What are some things you admire about your parents? Have you ever told them? If not, when will you?
What are some things you do not like or admire about your parents? Have you ever talked to them about those things? Have you prayed for them to grow in that area? Have you practiced humility and extended love, acceptance, and forgiveness to them?
You often hear parents talk about when their kids were young they seemed to think that their parents could do no wrong. Later on they have to come to grips with this assessment, and it is not easy to deal with. Often a child will refuse to accept an honest “I do not know” in response to never ending questions and they insist on a satisfactory response (sometimes in tears). If they are honest, many parents had moments when they tiredly feigned ignorance or appeared to not be capable of keeping up with Bill Nye, The Science Guy.
Most kids, in spite of their shrugs, raised eyebrows, half-hearted smiles, and even criticisms, struggle with the idea that their parents might have flaws, lack knowledge, and not be perfect.
But no man or woman – was, or every will be perfect. And it is not only children who have a hard time with accepting limitations in others. All of us have felt hurt, let down, betrayed, belittled, ignored, insulted, and even manipulated. We know what it feels like when a friend tells us a lie, or lies about us, fails to understand, or even does something we do not approve of.
We remember the sense of loss from a broken friendship or first (or second or third love). We sting from the memory when a much-loved and respected coach, teacher, or mentor that we admired does something we know is wrong. And we are nearly devastated when a deeply loved and highly respected parent makes a bad choice that brings shame on them and the family.
Read Romans 3:9-24.
Moses met with God way back in the Book of Exodus and received the Ten Commandments from Him. The first four deal with relating to God, while the remaining six deal with human relationships. One of the Ten Commandments is “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). The commandment does NOT read, “Honor your father and mother because they are perfect.”
As you grow through college and young adult life, you will discover many shortcomings in those you love, including and maybe especially in your parents. Remember that the Bible says, “All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Do you thank God for your parents? Do you ask God to bless, guide, protect, forgive, strengthen, and work in your parent’s lives?
Be patient with the imperfections you discover in your parents (not to mention your own). Make space and allowances for their shortcoming, weaknesses, and even failures. Accept them for who they are, and that like you, they too are sinners in need of God’s grace. Live communally. No one becomes perfect by becoming a parent.
Love is a verb,