By: Katie Bishop
”Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
I vividly remember standing at the bottom of the basement steps in my parent’s house and yelling at my mother as she stood at the top of them. At fourteen, I thought I knew everything and could handle anything, especially the party that my parents had forbid me from attending. As we fought, mother and daughter, the words came out of my mother’s mouth, “You just wait until you are a mother. Then you will understand.” To which I replied, “You just wait. I am going to be a better mother then you are.” Those words of teenaged anger have come back to haunt me.
Just hours after leaving the hospital holding our newborn daughter, Eden, I could not get her to go to sleep. Afraid that sleeping in her crib would somehow break the bond that she and I had just begun to forge, I had pulled a cradle into our bed room. Now every sound had me on edge. Reluctantly, I walked down the stairs to our guest room to wake my mother, who had graciously offered to stay a couple of nights. As I woke her I began to cry.
Handing Eden over to my mother, I spilled my guts. How would I know what to do? How would I ever know how to be a mom? And what happened if I messed up? My mother began to laugh, “Katie, all mothers make mistakes. That is part of being human. Just pray that God will make up the difference.”
Every parent makes mistakes. Some are bigger then others, some are more life changing, some have caused deep scars, but every parent has made mistakes. And in order for us to move on in our lives, to become the people God has called us to become, we must move beyond the mistakes of our parents. Sometimes that is easier said then done. But the truth of that call is rooted in the Word of God.
No matter what kind of parents we have had, God calls us to honor them. Honoring our parents, in part, means moving beyond whatever sins or mistakes or missteps they have made in raising us. It is integral to our survival as people, to our growth as followers of Christ, and part of us becoming more like Christ and less like the world everyday.
And I think it begins with the Philippians verse mentioned above. When we let our mind dwell on the things that are true and honorable, whatever is right or pure or lovely, it is far easier to honor our parents then when we focus on all the mistakes they have made. When we look for anything that is of excellence or praise worthy, we are able to see the good, even in the face of what has brought us pain.
A friend of mine, who grew up with absent and verbally abusive parents, was talking with me while our children played together. “You are such a wonderful mother!” I said, watching as she and her daughter interacted together. “Well,” she shared, “My mother did the best she could. And as soon as I admitted that, I began to see the gifts she had given me, even if they are small.”
We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. We all make mistakes and missteps that cause pain to others. And parents are no different. However, if we want to move on with our lives, if we want to become the people God has created us to be, we must begin to forgive.
May we look for the good and praiseworthy parts of all people we encounter, especially our parents, as we seek to become more like Christ and less like the world everyday.
See more devotions from Katie and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.