I have a friend whose father left him and his mom when he was only a tottler. He "traded them in for lesser things... drinking and drugs and all that comes with it." His response to me after reading my earlier blog was, "How do I honor that?"
I have another friend whose father not only abused her physically and mentally, but abused her sexually, as well. Horribly so! Day after day after day. Year after year after year. Until she was beaten beyond recognizable. Striped, and left for death. Her reaction to what I had written?
How do I respond to that? I don't know either. There's nothing at all honorable in their actions, so how do you honor the man that's behind it? I don't know how you can honor someone you not only don't respect.... but one who you resent for legitimate reasons because of all he did.. or for all he didn't do.
Any suggestions from someone who's been there, done that.... or from someone much smarter than I am?
I don't know how you honor a father like that, all I know is that we're told to. We're not only told to, we're commanded to honor our fathers. And like I said in my earlier blog, I do understand the repercussions (being cursed) when you don't. For if we carry hatred and resentment and bitterness inside us, then the curse of that alone will eat us up! Make us mean! Make us vengeful! Possibly lead us to grow up to be just like them... even while different.
Maybe the first step toward 'honoring' those that have wronged us is having the same attitude toward them that Jesus had toward those that had beaten Him, spit upon Him, striped Him, and nailed Him to a cross when He'd done nothing at all to deserve it? A "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" kind of an attitude... while surrendering your fate to your Father in Heaven as He did.
The verses in Matthew 6:12, 14, and 15 (where we find what we call The Lord's Prayer) says this, "12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.... 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Have you ever noticed, though, the verse sandwiched between those verses in verse 13? Jesus first prays that we will forgive and then says, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" and then proceeds again with His previous thought on forgiving.
Wonder why the interruption? Or is it not an interruption at all? Is Jesus simply telling us why we must forgive? That if we don't, then it's prime time and prime opportunity for the evil one to lead us into temptation? To lead us to do things, think things, and act ways that we wouldn't be tempted to do if we simply first forgave our offender.
Remember Cain and Abel. "Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must master it" (Gen 4:5-7).
What are you angry about?
Why is your face downcast?
Who is your offender?
Can you not forgive him?
If you do right (even when another has done you wrong) will you not be accepted? Will you not be released from being tortured? Will you not be released from the curse?
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door..... (the evil one lies ready to tempt us to hatred, to rage, to anger, to slander, to avenge, to bitterness, to murder).... it desires to HAVE you.... but YOU (with the help of your Savior) must master it.
You can't do it alone, yet we're enabled by the Spirit of Him that died to save us and now lives inside us if we belong to Him.
Again, to address the question above, "How do I honor that?" First, you don't honor the sin... but still, how do you honor the man behind it? No doubt some of what I've written plays into the answer. But, I myself, am curious and looking for answers. That's a hard one! Any takers? Any suggestions from someone more knowledgeable than me that I might share with those that are finding such honoring to be difficult?
My greatest suggestion: Do what Jesus said, what God commanded. Ask Him to help you do it. Say only possitive things about him. Keep your mouth shut about him if you can't find any. Realize that he's a sinner too. One who needs love. One who needs mercy. One who needs grace. One who without God is terribly messed up. Pray to the Father asking His help in the matter. Forgive. And then ask for forgiveness for not forgiving earlier. Ask God to change you, to tender your heart, to renew your mind, to transform your attitude and your thinking. And then keep on praying until God heals you and makes you different and more like Him because of it.