Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)
Honor thy father and thy mother...OUCH! One of the "Big Ten" rules laid down by the Judeo Christian God. I find it interesting to note that folks are instructed to honor both father AND mother, not just the father and not the father more than the mother. This equality for both the father and mother is highly unusual for the times these words were written, as women were usually given a subordinate role. So, honor thy father and thy mother. For some of us, this is not such a huge challenge. For others it may be downright impossible.
I must admit ,there were times in my life when it was very hard for me to "honor" my father. My father is a good man, but he has a disease. He is an alcoholic. He has been in recovery now for over 9 years, but once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. There is no cure for alcoholism.
There were times when his disease led him down paths that were abhorrent to me. He did things that were an embarrassment to himself and to our family. The alcohol 's influence caused him to hurt the ones he loved and do things he wouldn't normally do. How does one honor that? I tell you, it's not easy. How do you show respect and give high regard to someone you find intolerable. There's only one way that I found, and that is through God's grace and God's love.
Many times I begged, literally begged, my mother to leave my father. She refused. Her answer was always the same, "We must pray for him." Well I prayed and I prayed, for 32 long years I prayed. There were times I just got sick and damn tired of praying. I'll admit it. I felt as though no one was listening. But I continued to pray. Somewhere, along the midpoint of my praying, I realized that I was actually HONORING my father by praying for him.
You see, at that point in our lives, I couldn't honor him because he was not being an HONORABLE man, but I honored him every time I prayed for him because in doing so, I was honoring the promise of the man he could become. As I prayed, I would ask that God would restore him to the man he was originally created to be. I would pray that God would help him to overcome this evil, this disease, and be all that he could be. It took 32 years, as Spirit does not always move to our timetable, BUT my father finally admitted the truth to himself, sought help and found the road to recovery. Praise be to God.
Prayer works. God still works miracles. Never give up on anyone. No one is unsalvageable, no one.
My father is a dear, dear man. He is generous to a fault, loving and kind. I love him with all of my heart. He is worthy of my honor and my praise. He has faced the devil, walked through hell on earth and has lived to tell the tale.
I guess the point of my sharing this is to encourage you in your journey. If you have parents whom you find it almost impossible to honor, pray for them. You may NOT be able to honor them in the normal form or fashion and they may not even be worthy of your honor. The verse does not say honor thy father and mother ONLY if they are worthy of honor. There are no ifs, ands and buts, just one word...honor. It does not say HOW we are to honor them, but I assure you, praying for them IS honoring them and not only do you honor them by doing so, you also honor God and yourself in the process.