There comes a point in some people’s lives where one has to choose how often to forgive the abuse they endure from family.
Some, like me, had no choice because my mom had dealt with the abuse of my grandmother from a previous generation. She had nothing left in her. I realize this is a complex topic to talk about because a spouse could take this position. The part of forgiveness where you must let go can be difficult when forced to live with the person.
Sometimes, you are distanced from them and can use the block button because they won’t listen. You try to be Godly, but they bring venom every time they are close.
Here, let’s look at what the Bible says about the matter.
What is Honor in the Bible?
According to the blog HonorShame, the Hebrew word for honor is “kavod.” To make a long story short, it means “heaviness.” Or “how heavy” a man is because if he has access to food storage to have a portly frame, he must be trusted with many resources. This also had the meaning of having clout in society. As a verb, it means to give weight to someone. We are to honor God (1 Samuel 2:30), honor all men (1 Peter 2:17), and honor authority (Romans 13: 7).
What is the weight we need to give to these people? It’s along the lines of giving credit where credit is due. When it says to honor your mother and father in the commandments, it means to provide them with their dues because they brought you into this world.
Some people use this commandment like a bullwhip to bully them into submission.
Think of it this way: no matter who you voted for, it’s the right thing to do to call the president “Mr. President,” regardless of who is in office. That is the weight of the position, even if you disagree with their policies.
Does this mean your mother and father get to make laws for you anymore? In America, not unless you are under legal guardianship. Some cultures forgo the law and keep a strict hierarchy, which might trap people into submitting to the family’s wishes.
There is a fine line when you are a child. You have to listen to your parents, but you have no reason to put up with abusive behavior. In this instance, find other adults to connect with and tell them what is happening in your home to get help. Find a teacher or the parents of one of your friends. Sadly, you might have to carry that burden for a while, but you do not have to assume that burden alone.
Blood is Not Thicker Than Water
There may be biblical instances where the concept might be backed up, but the Bible never says, “Blood is thicker than water.” Many like to phrase this as “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” but that’s not in the Bible, either. The latter may be more accurate, but we must realize neither concept is gospel.
While Jesus honored His blood family, He still addressed God as His Father. It took a long time for me to ponder why this was so, and then I was reminded that stories like the Da Vinci Code exist. If He gave special attention to His blood family (besides John the Baptist), people might start worshipping them instead of God. He didn’t dishonor them – He just knew His mission was more important than everyday family life and relationships.
That being said, I believe some people tend to put their family over God, thinking they are doing God’s will. Yes, you are supposed to honor your mother and father. One must realize not all who say ‘Lord, Lord’ will make it into heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). To say someone is going to Heaven judges them as much as saying they are headed to hell. It is up to the person and their personal relationship with Christ.
If you only hope to reach Heaven because you believe you will see your family again, you are worshipping idols.
Giving Weight Without Carrying It
You would not be here if it were not for your birth mother and father. That is where the commandment demands honor. If you were adopted, this can be directed to your surrogate mother and father. No matter how bad the situation is, realize they are who they are. They might be deadbeats, toxic, or wanting to use you. This doesn’t change the fact your DNA is made from them.
Imagine yourself as a large ship. A ship is heavy, but it still floats. Now imagine your time as precious cargo. This ship can get infested with rats, and they can destroy other cargo. When a piece of freight gets infested, we can dump the contents overboard to ensure the boat stays disease-free. As for toxic parents, discard as much infested cargo as possible, but keep the box. Remember what was in that box, for better or worse.
Just remember. You came out of that box.
You are not cargo. You are the captain of this ship, and good in the eyes of God.