so you can finally be free of those ties that shackled you to those who made your early years miserable. If you don’t do this, you are allowing the enemy to hold you hostage as a prisoner of your past!
Let me repeat that: If you don’t do this, you are allowing the enemy to hold you hostage as a prisoner of your past! Please let that sink in.
As you already know, the enemy loves to remind you of your past. He wants you to remain emotionally crippled because emotional cripples tend to dote on their problems, hanging onto them for dear life to feed and nurture them like pets, tending to them with endless negative emotions and self-pity.
I remember a 60-year-old woman from our former synagogue who absolutely would NOT let go of her “stuff.” She was bound and determined to hang onto every little sordid detail of her life, and she would talk about them ad nauseum to anyone willing to listen and commiserate. There was no doubt this woman had a horrific childhood, but she adamantly refused to let go, and it affected ALL of her relationships and ultimately served to ruin her latest marriage. (And, of course, she wasn’t happy with God, either because, according to her, He had never answered her prayers for healing.)
When I finally ran out of advice and asked her to seek professional help, she told me she had “tried that and it didn’t work." It was at that point I realized that nothing and nobody could help this woman BECAUSE she refused to drop her baggage! She was a bottomless pit of needs who WANTED and NEEDED ears to hear and hearts to sympathize with her misery because it validated her and made her feel good. It was like a drug for her; she was hooked on the need to have people commiserate.
Folks, the ONLY way to break that cycle is by deciding to LET GO and “give it to God” - ADONAI Rapha, - who is the Ultimate Healer, But He cannot do it UNLESS you are ready, willing and able to break the cycle by dropping the nasty baggage! YOU must come to the conclusion that “enough is enough and I am moving on with my life!” In the meantime, seek professional help, if need be, and do whatever it takes to break the enemy’s hold on you.
YHWH cannot do a thing with those who insist on hiding in their “rut” and spinning their wheels. He won't force you to come out of it or magically make you well, because it's the learning process of "letting go" that helps us to heal and grow and get well. Learning how to prevent the enemy from "pushing our buttons" is a never-ending process, and if we don't learn each step of the way, we're liable to fall right back into our "old" habits.
As a sexually and mentally abused baby, child and teenager, I know these things because I came out of that rut, myself - and as a result, I am able to “honor” my long-dead parents. (Not "love" or "like" but just to "honor" them.)
My only regret is that circumstances prevented me from confronting them before they died so that – if nothing else – they could have known how much their abuse damaged me. And, perhaps - who knows? - our confrontation might have given them the opportunity to apologize, and provided a chance to “kiss and make up.” Or not. I'll never know. It doesn't matter now.
What I do know is how GOOD it feels to finally “let go” and allow YHWH to heal you from the inside-out. After all, getting ourselves right with HIM is our first priority. After that, everything else tends to fall into place.