The Serious Consequences of Dishonoring Parents

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents

Please read Are You Losing Your Blessings as a good introduction to this study.

There is a serious problem in the body of Christ. A growing number of adult children are ungrateful, critical, and disrespectful toward their Christian and non-Christian parents. 

They are magnifying their parents' faults and minimizing their parents' sacrifices and love. 
They expect grace from their parents, but give very little in return. Unfortunately, many in the church are sympathizing with these fault-finders in direct contradiction to God's Word.
When we become adults, we take on adult responsibilities toward our parents. We no longer obey them, but we do our part to have a meaningful relationship with them. 

God never excuses disrespect toward parents because disrespect toward parents shows disrespect for His commands and promises.

Even if your parents made some large mistakes, you can return good for evil and be blessed by God (Romans 12:21).

Six truths that help us understand the scriptural view of honoring parents:
1. The Death Penalty

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents
In the nation of Israel, God commanded that children who curse their parents be put to death. This was a civil law for a period in Israel's history, not a permanent law of God. But it shows the emphasis God puts on our words spoken to and about our parents. The principle is not limited to verbally cursing a parent.

And if we doubt that this law reflects God's hatred for dishonoring parents, we need only read the words of Jesus who quotes this law in Matthew 15. Jesus applies this principle to people who neglect their parents while claiming to be spiritual.

Leviticus 20:9: Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
Matthew 15:4: For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.'
Read the full passage here: Matthew 15:1-9.
2. Cursing Parents

Cursing someone can mean speaking a verbal curse over them, but it includes more than that. The Hebrew word in this sentence means "to bring into contempt, accurse, despise." 

This would include speaking negatively about your parents around your children so that your children form disrespectful views toward them. It can be appropriate to share parental difficulties with a few close friends or with a counselor, but we must use caution and ask ourselves how we are expressing our disappointments and why.
Proverbs 20:20: If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

Proverbs 30:11-13: Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances.

3. Mocking Parents

We can also show contempt for our parents by making fun of them, looking down on them or speaking flippantly to or about them. The Hebrew word for "mocks" in the verse below means to "laugh, scorn, mock."

Talking about our parents in this manner is never appropriate.
Proverbs 30:17: The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
4. The Elderly

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents
Leviticus 19:32 commands people to stand in the presence of the elderly as a way of showing them respect and also showing reverence for God. 

This command is not based on the character or importance of the elderly person, but on their age. God obviously thinks respect for the elderly is important.
Scripture considers respect for parents the norm. The verse below assumes that we speak respectfully to our own parents, something that often isn't true in this day and age.

1 Timothy 5:1: Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. 
God commands us to honor and respect different types of leaders, even secular government leaders, based on their age and position, not based on their character or integrity. We honor our parents because God says we owe them honor, not because they have "earned" it. 
Romans 13:1: Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
5. Rewards

Why do you think the Fifth Commandment and the verse below promise blessings on those who honor their parents? Why would God give this command an emphasis He doesn't give the others?

Ephesians 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
6. "Unworthy" Parents

Luke 6:32: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
1 John 4:20: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

I know people who love ungodly unbelievers enough to spend their lives sharing the gospel, but they place "boundaries" in their relationship with their parents because they find their parents annoying. That means they are picking and choosing which of God's commands to obey and it shows a lack of love for God as well as a lack of love for their parents.

John 14:23: Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

God will not simply look at their service to the gospel. He will also look at their obedience to the gospel.

Beware of "Christianized" teachings about Boundaries which tell us we are victims and the only way to become victorious is to avoid difficulties. See Are Henry Cloud's Boundaries Teachings Biblical?  You'll find reviews of specific Boundaries articles and books in the collection called Are Boundaries Biblical. I especially recommend Blame your Mom to see how this teaching is based on Freudian blame-shifting, not Scripture. 

Note: In situations where a parent is physically abusive, mentally ill, or criminal, God will guide and direct adult children how to honor His command without being abused and without enabling his parents ungodly behavior. But we must be careful not to exaggerate our situation, thinking we can neglect or reject a parent simply because they are annoying or difficult.  

I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word. Read the story behind Wisdom for Life HERE. And find out about the 
two free Bible studies with purchase HERE.

copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath,

Bite Size Bible Study

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying.


  1. this is all good and well.... but what if you are even as a very young child abused by your parents ? what can a child at the age of 2 or 3 do possible do so wrong that a mother slam a hot poke on the wrist of the child? or that a child at the age of 4 got a sexual disease ? I have truly forgiven my parents with my whole heart! but how can I ever honor them ? it was a long and painful road and only God was with me when the abuse went on and on until I reached the age that I could leave! How can I honor them ?

    1. Dear Unknown,
      This article is addressing the general population of adult children, not those who were abused by their parents.

      Unfortunately, there are many who had good parents and yet claim to have been "abused" simply because their parents don't agree with them or dare to contradict them. I see this routinely in correspondence I receive and from personal friends. Those are the people I am addressing in this devotion. They not only do themselves a disservice, they do you and others who are genuinely abused a disservice by daring to compare their problems to yours.

      I believe God wants adults who were abused by their parents to honor them, but that will look very different in your case than in those who had normal parents.

      I have personally known two women who were abused by their parents. One was sexually abused by her father and brothers throughout most of her young life. The other was sexually and physically abused and frequently abandoned by her single mother. For them, the first step was forgiveness. One of these women never received an apology from her mother, the other received a deathbed apology from her father. Most abusive parents don't repent, so the forgiveness is for your benefit, not theirs.

      God will deal with them for what they have done, but you have hope to move past it through forgiveness. The worst tragedy is when an abused child ruins her/his life by carrying a load of bitterness because bitterness destroys us. In fact, bitterness is a way of letting abusive parents have a final victory in our lives.

      I'm genuinely sorry for what you have suffered. Your way of honoring your parents may simply be to forgive them and have nothing else to do with them. Or, God may give you other ways to honor them. That is going to be something very personal between you and God.

      And please pray for those children who dishonor parents who you would have loved to have had instead of your genuinely abusive parents.

    2. i looked up this article because am currently going through a very difficult and painful phase in the family. our daughter decided to abuse us (the father and i) and storm off to her birth mother. She is my husband's child. she did this because we tried to correct her for being rude to guests in the house and for bringing over her boyfriend to sleep over without informing us.

    3. Dear Unknown,
      I am so sorry for this situation you are going through. There is a great epidemic of children abusing, rejecting, and neglecting their parents for selfish, ungodly reasons. You were right not to allow your daughter to be rude or sleep with her boyfriend in your home. I pray your daughter will see the error of her ways.

    4. We must learn to forgive with our whole hearts only then can love flow.

    5. This is such a damaging and biblically UNSOUND perspective. The 10 commandments, for example, were given to ADULTS. The 5th commandment, includes "so that your days will be long in the land I am giving you. It is not about biological parents, nor about obedience. It is about keeping the faith heritage/calling that the Israelites were given by God--occupation of the land was conditional upon them living a certain way.

    6. Hi Unknown,

      The 5th commandment was given to adults. That's why it says "honor" not "obey."

      But it's not a mysterious riddle about keeping the faith. It's about earthly parents (whether biological or adoptive), and Scripture in the original Hebrew and in every reliable translation makes that perfectly clear.

      BTW: before saying that this study is "damaging and biblically unsound," did you actually read it? I'm wondering because it never contains the word "obey" but in your very short comment, you say it's not about obedience. No one said it was about obedience for adults.

      However, to claim the 5th Commandment isn't about parents is the same as saying that the 7th commandment isn't about not committing adultery against your spouse. It's about not committing adultery against your faith. It's like saying that the 8th Commandment isn't about stealing someone's possessions. It's about stealing someone's faith.

      Another reason I wonder if you read the devotion before commenting is because you said it only applied to Israelites as they entered the Promised Land, but this study contains the command as it appears in the New Testament given to Christians (Ephesians 6:2-3).

      I didn’t include Matthew 15 in this study, but if you read that chapter, you’ve find that Jesus references the 5th Commandment and talks about its importance, and He makes it clear that it’s about earthly parents.

      And what that means is that you are calling the teaching of Jesus “damaging and biblically UNSOUND.”

    7. So good you have forgiven your parents. Best for you to honor them from a distance, and if they wish to reconcile, if they admit they hurt you and say they don't want to again, you can honor them by giving them a chance to prove that they will be good to you. Sometimes people change, but if they go back to being abusive, you do not need to reconcile. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. God does not want anyone to continue to be abused, and as an adult, you do well to protect yourself from actual abuse. Be careful not to confuse unintentional things your parents could do that annoy you as abuse. Abuse has to do with intent to harm. You can still honor them by protecting yourself if you need to, but don't neglect them for minor offenses.

    8. Thank you for saying this Annie Marmar. I have a question for the author. What do you do when a parent accuses their adult married child of dishonor when the parent doesn't respect healthy boundaries and puts the adult child in a position of having to choose sides between the parent and their spouse?

    9. Hi Hebrews 12:12,
      Annie Marmar was addressing the comment given above by a woman who was physically and sexually abused by her parents.

      The verse you give as your name is in a passage that tells us to focus on Christ who suffered rejection, ridicule, and mistreatment for our sins. It tells us to persevere in difficult situations and consider difficulites part of our discipline and training. And the verse immediately preceding verse 12 says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

      Most boundaries contradict this passage. Instead of persevering in difficult relationships, the boundaries teachings tell us to give up. Instead of telling us to honor parents, they tell us to only honor them if they honor us, something you will not find in Scripture. I personally know some adult children who set up boundaries with their parents, and I've read the testimonies of many others who have set up boundaries, and maybe 10% have done so for legitimate reasons.

      Most have done so because they don't want to do the hard work of reconciliation or they don't want to forgive their parents or they don't want anyone telling them something they don't want to hear or they don't want to grow up and admit that they can be annoying themselves.

      I find that people who have genuinely difficult parents are typically more gracious than those who set up boundaries. I have personally dealt with difficult relationships that the boundaries teachings would call "toxic" and "abusive" but they were part of growing up in my faith, learning how to deal with difficult people, and giving people grace out of respect for the Lord. If I'd followed the boundaries teachings, I'd have made my life much easier and I'd have stayed immature and weak in my faith.

      An adult child doesn't have to choose between their parent and their spouse ever unless the parents threatens to cut them off. But many adult children may need to work through such issues, forgiving and persevering, honoring both their spouse and their parents. Honor, as I explained in a comment above, is not about obedience to parents. It's about obedience to God.

    10. Hello,thank you for your insight. I would like to hear your take on how to effectively honor my mom in the life we are living together now. My mom was away in another country the last 6 years and we almost never communicated because it always wound up in an argument. First year of college I made some very stupid decisions and dropped out. I was working and my life went on like this till my aunt found out and my mum immediately demanded I come back to her. I am now 22 and thanks to my mom I'm back in college and no longer worry about bills. The only issue arises in our daily interactions. I make blunders like not shutting the door or not being alert or attentive enough to her wants and needs and she spirals out of control, calling me a user and that I abused her by living the life I lived. She says she feels burdened by having to pick up all the slack after me and hates that she feels like she is raising me all over again. Socially I am pretty much isolated and learn online and when I told her I felt depressed she brushed it off saying she doesn't want my demons dimming her life. She is too old to keep being dragged into the dark by me. This happens nearly on a daily basis. Basically everytime I make a mistake she will take me back and I often feel helpless and dirty and worthless. Unfortunately this has made me grow to resent her, at least sometimes. I still try to do everything she tells me to and I have never spoken back to her or openly disrespected her, but because I cause her so much anguish she says that if I'm not careful a curse will fall upon me because I am not a genuine person towards my family. So my question is, how do I honor my mother in this situation. She is a single parent and often these days I feel like moving out because of the level of inconvenience I am to her.

    11. Hi Unknown,
      I think it's a good thing that you've admitted to your mistakes and I pray that you've also honestly confessed them to your mother and asked her forgiveness for quitting school without letting her know and other things you've admitted were wrong. And I commend you for not talking disrespectfully to your mother.

      I'm sorry that your mother has said things that are unkind and hurtful, and I can understand why it would make you sad.

      Because you are 22, you no longer need to obey your mother or live in her home. Adult children should honor their parents, but they do not need to obey them. And perhaps you would have a better relationship with your mother if you were not living together. Sometimes even good friends have trouble living together.

      However, if you are allowing your mother to fund college or living expenses for you, and/or if you are living in her home, you should expect to follow her rules.

      But whatever you decide to do, remember that it's the Lord you are serving, and He can give you the grace to honor your mom even when she isn't acting kindly. And He will reward you for doing that even if she doesn't appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I am originally from Ghana, West Africa but resides in the US. I lost my mom and brother in 2015, was devastated, so my dad became my all in all until recently when he betrayed me by siding with my step-mother against me.
    My case is very sensitive because it involves certain cultural phenomenon that I know many people in the West would dismiss as superstition because they don't understand our realities in dealing with Witchcraft. Yes, witchcraft, not the Wicca type in the West, but powers of darkness that destroy people and properties through demonic manipulations. In 2016, one year after the passing of my mom, my daddy became sick, and in our culture, some of us, when we face challenges that are beyond our physical understanding, we seek help from pastors/prophets who are able to diagnose the challenges spiritually and then prescribe remedies. It turned out that my step-mom was spiritually responsible for my dad's physical ailment through revelations. Certain rites were prescribed for me to do that led to my daddy recovering later after the stepmom had confessed spiritually of being responsible for the sickness and stated why she was doing that. During the consultations I was warned to be wary of my daddy because he was being fed witchcraft by the wife and that one day he would betray, abuse and disrespect me because of the evil spirits he was being initiated into. Then in 2017, I traveled to Ghana. One week in Ghana, and he became sick ( I suspected some spiritual scheming because I observed that my daddy would be all well till when I am in Ghana and would be falling sick that I would have to spend all the money on him for his recovery. During the time of this sickness, which was prostate issues, my daddy gave me and my other half siblings who were the care takers of him, hell to the extent of condemning us when people paid him get well soon visits. He would say things like, my children don't take care of me, they are starving me, they are wicked etc. They have the means but out of wickedness, they hardly support me, he would continued. I became the laughing stock of the town because I live abroad ( In our culture, expectations to do any thing is always higher for those who live abroad than the locals). I confronted him and he denied saying things like that so I gave my sister a tape recorder to record his conversations when he had visitors- Lo and behold, here was my daddy saying all sorts of lies about us especially me and accusing me of not taking care of him ( even though he has about 8 adult children, I was his main source of financial support, remitting him monthly). When I heard the tape in which he was conversing and insulting us to our step-mom, I called for a family meeting and challenged the stepmom to give evidence of what they had said about me. They couldn't say anything but she resorted to fake crying. I then went to my spiritual mother, who advised me that everything they were doing was spiritual so I should stay away from them so that they wouldn't be able to carry out their wicked plans to eliminate me spiritually through witchcraft.
    I left Ghana on December 12th, 2017 after over 5 months stay and has not had any contact with them. From the above article vis a vis my personal experience, how do I honor a parent who wants to eliminate me spiritually to manifest physically? Is it worth it?

    1. Your situation sounds especially hard. I'm so sorry that you have struggled with this witchcraft and unjust treatment.

      Can you find a godly counselor to help you sort through this problem and pray with you? Perhaps you are doing the right thing to stay away from your parents in this situation, but it is a complex situation, so I would encourage you to find a godly Bible-believing pastor or a godly older person who can pray with you and give you some counsel.

      I have prayed for you as well. May God guide you and give you peace. In Jesus Name.

  3. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family situation I can relate to these situations that have been expressed. Through prayer, comtemplation and God given discernment the realization that I can forgive even in a situation where no explicit apology was given is possible..understanding God's powerful grace towards us regardless of the sins we have committed towards others, intentional or not, is key as well as knowing that were evil thrives his grace grows ever stronger..hope this may help and may the grace and understanding that comes from our Holy and everlasting Father in Heaven be with you all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    1. Thanks for your insights. I appreciate them, and I think they can benefit other readers.
      I'm sorry that you had these problems growing up and I'm grateful for your testimony of being able to move forward.
      God bless you.

  4. Dear Unknown, I sympathize with your situation and understand it to a certain extent. I am an only child and my mother abused me physically, emotionally and mentally for most of my childhood. When I became a teen, the physical abuse stopped but she increased the emotional and mental abuse. In turn the abuse put a type of fear in me that I struggled for years. For many years even leading into my adult years I had a deep hatred for my mother to the point where I wished her dead. It wasn't until I understood the spiritual aspect along with her diagnosis of schizophrenia nearly 20 years ago that God showed me how her illness affected her in being a proper mother. My parents took care of me in the sense that I was always fed and had a roof over my head. I never went hungry and had my basic needs met. I don't fault my parents anymore, especially my mother. After God worked on me for a number of years and showed me a different viewpoint of what my mother was dealing with during my childhood, I repented deeply for wishing death on her. Now she's in a facility that is taking care of her and the schizophrenia and I am her guardian. I am her only family left as she and my father divorced many years ago. My mother never apologized and God helped me to forgive her. I hope my story will help and that God helps you too.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your insights, Kim.
      You definitely have insights for others who were abused.
      I know God will reward you, not only for forgiving your mother, but also for caring for her.
      God bless you!

    2. Even if the writer of this article were on solid scholarly ground in her interpretation--which she is not--how does pretending your parents are other than what they are honor them. We are a culture that is suffering from multiple generations of children becoming adults who "forgive and forget," decide because "they did their best," that the damage caused is not real. lying about who parents are and what they've done is in no way honoring.

    3. Hi Unknown,

      It's very easy to make discrediting remarks about the scholarship of an article if you don't explain what you mean and offer no proof. But it's a very common method of debate when you wish to attack the author instead of addressing the subject.

      And it's also easier to discredit an article for saying things it doesn't say such as claiming that this article tells people to lie about their parents and pretend they didn't do anything wrong.

      If you actually have something to disagree with in this article, you've not addressed it in this comment.

  5. My mother is deceased and she abandoned me when I was a child. She was abusive and a drug addict, who introduced me to drugs and porn at 12 when I went I live with her as well as allow her boyfriend to have his way with me, set me up to go to jail stole my rent money allowed me to be beaten and other injustices. I used to fight her back when she would kick me in my pregnant stomach. Once I really became saved I brought her with us to take care of her and I asked her to forgive me for being mean back due to hurt. She apologized to me but never actually repented. I was recently telling one of my children some of the things she did to me and was wondering if I am dishonoring her even though she is gone. Lately I have been remembering a lot of things and a lot of hurt that I thought was gone is coming up

    1. Dear Lisa,
      First let me say how sorry I am that you had to suffer in these ways from someone who should have loved and protected you. Your comment made me cry. I wish I could give you a hug. I am so, so glad that you found the Lord.

      No, I don't think you are dishonoring your mother to honestly share the things she did. This is part of your testimony and the fact that you cared for her is another miracle of God in your life. It shows your faith and trust in God. Please know that it was no small thing that you did that.

      I wish my friend Jane could give you a call, and she probably would if she were not in heaven with the Lord. She could identify with many of the things you mention. Her mother was a prostitute who involved Jane in sexual abuse, left her alone many times as a small child, and generally mistreated her.

      Jane was a beautiful example of how God can heal terrible wounds like those you've had in your life.

      Let me share something she once shared with me. I hope it will help you. She said that she would get to a point where she felt all was forgiven and she had moved on. Then something would come to her mind and she would grieve and have to work through it, get rid of all bitterness and move one. One time she said she was reminded that her mother would prepare a nice meal for herself and give Jane some old food that wasn't enough to fill her little tummy. She said she hadn't thought about it for years, but it took her a few days to deal with it, give it to the Lord and move on.

      She saw this as God's grace...not demanding that she deal with everything all at once, but letting her deal with it bit by bit.

      Perhaps that is what God is doing in your life as well.
      I pray for you, Lisa, that you will continue to yield yourself to the Lord so He can finish the work he has begun in you.

    2. Gail!!!!!!
      This simple share from your friend in heaven has touched my heart! I grew up in a home with criminal activity, untreated mental illness, repeated physical and vocal and psychological abuse. I have read thru several of your devotions about honoring parents, eventually leading me here- and to these comments. I, too, work hard to forgive, give to God, move forward and honor my
      Parents. I think I've fully forgiven and may feel peace for a time. Then some small thing will trigger memories that cause all those feelings (betrayel, mistrust, fear, disrespect, bitterness and depression, helplessness, hate) again. And I have to start all the hard work over, and over, and over again. Eventually I have become just as upset that this keeps happening: that I overcome, then it returns, then I have to do the spiritual (exhausting) work all over. I've been working on this for at least 30 years, with the first years hindered by bitterness and victim-mentality, and self righteousness... Now forgiveness is much easier, but my spirit cringes to know "here we go again" and my failing to Truly forgive, to TRULY get past my past. Your friend's testimony that she sees it as God's Grace- allowing us to deal with 1 small sin at a time, has both broken and lifted my heart. Thank you

  6. This article has been a blessing to me. The Holy Spirit has convinced me of this grave sin against the Lord and my parents. I had so much pain and anger towards my mother in my heart due to being abused by my father and my mothers lack of belief when I as a child told her the truth. And now that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior and being in this walk for over 2 years I’ve realized there are still wounds in my heart that were hidden and need healing by the Lord. But how beautiful is my Lord that when you seek him in spirit and in truth he will cleanse you if you allow him. Hallelujah!

    And reading your article and being able to read the different scriptures that keep convicting me and how good God is and merciful he is even when we think we are righteous in our own eyes, and how we always need to be lead by the Spirit of God to live a life worthy of him and be doers of the word and not just hearers. God bless you greatly.

    1. Dear Maddie,
      I'm so sorry that you were abused by your father and your mother didn't acknowledge it. I can't imagine how hard that must have been.

      I'm so blessed to hear you say that God is helping you heal from those things.

  7. Thank you for this well put together article. It is relevant to myself at the moment as I am now elderly with two adult sons living with me. (I also have a number of health problems that has rendered me disabled). One of my sons has mental health issues and is medicated and is actually very intelligent but is lacking wisdom wholly. He has been a Christians since age 6 and was also water baptized then.
    I have endured a whole lot of hell from him (he is 35)over the past year and we have suspected he is using some drugs off and on (not prescribed). He says the most terrible things to me to the point where it cause extreme anxiety and fear and I know fear is not of God...I end up staying in my room for days at a time.
    The next day he acts as if nothing happened. He does remember it as it comes up later and he knows what he is doing.
    I have cared for him for 33 years of his life and I am now at the point of having to move because this has been a main contributor to my failing health and although I love him I cannot carry on this way. I have shared this article on Facebook in hopes he will see it

    1. Dear Nancy, I am so sorry for your situation. I pray God gives you wisdom and strength to bring yourself some relief. You should not have to live under these conditions.

      I've prayed for you.
      God bless you.

  8. Good explanation of the good n bad in obeying the commandment.

  9. I recently got into an argument with my dad and we both said hateful words to each other. Now my father is a very proud man and also a verbal and physical abusive parent and this is the first time in my life at the age of 25 that I'm able to stand up for my self. Why do I feel so guilty and why do I cry so much about it?

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      You should not let your father physically or verbally abuse you. I'm so sorry that he is doing that.

      And there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with our parents, especially if they are saying something that isn't true or is mean-spirited.

      I think the important thing is how we disagree....not returning evil for evil. In fact, this is true in every situation and with every person, not just a parent. We can disagree in a respectful way.

      If someone says something rude and mean, we can stand firm and disagree with them but still say it kindly and calmly. And you didn't say if you are a believer, but, if you are, Christ can give you courage and strength to do that.

      If you say things in the same attitude that your father says them, that is probably why you feel guilty. You don't want to become like your father. I would encourage you to seek the Lord's forgiveness and guidance in this situation and in future situations with your father.

      And do not put yourself in positions where he can physically abuse you. That's not honoring him.

      If you aren't a believer, please click the "Eternal Life" tab at the top of this page. Committing your life to Jesus will be your greatest help and comfort in this and every situation.

    2. You seemed to leave this very important piece out of your article, even seeming to dismiss the real negative effects actively abusive parents, even in their elderly years, can have on adult children, many of whom struggle with their Christian journey because of the very abuse you seem to be encouraging us to take on more of in our already week and damaged mental states.
      We’re you neglected and abuse by your parents as a child AND through your adult life?
      It seems you are strongly suggesting we no just forgive our still abusive parents but that we start to engage with them and take more abuse.
      I have been trying to do this very thing and the pain is so great I my mental health has gotten much worse. The constant thought that if I don’t acquiesce to my mothers clearly insane demands ( eg pack my wife with dementia. No COVID vaccinations, and bowel and urine incontinence in a car and drive 1.5 hrs just so she can see her dog which we are caring for as she threatened to commit suicide if we didn’t adopt it, even though the trip could actually lead to us getting sick and dying from Covid) has me so sick I can barely care for my wife or myself.
      While God can do all are you saying I will go to hell if I don’t keep playing into my mothers demands? Do you know what a narcissistic parent is capable of?

    3. Hi FreakBoy,

      I did not dismiss negative effects of abusive parents.

      I did not say that adult children must obey their parents commands. I did not say people should do whatever their parents want.

      I did not say anything that would suggest you will go to hell if you don't give in to your parents commands.

      God commands us to honor our parents. If we curse, mock, or mistreat our parents we are not honoring them. If we refuse to forgive them, we are not honoring them.

  10. I have a specific example that I would like to ask a question about. So say my parents are racist and would appreciate me marrying a black man. I understand in doing so I am not dishonoring them. But say this man is considerably older than me 10-15 years or more would this be considered dishonoring my parents because of the social aspect that plays into the situation??

    1. Hi BW,
      I'm not sure I'm equipped to fully answer your question.
      Let me start by saying that racism is a sin, and a child must never "honor" their parents by committing a sin.

      But it sounds like you are saying that your parents' concerns about your marriage may not strictly be racially inspired but also because of concerns they have about your age difference with the man you intend to marry.

      As I said, this sounds like a complex situation, and I recommend that you go to a Bible-believing pastor who is racially fair and ask him for counseling in regard to the decision you are making. And, if your parents have concerns that are not based on race, I think you should consider those concerns as well.

      The most important biblical principle in regard to marriage is that a believer should only marry another believer.

      I pray God will give you wisdom. Marriage is an important step.

  11. I am so grateful to have found your Bite Size Bible Study. I had the most devastating and undeserving experience with my daughter. I don't know how to proceed with being her mom or maintaining a relationship with her. So I thought God has the answer my bible is the rule book. My google search lead me to you. I appreciate you devotion very much for it touch on my current situation directly. Now armed with new insight I will continue to be the mother that I am with a better understanding as to why things are as they are. While my heart is broken and tearing are flowing I will continue to love my daughter yet with my armor of protection I won't be hurt any more.

    1. I am so sorry for your sorrow over this situation. May God continue to give you wisdom and strength.

    2. We need to look for all means to respect and honour our parents. Honour them by obeying them even at the public before others. 2 we can honour them through humility and care given to them. 3. We can honour them through appreciating and praising them in the public. 4. Forget and forgive thier past wrongs.5. cater and take good care of them at their old age (their volurable age)

  12. To forgive someone who has once abused one may so difficult naturally, but that you are born again genuinely with the help of the holy Spirit you can adjust. B'cos we must obey God either we like it or not,in order to get all of the blessings of the Lord, May God help us all in this present corrupted and abusive world, amen.

  13. Hey I would reiterate in your article that this is for family situations that were not toxic or abusive, just so those who has a history of trauma won't be put off by your article. Just some kind advice, from an adult abused as a child as well. And I read some of your responses to others, and I appreciate you taking the time to clarify to those who were put off by your article. :)

    1. Hi Unknown,
      I added an explanation. thanks for the advice.

    2. As we parents get older and are watching our parents well as our children become adults, we begin to be in constant need of Jesus' teachings so that we do our best not to let our words be quick- we must watch...listen...slow down...and then offer love in response- Joyce Meyer suffered the most terrible abuse from her father, yet ended up caring for him in his late years! It is a narrow path that we must stay on to follow Jesus!

  14. I recently lost my eldest son whom i was estranged from due to his untreated mental illness. I held tight to my faith and I'm healing. Now Satan has turned my middle child also a son against me because I won't tolerate his behavior. He us 37 and had been be in and out of incarceration since 14. I've always been there for him. I'm so hurt but God is with me. My youngest is a daughter and we are getting along now but she is also very verbally disrespectful at times. I regret having children!

    1. I'm so sorry for the pain you are suffering, Lenie.
      I hear these type of stories seems to be an epidemic in our world.

      I pray God will comfort you and that your relationship with your daughter will be a comfort to you as well.

      God bless you.

    2. :(( so sad. The world is so dark now. In God's almighty hand.

  15. This is a process and one that God heals in His children. I enjoyed reading personal accounts of people who were abused by their parents. They are courageous and the light of God is in them.

  16. What if you thought that you parent's are abusing you and you called the cops and now i can be taken away from my parents? Is this a curse? please pray for me... i'm scared.

    1. If your parents were genuinely physically abusing you and you needed protection, then you have done nothing wrong.

  17. Please help me. I didn't mean this and i regret it so much.

    1. I'm assuming you are the same unknown above.
      If you accused your parents of abuse when they were not abusing you, then you need to repent to your parents and explain the situation to anyone else you told. God will forgive you, but you must genuinely repent.

    2. Im going trough this right now! my dad was abusing alcohol and was crazy drunk screaming that he would kill me and my mother. he abused my mother in the past. i was really scared and called the police. I gave a statement to the police and he was taken in. Now we have a 10 day contact ban and during these 10 days he can not enter our house. he called me and asked me to remove my statement. When we go to court there is a big possibility that they wil ask him to stop drinking and to get drug/alcohol tested regularly. He is does not want that. I know that as a Christian i should show mercy but i want him to get better. He didn’t physically touch us that night but i was really scared of his treats. Did i sin? and should i take my statement against my father back? me and my mother afe searching for a new house and i know that the police can help us find one. Is it selfish? Did i sin? Should i take my statement back? please help me!!!

    3. Dear Anna... NO! you should not take your statement back.

      Allowing your father to physically abuse your mother and you is not a part of honor. In fact, you are honoring your mother by protecting her from it.

      And you are honoring your father by wanting him to get the help he needs.

      I have said a prayer for you and your family.

  18. I stumbled across your article. I am a divorced mom of one. My 17 yr old daughter who is now a mother herself, continues to verbally disrespect me. My daughter was sexually abused by one of my ex-husbands family members. I have had her in counseling for 10 years, gone thru rebellion stages of running away and even being put in jail as a minor for breaking into houses and assaulting the police. I have struggled to keep a job the constant acts of rebellion in school and in the home. I have nearly lost the home I own because my daughter chooses to entertain negative things that cause me to constantly clean her messes up. My ex-husband is very bitter that I divorced him, so he encouraged our daughter to disrespect me even more causing our daughter to spiral completely out of control and get pregnant. After cussing me out and wishing I were dead and then throwing things at me. I decided to kick her out and make her go stay with her father. I constantly worry about my grandson and daughter. But if I allow her to come back I will not only have my daughter abusing me again, my grandson will think he can do me like that also. I pray often that God protect them. My daughter seems to take all of her anger out on me and never directs it towards who is actually hurting her, when I have been the only one helping her for so long. Now that I am giving tough love she curses me even more and is now literally telling me f@@k you and I hope you die soon and she has her own child now. My daughter has since acquired a sexually transmitted disease and refuses to listen to any guidance or direction I give. I even tolerated the baby father living under my roof until they started fighting in my household. I have made exceptions and sometimes compromised too much. My daughter still disrespects and curses at me.. I have tried so many things and even had different people talk to her and because she is 17 I cannot make her go to counseling anymore she has to want to go. At this point, she has been gone almost 3 months and I do miss them. I do not want my daughter back in my home because Everytime I move her back in within less than a week she is back cursing me out, damaging my home and blaming me for her life going so badly. She never takes responsibly for her own actions. I constantly pray for her because she cannot see how her disrespectfulness towards me isn't helping her. How does God view parents who decide to let go of their children because they are afraid their children might hurt or even kill them by accident out of anger? Does God understand that if I continue to allow my disrespectful child to live with me, that I could lose my house, job or possibly life? How much should a parent bear from their child in the eyes of God? I started to feel like I deserved being treated this way because I divorced her father but I don't anymore. Their are children who would love to have the love, support and shelter I provided for my daughter. My daughter wants to come back home, but I'm to the point I don't believe anything she says. And with acquiring this disease..since she has already attacked me. I am afraid she may try to infect me with this disease she has out of anger. Please can you offer a kind words or spiritual advice?

    1. Dear Unknown,
      I'm so sorry for your situation. Yes, sometimes tough love is necessary, and God doesn't want parents to allow their adult children to abuse them and take advantage of them. Sometimes parents who do this actually enable their children to maintain a sinful lifestyle.

      I pray God will give you wisdom and grace in dealing with this situation. And since I don't know you, let me give you important advice. If you have never made a commitment to follow Christ, that is the most important thing you can do. Please see the tab at the top of this page that says "Eternal Life." Please read it and pray through it and start reading in the book of John in the Bible, asking God to give you wisdom for your life. If you have not done this before, it will change your life. When you read the Bible, God will speak to your heart and help you thought these difficult family situations.

      God bless you. I have prayed for you as well.

    2. I am in a very similar situation. I pray you have Gods protection and your daughter will see the light.

  19. I’m from an African home and growing up was sort of difficult because I was emotionally unstable and different from regular kids. I did whatever I pleased and said whatever I wanted. Our society deeply frowns on this and that caused my parents to beat me anytime I did something they didn’t approve of or something wrong . When I started making changes they didn’t acknowledge it especially my mother , she was mostly hateful towards me and sometimes i understood because I probably gave her a hard time. They started believing other people instead of me so if someone says something negative about me they immediately agreed and beat me hours continuously for it. When I was around 14 things took a turn and we decided to let the past go.
    I’m almost 20 now and I try my best to be the model child . I do well academically and entered a good university and I’m doing a good course so they were proud of me and at home I did all the chores ; all! My mother does literally nothing . I babysit my baby brothers and feed them as well as my dad. I do every chore and my mom just watches tv and scream at me . She has never showed any appreciation for something I’ve done before and if I do just a little thing wrong she gives me a hard time for it . I’ve grown to become bitter about her and anytime she abuses me emotionally I just let it go or I don’t talk to her for a while. On Friday she treated me nastily and my dad was in full support of her as usual. Before I go on my dad always supports my mum even when She’s wrong about a situation and she never even apologizes for offending me . On Friday I was fed up , I was tired and I started to cry a lot I could hardly open my eyes . She threatened to beat me if I didn’t stop crying and so did my dad . She didn’t bother to ask why or to be worried. She took it the wrong way and I was pushed to the edge and I spoke up . I stood up for myself and afterwards she tried to hit me but my aunt stopped her and my dad said some very hurtful things and I don’t think I can ever forget . I was suprised he did all those things . For the past few days I haven’t had any interaction with them and I feel somewhat hurt still . I don’t even know where to go from here , the only thing I can think of is setting boundaries in our relationship. And stop letting my mom control and treat me poorly.

    1. Hi Naana Ama Nkrumah,
      I’m so sorry about your situation. Let me address some specifics in your comment:
      You said: “I did whatever I pleased and said whatever I wanted. Our society deeply frowns on this and that caused my parents to beat me anytime I did something they didn’t approve of or something wrong.”

      I’m not sure what you mean by doing and saying whatever you wanted. It is part of the duty of a parent to correct children who misbehave. Children need to be nurtured in the Lord and that includes appropriate punishment for doing things that are not right. The Bible tells us to punish children appropriately, and many godly parents spank their children in appropriate ways. Prov 22:15: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

      However, it sounds like your parents abused you physically, and that’s very wrong. But that sin goes far beyond your parents. When your parents beat you continually for hours, that would have left wounds on your body. In fact, I would imagine you are crippled from that kind of beating. Why did no other family members, friends, neighbors, or teachers get you the protection you needed? These other people are also responsible.

      I’m glad those beatings stopped at age 14, but your parents should have been confronted by social services and law enforcement for the serious way they damaged your body and mistreated you.

      Regarding your situation now: you are an adult, and you no longer have to live in your parents’ home. I think you should seek the Lord about moving out on your own, even if you have to get a job and delay your college education.

      God can give you wisdom as you move into your adult years, and in His power you can forgive your parents for the bad things they did to you. Don’t let their bad behavior rub off on you, but don’t stay in a situation where you are mistreated.
      And be very careful that their cruelty does not make you cruel. Let Romans 12:14-21 guide you:

      Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  20. Hi Gail. Thank you for reminding us of God's commandment to love and respect our parents. I lost my dear Mum and Dad three years ago - first my Mum and 5 months later my Dad. I admit and deeply regret that I didn't give my poor Mum my love and support when she was ill and needed me the most. Although I helped and supported my Dad through his terminal illness, looking back now, I could have done much more. This was all because of my utter selfishness, which I think is one of the greatest of sins. My parents were not perfect (who is?) but they gave me a very happy childhood, for which I am truly thankful. Now they are gone, I realise how much they really meant to me and how utterly ungrateful I was towards them. It breaks my heart that I cannot apologize to them and show my appreciation and love for them. But I have asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me and I believe He has done so. I grieved Him the most I think. I would say to anyone out there, if you have elderly parents, before it's too late, tell them you love them. They might have their faults and you might be irritated by them some days, but you have your faults too. Love forgives everything and we have been forgiven so much by God Himself. Joni Eareckson Tada once said - 'No one has offended you more than you have offended Jesus Christ'. Love and honour your parents today. I only wish I still had mine. God bless you all.

    1. What a lovely note of repentance and wisdom.
      Thank you for sharing this.
      I pray it will help those who are still able to honor and love their parents.
      I know God has forgiven you.
      And I thank you for sharing your experiences with others.

  21. How beautifully God has used your post to speak truth and grace and healing into the lives of people, responding to and from one another for two years!! Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your ongoing work in us and through us! You are so faithful in Your steadfast love to bring us to maturity. Make us, as parents, worthy of our children's respect and trust; make us, as children, able to forgive and see the big picture and find healing through our daily walk with You, Jesus. Amen. Thank you again, Miss Gail, for writing and responding as you do.

    1. I appreciate your prayer. yes! we need God's Spirit to give us guidance.
      God bless you.

  22. Please explain how the long life part fits into the death of a baby who is to young to even know what honor is, or even an older child who was always respectful and honored their parent. In the commandments it seems as if it is speaking of the land they had where as in Ephesians it seems to be long life. I would greatly appreciate any insight or thoughts on this. Thank you.

    1. Hi Elsa,
      This is such a great question, and the answer is not an easy one to understand. But let me explain it as I see it.

      I typically think of that promise with that last phrase removed. In my mind I say, "If we honor our parents it will go well for us." But when I say that, I don't mean that our lives will be smooth sailing. I mean that we will have the confidence that we are doing as God commanded and our relationship with God will be good even if our life circumstances are not. God allows circumstances in our lives for a purpose and even when we honor His commands, we may suffer for our faith or because of the sins of loved ones.

      In the same way, the promise for long life is dependent on what God sees as best for us. It's more about living out our mission on earth fully whether we live to 25 or 105.

      So what about an infant or young child who hasn't been able to prove their faith in God? Most Christians believe that such a child goes directly to the arms of God because they have died before the age of accountability. I believe Scripture supports that view. And there could be no sweeter gift than that. We put too much value in our earthly lives and when we get to heaven, the best of earth will seem so insignificant in comparison. So a young child dying is not an evil for that child even though it is a heartache for the parents and siblings.

      And we also need to put this "long life" passage in context of the whole Bible:

      Jesus died young, at age 33, even though he was 100% respectful of his earthly and heavenly father. His early death was part of His mission. I have a friend whose father was martyred in his 30's but no one questions that He was in God's will.

      God also may be sparing some people from difficulties beyond what He wants them to have. Many times I have heard someone say something like "I'm glad my mother didn't live long enough to see her son turn into a drug addict." Or something similar.

      Isaiah 57:1 says, "The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil."

      We need to combine passages like this with Ephesians 6:3.

      There are also other elements present in the length of our lives. We may honor our parents, but dishonor other commands of God that bring an early death. God doesn't promise that if we honor our parents all of His other commands don't matter. A person may honor their parents but dishonor their bodies by eating junk food, not exercising, and getting dangerously obese. The length of our lives is not dependent on honoring parents alone.

      So, as you can see, it's a complex answer. God's purposes and timing for our life in involved, persecution is involved, other commands of God are involved. I hope this helps you even though I doubt it erases all of your questions.

      1 Cor. 13:12: For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    2. Thank-you, we lost a daughter in her early twenties in an auto accident during severe weather. She honored us and was a child of God and served Him with her whole heart, yet we have had people tell us she must have done something wrong (aside from losing control of her vehicle) I have studied the Bible to know how to answer them and your comments and scriptures are very similar to what I had searched out. It helps to have confirmation that was not just searching for comfort out of context. We know God is in control, even though we miss her so much. I so appreciate you taking the time to answer.

    3. Dear Elsa,
      I'm so sorry that someone would suggest that your daughter's short life was due to some sin she committed. Those people are like Job's friends who told Job that the reason he lost his wealth, his health, and his children was due to some sin he had committed. In the end, God rebuked Job's friends.

      There are some false teachings about healing and they tend to place the blame on the person who is sick, and this is similar to the false beliefs behind those who would dare to say your daughter died due to her sins.

      Again, I'm so sorry that you had some "Job's friends" say these things to you. I can't imagine how hurtful that was.

  23. Is there a way to contact you??

    1. Sally, if you are a subscriber of Bible Love Notes - (a sister site to Bite Size), you can hit reply when you get your devotion in your email and ask a question and I will respond as I have time. Otherwise, I can reply to a comment.

      God bless you.

  24. Hi I am unsure what to do I have 6 children aged 6,7,8,11,12 and 14 I get screamed and yelled at daily and called selfish the other day as I was packing up our place to move into our new place so didn't have time to take them to the pools this was from my 11 year old I get told how nasty and selfish I am how everything is always about me I am pregnant and could only eat a couple of things due to morning sickness i had brought them tons of food they are never without but the only couple of things i had they stole and ate the lot leaving me hungry that it made my morning sickness so bad i ended up in hospital with iv fluids and injection for naseas. They scream yell hit bite and even spit on each other i have tried so so hard i love to hug them tell them I love them talk with them cook with them etc I don't know what to do anymore took them to a movie tonight 3min after walking back in the house the screaming started we've lost rentals due to the damage they do to places leaving me and there dad with bad references so we couldn't get a house so we had to live in a caravan park then we got screamed at for that. There dad is a hands on dad takes them to the park plays with them helps cook clean so no issues there I'm really at the point of wondering weather I just hand them in somewhere I know this sounds so horrible I've been reaching out for help for so long and doctors counsellors parenting support parenting programs churches pastors nothing is changing actually there getting worse.

    1. Dear unknown,
      I have prayed for you that you will find the help you need: emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
      In Jesus Name.

  25. what's the difference between physical abuse and discipline?

    1. Discipline is a reasonable punishment given in love in order to train a child to do the right things.
      Abuse (whether physical or otherwise) is an unreasonable punishment or at attempt to hurt a child out of anger.

    2. Thank you, this definitely puts light to many things.

  26. What is your interpretation on divorce and remarriage? and can you please support it with the New Testament in harmony? Appreciated.

    1. Hi Cris,
      I assume you know that isn't the subject of this devotion, but another subject entirely unless you are asking how to treat parents who have been divorced and remarried. Can you clarify your question?

  27. Hi Gail, I appreciate your answer.

    +Please disregard the previous comment I just sent a little earlier, I had to corect a sentence that could have been misunderstood about premarital fornication: no premarital fornication is allowed, even when a woman is betrothed to a man, as betrothed husband and wife.+

    I see it related to this topic, as you emphasized it. Divorce and remarriage increased in the past decades, churches allow it, and many spouses, parents too, and children go through separation and pain, many times destitution. However, I believe Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ returned the marriage to the Garden of Eden , to Genesis (as in Matthew 19:4-6) where a man and a woman who marry first time in life by their own conscious decisions, become one flesh for life and they can't be separated anymore. And only at the death of one spouse a second marriage is allowed (as Apostle Paul speaks).
    Since Erasmus, some exceptions to divorce and then marry again have been introduced in the churches until today ( se Erasmus tumultuous life and subjective reasoning). Is that really what Jesus and the Apostles say? 'except for fornication' in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 (kjv) is not except for adultery (fornication, porneia in the original Greek is premarital relations, while adultery is 'moichea', extramarital relations), so the exception is "except for porneia", not for moichea. In the Jewish engagement or betrothal, before the wedding and marriage itself, if a betrothed woman (wife) was found unchaste or fornicating with someone (premarital relations, fornication, are forbidden by God and coming together is reserved only for the marriage), she was divorced (betrothal was a contract between the two, and a divorce only could break it) or stoned to death ( as in Deuteronomy 22:14 and 22:21). Like when Joseph, who was betrothed to Marry, wanted to put her away when he found out she was preganant, not knowing she was pregnant from the Most High. That was before the two were one flesh through the wedding reciprocal acceptance when God unites them supernaturally. The first marriage for both is a covenant with God and between the two that lasts for life. Marrying another is adultery. This is a big problem in churches since Erasmus and Luther times. Most nowadays don't know it or don't accept it. Adulterers (including those who are remarried) don't inherit the Kingdom. All is written in the New Testament.
    One man, bridegroom, to one woman, bride, for life. It's a relfection of Jesus' marriage to the Church. He doesn't throw away an man or woman who becomes unfaithful, but waits for them to repent. What if a woman or a man who commits adultery and later repents wants to returnt to her or his spouse? The Lord says through the Apsotle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, that a woman who divorces her husband should remain unmarried or Reconcile to her husband. If he remarries, how can she reconcile and do what Jesus comands to do?
    In Romans 7:2-3, a woman who marries another man while her husband lives. is called an 'adulteress'. So, despite being divorced and married to another man, she is an adulteress, why is that? because she is bound to her first husband for life and him to her.
    (there are so many erroneous interpretations that justify divorce and remarriage and not returning to the first spouse, based on Moses law in Deuteronomy 24. That is not what Jesus and the Apostles said. Jesus said that Moses allowed them to put away their wives because of the "hardness" of their hearts, but from the beginning it was not so. He goes back to the begining. No more Moses laws.)
    (I tried writing as brifely as I could, however if you find this not fit for this topic, I appreciate the opportunity to write these to you and I appreciate that you read and consider it.)


    1. Hi Cris,

      I deleted the previous comment as you requested. Let me answer as I understand things Scripturally.

      Yes, God designed marriage to be a lifetime commitment of one man and one woman.
      However, I have never heard anyone interpret “except for adultery” as meaning only premarital sex and I don’t believe that will stand up.

      The Old Testament laws you referenced were given to the nation of Israel and no longer apply. How do we know this? Because Jesus did not agree that the woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death as the Old Testament law required. He told her to go and sin no more, so He acknowledged her sin but didn’t agree to the Old Testament punishment.

      So there is no reason to believe Jesus is referencing that Old Testament civil law in Matthew 19:19. Instead He is addressing adultery.

      The word fornication is a general term. When used alone, it means any type of sexual immorality. When used with specific words such as adultery, it usually means premarital sex.

      How do we know this? Because of its use in other passages. For example, it’s used in 1 Corinthians 6:18:
      1 Corinthians 6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.

      Both adultery and premarital sex are sins against our own bodies, therefore, this passage tells us to flee from both premarital sex and adultery.

      Ironically, I once heard a man use this argument in the opposite direction. He said the word for fornication meant only adultery and claimed God did not prohibit premarital sex!

      In addition, having sex after marriage is a greater sin against a spouse than having it before marriage. Before marriage, it is a breaking of God’s law. After marriage, it is a breaking of God’s law and the marriage vow made before God.
      Trying to equate everything in marriage to Christ’s relationship with this church will cause a great many misunderstandings. It is a limited analogy. Christ doesn’t have sexual intercourse with His church.

      I believe that Scripture is pretty clear about allowing divorce for adultery. However, I think that many marriages can survive adultery with God’s help. It depends on the heart of the adulterer.

      I have a close friend whose husband had continual affairs throughout their marriage. I was one of her confidants/prayer partners when she found out about the first 4 affairs he’d had and she stuck with him for 10 more years while he continued to be unfaithful, claiming he was a Christian and teaching Bible studies. She finally divorced him, and I think she was justified by Scripture to do so much earlier.

      She remarried after her children were raised, and I don’t believe her marriage is adultery. Matthew 19:19 says “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

      She divorced her husband for sexual immorality. He is the adulterer, not her.
      Did he commit adultery when he remarried? Of course.

      But what if he’s repented after his remarriage (which he didn’t)? Then I think God would forgive him and want him to stay married to his second wife. He would face the consequences of his adultery for the rest of his life, just as King David did, but He would be forgiven.

      There is some disagreement about the issue of remarriage, so I have given you my opinion which is the most accepted one. However, I must tell you that I have never heard anyone equate Christ’s statement in Matthew 19:19 to premarital sex. That is definitely a minority view and one which most Bible scholars would refute.

      I can’t think of any married person who would believe their marriage was more damaged by premarital sex than by adultery.

  28. I was 16 and a 1/2 when I married my husband. I ran away with him at age 15. The Lord intervened and I ended back home and when I walked through the door my father took me into this bedroom, took out his belt, and whipped me from my neck down to my feet. I was very sorry when I came into the house for what I had done and determined not to dishonor my father again, but after the whipping, I determined to leave the house and to marry the 19 year old boy I'd run a run away with. I forced my father's hand, and he signed papers to allow me to marry this young man. 10 years later I left this young man after serial adultery by him and physical abuse.

    I returned home to my father with 3 young children and he built a house for me to live in with the 3 young children after I told him adamantly I would not go back. I prayed to the Lord that if if the Lord wanted me to go back to this young man with my children, comma that my father would instruct me to do so. This is exactly what happened after my father found that there was still love between us, and instructed me and him that we might try again. That lasted 5 more years.

    My father was a European who lived by the old ways. Home was always a safe place to return to. Years passed. Dad left for Europe and he and my mother separated and I returned home one last time. I, determined to repair my damaged relationship with my mother, and to befriend her. She was American not European.

    After a few weeks at her house, with only the shirt on my back and myself in prayer about what to do next, my mother accused me of taking advantage of her, of using her. In cold shock, I pridefully reacted by taking my youngest child, who had been born from that 1st adulterous marriage, and leaving late, that same night, to travel in faith, to a safer place.

    Over the years, I have been shamed by my family, on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. I've been shamed by my extended family, entreated as an outcast yes but in a disguised manner, as if I had sinned in the worst possible way. I've been shamed by people in the area where I grew up. My father was a well respected man who forgot that he had told me to go back to my husband as as I learned later. My father represented me for years years as a disloyal, ungrateful, and dishonoring daughter.

    I have reached out and done much with my life to help others, But seem to have a curse of of shame and rejection and betrayal and and failure on my life.

    If you have read thus far, I appreciate it. I believe there is a curse on my life, comma and do not know what to do with my immediate and extended family to clear my reputation without dishonoring my appearance honoring my parents by telling the truth. But even if I did tell the truth I would look like I was disrespecting them to look good now that they are gone.

    How do I clear my reputation from the past? How do I get out from underneath the curse that I am under for disrespecting and dishonoring my parents?? Is it possible? Does the blood of Jesus release me from the curse?

    Thank you for your response...

    1. Dear Unknown,
      I'm sorry for the hardships you've suffered.

      First, let me ask you: have you have ever committed your life to the Lord? If you have not done that, that's the first step. Go to the top of this blog and click "Eternal Life" and read that article.

      The first step to genuine faith in Jesus is sincere repentance, taking full responsibility for you sins and not blaming your sins on others. If you have already committed your life to Christ, repentance is still the first step in your situation.

      Your story is very complex, but it seems like you are blaming your sins on others instead of taking full responsibility for them. For example, when you explain the situation in the first paragraph, you focus on your father's unjust beating, not your rebellious attempt to run away from home and later forcing your father to let you marry an ungodly man. Were you sexually involved with this man before your marriage? Have you repented of that sin? Have you repented of disobeying your parents? Have you repented of choosing to marry a man who was ungodly? Your father is responsible for the beating, but he is not responsible for your sins.

      Then your father builds you a house, something very loving and gracious considering the fact that you married against his will. Many fathers would have told you to live with the consequences of your choices. But your father did more than take you in; he built you a home. But you mention it without any comment. Then, after promising your father you won’t return to your abusive husband, you begin praying that he will “instruct you to do so.” Are you being completely honest about what happened? It sounds contradictory.

      You also talk about praying and listening to the Lord a few places in your story, but it’s evident that you were not listening to him in other areas. Do you think you are mistaken about the Lord’s leading?

      Dear unknown, you need to understand that you are responsible for your bad choices. Your parents didn't mess up your life. Your choices messed up your life. You see yourself as a victim of your parents, but you are a victim of your own choices.

      If I understand your story correctly, it sounds like you are saying that in order to improve your reputation with your family, you need to tell them all of the bad things your parents did. That's not the answer.

      If you genuinely want to find peace in your life, you must genuinely commit your life to the Lord and genuinely repent of your sins.

  29. To simplify for my previous long story I shared ...Does this apply to non believing parents of adult children that commit their life to Christ and got married without their approval and they don’t care about their adult children’s feelings or life choices?

    1. Hi Sun,
      Short answer: yes. It applies.

      God's command to honor parents doesn't contain any conditions. It applies to good parents, bad parents, Christian and non-Christian parents.

      And when a person is married, it even applies to their in-laws.

  30. I am confused as to why there is nothing in this article asking parents to examine their actions towards their adult children that may be causing them to react in this way. As an adult child who experienced a lifetime of emotional manipulation and abuse from my mother I am finally drawing boundaries and saying "no more" but she is saying things that align with this article and has no interest in self examination. This is difficult. I feel in a good and healthy place for the first time ever and she is experiencing this as disrespect and keeps using scripture at me to justify her position.

    1. Hi Shelley,

      I’m answering your question based on my understanding that the abuse you mention is not physical abuse. If it were physical, I would agree that some boundaries are necessary.

      If you want support for your views, just google “adult child-parent estrangement or boundaries.” Nine out of ten articles you read will tell you that adult children are the good guys and parents are the bad guys. If you have annoying or difficult parents, these articles will encourage you describe your problem as abuse and describe your parents as toxic. And they will encourage you to set up boundaries to protect yourself. Some of these sites will even present themselves as “Christian,” twisting Scriptures to support their view.

      But you won’t find support for these views in Scripture, and you won’t find it on Bible Love Notes.

      Scripture tells us to do the hard things. It tells us to love our enemies, return good for evil, consider the perspective of others, and honor our parents.

      Scripture also tells us that we grow through adversity. If we avoid difficult relationships, we never learn how to deal with difficult people. In fact, we often become a difficult person ourselves.

      Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “Honor your parents but only if they measure up to your standards.” Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us to protect our ego from difficult people.

      I could give you a boatload of Scriptures to show you that your view isn’t biblical, but you don't like it when your mother uses Scripture, so I won't do that. But if you are interested, please reply to this comment and I'll be glad to give you multiple Scriptures that refute your view.

      I know scores of people who choose to set up boundaries with their parents, so you'll find lots of support for your view.

      Sadly, you are missing some incredible blessings from God. God asks us to do the hard things, but He rewards us with comfort, maturity, and affirmation.

      I also know people who've dealt with unusually difficult parents and learned to honor them biblically. And those people are real heroes of the faith.

    2. Gail, you said that honoring does not mean obeying, but rather forgiving, not cursing, and not mocking. How is setting a boundary any different than refusing to obey a parent who has no business making such demands on their adult offspring? (and which you stated is not what is meant by honoring?) You can absolutely set a boundary and still forgive, not curse, and not mock. You can honor someone by treating them with respect while not enabling selfish and sick behavior.

    3. Hi Unknown,
      We're talking about God's definitions and designs, not dictionary definitions.

      God said that when people marry, they become a separate family with the new husband as the head. He "leaves his parents" in a legal sense and no longer obeys his parents, but he continues to honor them. Most people believe this applies to adult children who don't marry as well. It's not a boundary. It's a part of God's design.

      Using the word boundary for this purpose is kind of like saying that once you graduate from high school, you set up a boundary not to go to high school. But it's really just part of growing up.

      Yes, you can set up guidelines that put boundaries on behavior, but when you put boundaries on people, you have stepped into God's shoes. A guideline on behavior might be "I will talk this issue through with you, but not when you are angry." A boundary is "I will no longer discuss controversial issues with you."

      A guideline might be "You will not be able to watch our children if you make racist remarks in their presence." A boundary is "You will not be able to watch our children because you make racist remarks."

      Guidelines prevent certain behaviors with the goal of improving relationships. Boundaries as described in the Boundaries books and articles, are ultimatums and punishments given to people who do things that bother us. Their goal is protecting our ego and instead of learning how to deal with difficult people, they teach us to simply avoid them.

      God puts a high value on reconciliation. Boundaries put a high value on self-esteem. God didn't call us to the easy life, and when we choose it, we lose.

      If you want to read about the biblical errors in the Boundaries movement, I encourage you to read the linked articles in this Bible study.

    4. I see your point and agree with you to a degree. But why do we think emotional abuse is okay to subject yourself to, but not physical abuse? And what about giving a person space to heal from PTSD? Would you tell a veteran with PTSD to go back into the situation that made him sick? I have a father who was emotionally and spiritually abusive to me. Just being around him retriggers negative thought and emotions toward God and Christianity (even though I am saved). It is better for me to not be around him, at least in certain mileus. My relationship with God needs healing and I find that the more time I spend around my father the harder it is to heal. I am all for God teaching me to love my father, but I have my own sanity and spiritual health to deal with too.

    5. Hi Unknown,
      First let me say that I'm sorry about your relationship with your father, and I'm not doubting that it is difficult.

      Secondly, if you are a veteran dealing with PTSD, then you may need to avoid certain difficulties in order to heal. That is a very serious problem that comes from being involved in life and death situations in war zones. This is above an beyond the normal relationships this article is addressing.

      However, if you are not a veteran dealing with PTSD, I don't see Scriptural support for boundaries vs. guidelines.

      I have personally known several women who were genuinely physically and sexually abused who have more grace, forgiveness, and honor for their parents than people who have normal annoying parents. These women have refused to be victims and refused to punish those who mistreated them, and they are some of my heroes of the faith.

      Boundaries has created a cult of blame-shifting victims. Whenever someone writes me to defend boundaries, they always use terms like "emotionally abusive" "toxic" "unsafe" "verbally abusive" "verbally manipulative" etc. These are terms used by Boundaries to justify their philosophy.

      If you read some of the articles linked, you will see that their teachings contradict Scripture in multiple ways...and in serious ways.

      We can refine our faith in the "fires" of adversity becoming more Christlike, more gracious, more God-centered. Or we can protect ourselves from difficulties and become more self-focused, demanding, and immature. You might say that avoiding difficult people makes us difficult people.

      Romans 12 is a one example of passages that refute boundaries teachings. If we treated our parents as that chapter tells us to treat our enemies, we would become true sons and daughters of our Lord.

      I think Satan works overtime to get Christians to dishonor their parents. He knows the blessings it will bring us and He hates to see God change hearts and lives.

      I believe in most cases that parents will become more reasonable and loving when their children honestly seek to honor them, applying guidelines when necessary, but not erecting boundaries. But even in those cases where the parents remain difficult, the adult child is blessed with a greater faith, a more humble attitude, a deeper understanding of forgiveness, and an increased ability to show grace and love to others.

  31. This was amazingly good. I am experiencing this in my family, while they are calling themselves "Godly People". My daughter-in-law actually has instigated most of it but 2 of my children are following her. (her husband and sister-in-law). She has been extremely verbally abusive to our faces and behind our back and when confronted she decided that "punishing" us by not letting us see our children or grandchildren for 9 months was appropriate and "the Godly" thing to do.

    1. I'm so sorry you are experiencing this. It's very painful to have children treat us this way. May God give you wisdom, grace, and courage.

  32. I read your article on Boundaries, which is my daughters key phrase right now. I found it very helpful and well thought out. Knowing what it is that the kids really mean when they say what seems to me to be some kind of code word, is enlightening

  33. I'm just coming across this article today and I would like to share my situation and see what you suggest. I grew up in a home as an only child with a mother who due to her having health problems as a child my father felt the need for lack of a better word to spoil her. Growing up it was well known it was her way or no way at all often times I found myself being the adult in the situation. There was physical and mental abuse at times. But the part that stands out is how manipulative she was it was always someone else's fault never her's. Fast forward to when I moved out about every 2-3 months my mother would pick a fight about something and it would be a huge blow out argument that would often leave us not speaking for weeks or months this went on for years. Then came my wedding they boycotted my wedding, my mother refused to attend refused to allow my father to give me away contacted family members and spread lies to keep them from coming. Then went around afterwards laughing and bragging about not coming to the wedding how it wasn't going to last etc. Once I forgave them and tried to have a relationship after this my mother took great pleasure in describing every detail to me of other weddings she and my father where attending and then would act clueless as to why this would bother me. Fast forward to the baby shower for my first child she showed up late and then set at a table whispering to a particular family member then had the family member question in front of everyone why my son was not being named after my father when she knew my husband and I had picked out names years ago for out children. After my son was born things where okay for the first couple months then all at once when I would invite them over for dinner etc she would call at last minute and cancel unknown to me she was telling my father that I was cancelling all these get togethers then she was complaining about well why can't they come here why do we have to go there. While pregnant with my second child she threw a fit on mother's day because my mother in law babysits my children I tried to explain to her not feeling comfortable with daycare not to mention the expense and the first thing out of her mouth was well if you can't afford them why are you having them. Shortly after that ignorant comment was made I broke contact I didn't try to call or contact them and neither did they. The last correspondence I received from them was 9 months ago 2 days before Christmas telling me what an awful person I was and it was a shame they didn't know their grandkids they have made zero effort to have any contact with myself or any of the 3 children in years they've never laid eyes on the youngest 2 there's no birthday cards no phone calls nothing. But this is all my fault in their minds. At the end of the text message exchange I was told f you you're dead to me tell your children we died. I have not contacted them since and honestly I've never felt more at peace I've found 2 wonderful church families. Our family is thriving we're happy. I truly do not believe God would want me to invite in such dysfunction, manipulation and heartbreak again when given the history I do not believe they're capable of change. Thanks for your time looking forward to your thoughts.

  34. Dear Mamax3,

    Each person's story is complex. There are rarely simple answers that apply to all situations.

    It sounds like you have definitely had to deal with difficult parents who have not had your best interests in mind.

    Many counselors would tell you to cut off contact with your parents because it's not possible to have a healthy relationship with them. But I don't think we can justify that step using Scripture unless we are dealing with someone who is dangerous, criminal, or physically abusive.

    The role of parents is of utmost importance to our Lord, and when we dishonor our parents, we dishonor Him. That's the key point. We aren't honoring our parents because they are worthy of honor. We are honoring them because God tells us to honor them, and He is worthy of honor.

    Some parents change when they are genuinely honored, but there is no guarantee.

    My advice is this:
    1. Ask God if there are ways you have hurt your parents and made the relationship worse. What you've done may only be 10% of the problem and they may be responsible for 90%, but repent of your 10% and ask God to help you overcome anything you are doing to make things worse. This doesn't mean you let them manipulate you, but it means you don't return them evil for their evil.

    2. Spend several weeks studying Romans 12 and asking God how you can apply the principles to your relationship with your parents.

    3. Have only one expectation: that God will change your heart and give you the maturity you need to deal with your parents respectfully. Don't expect them to respond...they may remain just as difficult.

    4. Take comfort in knowing that this is going to build your faith in the Lord. And also take comfort in knowing that He knows you can be victorious because He is the one who placed you in your particular family.

    There is nothing wrong with respectfully telling your parents they have hurt your feelings. And there is nothing wrong with asking your parents not to make unkind remarks. The important thing is how you do it.

    I would also advise that you find a Christian friend to pray with you as you work though this relationship, someone who will share your joys and sorrows.

    You can find lots of people who will encourage you to cut off your parents, but I believe that your greatest blessings involve learning to deal with them biblically, forgiving and persevering.

    I've prayed that you will clearly hear God's voice of wisdom and comfort in this area of your life.

  35. I am in such stage. How to handle? I am mother of 2. 😭

    1. Can you explain a little more, Gk?
      Are you a mom who is feeling disrespected by her children?

    2. Dear Gk,
      I have received your emails explaining your problem. I am so sorry that you are suffering in this way. I encourage you to hold tightly to the Lord's hand and let Him give you comfort and wisdom for this situation.

      I also encourage you to find a godly Christian woman to pray with regarding your problems. It's really important to have someone encouraging us and supporting us in the Lord.

      And I have prayed for you as well.

  36. I thank you for this... I'm trying so much to have a relationship with my mom and respect her..I had dysfunctional parents especially mom... It was more of us taking care of my mom because she couldn't take care of us neither love us... Yes I can admit I wasn't honoring my mom... I know it was also because she loved my other siblings more than myself I know I hurt her for disrespecting her I apologized to her but as I got older she got more controlling she told a child of mine my oldest that I didn't love her and I didn't want her... I lived with my mom ... It was bad it seemed like my other siblings could disrespect my mom and they got away with it but when I did it she wanted to hurt me physically... She tries to control me... So as I'm reading your article how can you respect your parent that wants to control ... I mean if it is not healthy to put boundaries up then how much can I put up with her wanting to be in control and get mad when I distance myself... I'm getting therapy .. I think it's not only forgiving myself but as well as her... I can write more but my situation is complicated to say

    1. Hi Nini,

      I'm sorry for the hard things you've experienced. I pray God will give you comfort and peace.

      It isn't right to let a parent mistreat you or control you, but the way we deal with it is what matters.

      We can learn how to deal with manipulative people with the Lord's help without cutting them off or punishing them and without letting them control us.

      I encourage you to find a mature Christian woman to pray with you about your situation, someone who understands the blessings in honoring parents.

      And I've prayed for you as well.

  37. Dear Gail, first and foremost thank you for
    your wise words and thank God who gave these talents to you. They are truly a blessing! I have a question. My current living situation involves dealing on a daily basis with 2 narcissistic parents and a sister(golden child)who comes over freuqently. In the past they have done truly atrocious things to me!Never acknowledged them, never repented or asked for forgiveness.Pretending it never happened. I am their oldest daughter,single(35y) -always been their scapegoat, i feel my life is being sucked dry. They are walking all over me, not respecting me as a person, continuilly using me for their own interests and bellittling me. They are actually saying that I am
    the disrespectful one when I finally say enough. They just wont take it. My question is: how to deal with these type of people? They are truly wicked in my opinion. Out of personal reasons I cant move, my only salvation would be a marriage and having a husband strong enough to drag me out of this situation and to finally put them some boundaries. They are exploiting the fact that I am financially dependant on them. When I say to my father that some day I will escape this hell and marry he mocks that and says: who in their right mind would marry you. Both of my parents have cursed and belittled me from young age and I never acomplished anything because I believed they knew what they were saying. Today I think they knew that their curses would destroy my life as I was always child they could have their way with. And they didnt want to lose that!With a tremendous amount of Gods love and guidande I was able to forgive them but I dont know how to stop them from exploiting me further on. It is like they wont stop, i am their possesion. I cant go to have a cup of coffee with a friend if I dont check in with them . I am 35?!!! I am sometimes even worried for my well being because they truly dont want to let me go, to be independant and let alone marry. My opinion is that devil is working through them (their sin) in order to destroy me completely. Their attacks on me are sometimes so horrible that if the Lord wasnt with me to protect me I would die. Please i would love your advice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

    1. I am not able to adequately counsel you, but I have prayed for you, and I recommend that you seek out some godly, Christian counsel in your location, perhaps your pastor’s wife or an older Christian woman who can pray with you and give you careful advice about your situation.

      If you aren’t attending a good Bible-believing church, you need to find one. And you need to find a small group Bible study where you can grow in your faith, gain confidence to get a job and grow in your faith. And no matter how rude your parents have been, I recommend that you not say things about escaping the hell of your home. It will only make things worse.

      No matter what your parents have said, you are not worthless, and you can quit believing it. It's time to make a choice to move forward without these false accusations hanging over you, and God can help you do it.

  38. Gail, when a parent becomes devisive, especially in their child's marriage, to a degree that even attempts at civil communication is nearly impossible and they refuse to change separating from them and having no contact IS appropriate until there is repentance. Are not told to have nothing to do with devisive people (Titus 3:10-11). Regarding boundaries, they are not meant to punish or control others. What you speak of are people misunderstanding their purpose. They are meant to define who owns what in a relationship. Our behavior and attitudes are up to us to control but we don't own those of others. A healthy boundary sounds like " I understand you are angry with x but you are going to have to speak with them. I cannot speak for them and will not play the middle man". Often those who demand you be in the middle engage in something called triangulation where they pull you aside and expect you fight their battles/act as their counselor or confidante. Parents often do this during conflicts with the other parent, which is part of the pattern in an emotionally incestuous and enmeshed parent-child relationship.When it become invasive and to the point where it affects the child's marriage and the parent now lash out at their adult child for refusing to be part of this unbiblical and unhealthy dynamic, separating is actually the more honoring move.

    1. Hi Hebrews 12:12,
      I can't tell you how many people write me to tell me that their parents are similar to what you describe here. If I were to believe all of these comments, I would have to believe that most people in the U.S. have parents who are seriously and dangerously mentally ill. And most adult children who come from these families are good, loving, and selfless.

      I have extensively studied Boundaries teachings and Boundaries teachings repeatedly contradict biblical principles, telling us that the highest good is to protect ourselves and own our relationships. Self-denial, self-examination, and committed reconciliation are absent from their teachings. They may use these words, but they don't have biblical meanings.

      For example, they expect us to examine ourselves but it's always about determining if we are setting up the right boundaries in relationships. It's not about carefully examining how we treat others and whether we are obeying the important principles in passages such as Romans 12 and Philippians 2. It's not about returning good for evil or doing the hard work of reconciliation, it's about cutting people off or marginalizing them in some way.

      They teach that we must only interact with people who love us unconditionally, but they teach that we must put all sorts of conditions on our love for others. The majority of people I know who have bought into their teachings are applying them as Boundaries teaches and they are selfish and damaging, not biblical.

      Boundaries encourages us to exaggerate the situations in our lives calling them "toxic" and "verbally abusive" instead of honestly admitting they are difficult or annoying. The Bible emphasizes reconciliation, forgiveness, self-denial, perseverance, and honoring parents.

      Boundaries emphasizes manipulating those who you feel are manipulating you, setting up boundaries that don't encourage reconciliation, and understanding that if you have problems it's almost always based on someone else, especially your parents. Cloud very openly admits that his beliefs are based on Freudian psychology and no matter how many Scriptures he mixes into his teachings, Freud's blame of parents comes through.

      The Boundaries books repeatedly misapply Scripture. For example, the Scripture you quote is about people in the church who introduce divisive doctrine, not about family relationships. Cloud also claims Matthew 18:15-17 - a passage about church discipline - is the basis for his Boundaries teachings, explaining that we should confront people who've sinned against us and have an "intervention." Then “if they don’t listen, you throw them out of the house. That’s right in the Bible, right there. It’s all the way through the Bible. The psychological term for this was boundaries or limits, however you want to look at it.”

      That's a direct quote from Cloud and it's not at all biblical.

      If I were to believe Cloud's teachings and the many comments I get from people who follow it, then I would have to believe that most people under 50 are more gracious and mature than people over 50, most adult children are wonderful and loving and gracious and forgiving and most parents of adult children are evil, manipulative, toxic, and unreasonable. We love to blame-shift and parents have always been a good scapegoat.

      I have an entire collection of articles reviewing the teachings of Boundaries on my site Bible Love Notes, if you are interested in examining what they teach and comparing it with Scripture. I use their exact quotes in these articles, and I don't twist them or manipulate them. They speak for themselves.

      If you want to read my collection of article on Boundaries: Are Boundaries Biblical?

  39. Interesting take. Really ignores what the Bible says about parental abuse and goes straight to "honor and obey no matter what" verses. No acknowledgment of mother/father wounds. Sounds like you only care about abuse and trauma if its sexual. There is far worse abuse than physical. If anyone is truly struggling with this and truly wanting to live a Christian life please listen to Mark DeJesus. He is a pastor that specializes in healing from family abuse and trauma. He covers what honoring your parents in adulthood truly means and absolutely validates your traumaswithout any victim mentality. He has a podcast, he is on YouTube, he had books, etc. Truly a heart healing journey in Christ.

    1. Hi Jio,
      Please tell me the Scriptures which I've ignored about "parental abuse." And since you know that parents can do "far worse" things to their children than physically and sexually abusing them, can you tell me what those things are? And can you tell me what experience you have to make this comparison? Have you been both physically and sexually abused as well as abused in some non-physical/sexual way. And can you explain why you made a very rude statement about me not caring about anything but sexual abuse or why you put a phrase in quotes ("honor and obey no matter what") that is not found in the devotion? And can you tell me why you use that quote to describe verses in the Bible? If your views come from Mark DeJesus, they have obviously not brought you peace or made your kind or gracious in your comments.

    2. Jio,
      I've studied some of the teachings of Mark DeJesus and I found some serious errors. He basically denies the doctrine of original sin.

      The Bible explains that mankind inherited a corrupt sin nature because of Adam's sin (Romans 5:12). This is called the doctrine of original sin.

      This means we aren't born "good" and ruined by our environment. We're born with a propensity to sin (Proverbs 22:15; Romans 3:10-12; 1 Corinthians 2:14). People and circumstances can tempt us to sin, but they don't force us to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

      Every sin is our choice:

      "Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin." James 1:14-15

      However, in Mark DeJesus articles he writes things such as this:

      "Most rebellion is simply the result of unresolved brokenness..."(When Rejection fuels Rebellion, September 29, 2014, Mark DeJesus website.)

      "The majority of problems in society stem back to the lack of a father’s love and investment in a child’s life."(Healing Your Father Wounds, February 20, 2020, Mark DeJesus website).

      These statements deny the doctrine of original sin and help us view ourselves as victims (1 John 1:8,10).

    3. Are you mad because your kids dont talk to you because you're spiritually abusive?

    4. Hi Coachtom,
      I appreciate you offering such a good example. Your comment illustrates the attitude produced by Boundaries or Mark DeJesus type teachings.

      1. You assume that if someone has a bad parent-child relationship, it's the parent's fault.

      2. You use exaggerated descriptions: i.e. "Spiritually abusive"

      3. You think so highly of yourself that you think you can judge complete strangers.

      4. You accuse others of being "spiritually abusive" while sharing your beliefs in a rude, judgmental way, showing no grace or concern for the feelings of others.

  40. Thank you for the wonderful response I saw in my email but I couldn't find my post on here to respond back. But just want to say anger has ate me alive but I have sought out grief counseling with a wonderful Christian woman please continue to pray for me. Have a wonderful day my friend

    1. I'm so glad to hear that you are getting godly counsel, and I will pray for peace and joy in your life. God bless you.

  41. Thank you for your article and taking time to respond to everyone's comments. I love Jesus and I understand you are trying to distinguish annoying vs abusive parents when it comes to boundaries.
    I thank God that my mom did not become a spiritual manipulator until I was an adult. If she was like this when I was a child, i may have never had a relationship with Christ.
    My mom started the "God told me" fad in my adulthood. And it's getting worse. Since God is perfect and the TRUTH, I know for a fact that if God says something it will come to pass. There have been many circumstances where her statements were false. I am not exaggerating when she says "God told me" in every conversation. It's embarrassing because I know God did not tell her that. This summer God told her to buy me an air fryer and then God told her since I don't have any space for it to buy a stand in my sun room and put it there. I know that example would fall under annoying Instead of abuse.

    My mother said that God called her to be a Pastor. After ten years she has around two to three members because people left due to the false accusations she started.

    For example, my brother who is struggling with his faith brought his unsaved girlfriend to the church and she started a rumor that she was cheating with a guy at the church. Her reason was because her phone rang and she went outside to talk at the same time the other guy was on the phone. Obviously my brother's girlfriend stop attending church. My mother doesn't even speak to her at family gatherings. That is not how a Pastor is supposed to act.

    Part 2 follows

  42. Part 2
    Before I got married my husband and I went to pre martial Christian counseling. My mom was upset because we didn't go to her. Why would we, she isn't t married? My husband and I both agreed that our counseling should be with someone with an healthy established long term marriage.

    My mom then started a rumor that this Pastor who counseled us had evil intent and even suggested
    an ungodly relationship between us! To make matters worse she sent a nasty text message stating this and sent it to the wrong email chain so there are now 20 family members that think I was engaged in some type of inappropriate behavor with this Pastor. That is defamation.

    Then when I got married she started another rumor claiming that my husband and my brother's girlfriend were eyeing each other which almost caused a rift between my brother and my husband. I was even starting to question things and not to my surprise the accusations were based on thoughts and not fact.

    When I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks she somehow got possession of my cell phone and started a rumor that my husband was stealing money from me because she saw an automatic withdraw text alert. It was a simple auto bill pay. She refused to apologise for the false accusation of theft.

    From mailing me books from Amazon about encouraging divorce and now trying to be the head of my household which is totally not Biblical I just can put up with this any longer.

    She is not our Pastor we go to another church so she doesn't have any spiritual authority over us. But anytime I reject her commandment reagarding our marriage she starts hurlying curses and telling me if don't listen I am going against God.

    I tried to talk to her but she just reverts to screaming and yelling. I pointed out the several times her "God told me" statements were false and told her she needed to repent. Her response was "God told me not to worry about it".

    When my grandmother who loved the Lord passed away my mom kept bragging how "God told her to go and tell my grandmother to repent for watching soap operas" and because she did she's in heaven.. but somehow God doesn't tell her to repent for lying and slander using his name????

    If she feels this is not wrong she is not going to change. Especially at age 70. Yes, I must forgive as Christ forgives us. But what scripture does it say you have to be around this type of individual?

    How would you deal with this?

    Unfortunately I can't talk to any other spiritual leaders because it possible they may know her or eventually meet her and that would be a form of dishonor.

    1. Dear S.M.
      You definitely seem to be dealing with a mother who is unstable mentally. I pray that her character and mental situation will be apparent to most people so they don't believe the things she says and the rumors she starts.

      God has given you a huge challenge, and I believe He knows that you are able - with His strength - to deal biblically with it.

      Yes, as you wrote, forgiveness is essential. Forgiveness is always harder when the problem is ongoing. I know as I have such a relationship in my own family, where the hurtful situations happen repeatedly. But with God's help you and I can forgive and continue to forgive and continue to forgive...

      I recently had an older family member tell a lie about me that was quite evil. When I told her it wasn't true, she created an entire conversation between us that had not happened. I was shocked that she actually believed her lie, but when I studied this problem I found that people who lie often can get to the point where they actually believe their lies. It's very likely that your mother may believe things that never happened. And in that sense, all we can do is pray that others will recognize that she has a problem.

      But what does God expect you to do? This is something that you will need to pray about for each situation that arises. I definitely think you should correct her is she says something that isn't true, but out of love for the Lord, you should do this as respectfully as possible.

      Honoring someone doesn't mean doing everything they ask or believing everything they say. But it does mean speaking to them with grace and treating them graciously, returning good for evil. Romans 12 is a great chapter to help in such situations.

      If she starts saying things that are lies or starts demanding you do something, God may lead you to set up guidelines. For example, "Mom, when you say those things it hurts me, and if you are going to keep saying them, I will need to leave."

      Guidelines are totally appropriate and they are different than "boundaries." Example of a boundary: "Mom, since you keep saying those things, I'm never going to visit you again."

      Guidelines address certain behaviors, and they offer hope (i.e. she can quit saying those things and you won't leave.)

      Only the Lord can enable us to do this, and it's so important to remember that it refines and strengthens your faith, helping you to mature and giving you the character qualities that will bless all areas of your life (1 Peter 1:1-9).

      I encourage you to seek God about each situation, and, if you can find a mature Christian to pray with you, that would also be a great blessing.

      And I've prayed for you as well.
      Maybe God give you wisdom, guidance, perseverance, and strength.
      He is able!

  43. Ok,I need your advice on this
    I and my junior brother had a great fight with my Mum, Because she really made us angry and in the course of her beating us,I stood up and defended my self,So she won't end of killing me,So after the whole thing She said she eventually Disown I and my brother,She broke my brothers phone and somethings broke in the house because of me too,She said she disown us,We have been begging her ever since that we are sorry,but she still insist that She Disown us,Our Dad even Begged she didn't listen,ion know what to do I know I have committed a great sin but I still want her back,she now call us Housemates and She doesn't regard us when we greet her,It really Confusing But she said she Wants to Disown us for Good,What do you think I can do in this Situation???

    1. Hi Blessing.
      There's lots of unknowns in what you've told me:

      When you say you and your brother fought with your mother, are you saying that you physically hit her before she got angry and defended herself? Or are you saying that you argued with her and she got angry and physically beat you? There's a huge difference between those things.

      If your mother started beating you physically, then you should have escaped. Honoring parents never means letting them beat you.

      Bottom line: if you have sinned against your mother and you have asked her forgiveness, you have responded correctly.
      If she physically beats you, you need to protect yourself.

  44. Dear Karyn, before addressing your problem, let me correct a false teaching that seems to be disturbing you. The belief that our words can bring life or death to ourselves or others.

    That is based on Proverbs 18:2: The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

    The book of Proverbs explains its purpose in 1:1-6 as a collection of wise sayings to give wisdom and instruction. Proverbs is God's Word, so we must trust this explanation of its purpose and we must not go beyond it. Some proverbs are promises, but only those which are also found as promises in the New Testament. For example, Proverbs 3:5-6 says trusting the Lord will keep us in His will, on His path. That's a promise (Romans 8:14; Romans 12:1-2).

    But many proverbs are not promises. Instead, they are wise sayings. For example, Proverbs 10:27 says, "The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short." A godly life is better for our health and well-being, but some wicked people live long lives and some godly people die young.

    So with that as a backdrop, Proverbs 18:2 does not mean we can bring about someone's death or life by our words unless we are lying in a court of law and giving false info that sentences a person to death.

    Our words do affect our attitudes and our actions (Philippians 4:8), but our words do not have the power to bring life or death to anyone.

    Now: regarding your situation. It sounds complex and you are dealing with someone who is ill as well as multiple family relationships. I recommend that you find a mature Christian who can talk these things through with you, pray with you, and advise you biblically. If you don't know such a person, I recommend you ask your pastor to help you find such a person or give you counsel.

    You sound very discouraged. God wants to comfort and guide you and bring about godly decisions for all involved. But you need someone locally to help you. I have prayed that you find such a person.

  45. To the author, you are 100% correct. I appreciate your words.

    1. Hi i would like to know more regarding this, about my dishonoring of my sister after marrying unbeliver

    2. Hi angel, I'm not sure of your question. We are not called to honor our siblings in the same way we are called to honor our parents, but we certainly should treat them with grace and kindness. We can disagree with their choices, and it is certainly a bad choice for a Christian to marry a non-Christian, but we shouldn't treat them unkindly.

  46. My Case is so complicated my Mother is a Christian narcissist that uses the word of God to abuse you... As a young child I was constantly told I was a witch because of what Samuel said that disobedience was like the sin of witchcraft. so many unprintable abusive words spat on beaten, bite pushed out of the house ... infact I am the scapegoat child... now she is saying she wants to do a family prayer meeting, I don't feel led to join up.. I am 42 and She is 60...

    1. I pray that God gives you wisdom, grace, forgiveness, and comfort as you deal with your difficult situation.

  47. I'm a college student studying engineering, who after the previous winter break, is planning to never again spend another night under my mothers roof. My mother is exetremily unwise with money, so my grandparents (70 year old retires) travelled two thousand miles to spend the holidays with us and financially support my (45 year old) mother. In return my mother treated my grandparents absolutely appallingly. Screaming and yelling at them over the smallest of "infractions", even threatening to kick them out of the house at one point. This is a woman that would accuse me of disrespect in massive verbal tirades for everything and anything largely depending on her mood. This is a woman that would get enraged whenever I looked at her the wrong way. This is a woman that would accuse me of disrespect, even though my exhortations is as gentle as I can possibly make them.

    I've asked my mother to clearly define what "respect" means, she has not done so. Telling me that I should 'know'. Her idea of respect is likely very broad in scope and very high. Regardless, my grandmother was reduced to tears by the time we left. No reasonable person would say that my mother was respecting her own parents in any sense of the word.

    Knowing my own experience with my mother, the level of hypocrisy makes my blood boil. Why should I conform to my mother's exetremily high definition of respect when she won't give her own parents any respect?

    for context, I'm current living on campus. And she does not pay for room, tuition or board.

    1. Hi Aidan,
      I'm sorry for your mother's bad example.
      With God's help, you need not follow in her footsteps.

      We don't respect our parents because they deserve it. We respect our parents because our Lord has commanded us to do it and He deserves it. In addition, He will give us the power to do it even when it's hard. And we will become stronger in our faith.

      Romans 12 is such a rich chapter to help us deal with difficult people:

      "14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse...17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. ... 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. ..21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

      I encourage you to memorize this chapter and ask God's help in doing what is right even thought your mother has not done what is right.

      And I've prayed for you, Aidan, that you will let God lead you in this difficult situation.

  48. Hello,
    Having gone through your article, I am compelled to ask what is the circumstances surrounding the topic of discussion? Reason for this is that, I come from a background where my father whom I'm supposed to love and cherish never cared about me or any of my siblings that don't have their mother as the current wife of the house. Yes my father remarried like every now and then to the point of losing count of how many wives he has married in his life time. My mother on the other hand left when I was barely two years old with my brother just few months old, we were cared for by my patanal grand mother. I never had the privilege of calling him daddy nor calling my mother mummy.
    Long story short, my father is fetish, and at some time, wanting to get rid of me and my brother just because his concurrent wives finds us potential threat to God knows what. The abuse we faced was worst than that of a slave, I grew up suicidal and the I was schizophrenic and developed inferiority complex amidst my contemporary.i never knew my mother had a child before me till I was about 18 years old I'm 40+ now and I still don't know this mysterious brother of mine. My mother died and I never attended her funeral. My father still Marie's every now and then and still practice fetish religion that seem to pull back the progress of all his children. Please kindly tell me what is there to honor in my parents. Thank you for your time.

    1. Did you read this in the article, Geniu 36:
      Note: In situations where a parent is physically abusive, mentally ill, or criminal, God will guide and direct adult children how to honor His command without being abused and without enabling his parents ungodly behavior. But we must be careful not to exaggerate our situation, thinking we can neglect or reject a parent simply because they are annoying or difficult.

    2. I posted the comment above before I was finished. I'm sorry for your bad situation, Geniu 36, and the "Note" I quoted above applies to you. But bad situations like yours do not invalidate the commands of God. You asked, "what is the circumstances surrounding the topic of discussion?" And that circumstance is obedience to God's commands. When we hold on to bitterness, we actually let our parents win. God wants us to forgive, and He expects us to honor parents unless it causes our abuse as I mentioned above.

  49. Hi, it me again. I commented a while back about my situation. This is related to whole honoring your parents theme. I'm greatly struggling with how strongly Christianity is intertwined with "traditional family values". The entire institution, with just one man as the head, in control of all the resources and the lives of everybody within the family, with no/very limited outside checks or balances. Is just a blank check of seemingly unlimited power to any random man with functioning reproductive organs. To me, the idea of "the man is in control of the household", is just a nice way of saying "MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!".
    I resent that biblically speaking, I'm completely responsible for how my life turns out yet paradoxically, The parents are given near limitless power to make decisions that would effect me for life against my will.

    regardless, those are my thought that are constantly on my mind. I do have questions regarding these themes.

    1. Does the power of the parent have any limits? If so what is that limit?
    2. If ones parents are abusive, what should/can that child do to make the abuse stop.
    3. What kind of consequences does a parent have for abusing a child in the eyes of God?

    1. Hi Aiden,

      Good questions. Let me start by stating some things that may or may not be obvious to you:

      Honoring parents is a law of God present in both Old Testament teachings, New Testament teachings, and the 10 Commandments. And when you say "traditional family values" I am assuming you mean values derived from Scripture, not culture. That’s how I will be answering this question, based on that foundation.

      There is nothing in Scripture that says the man as the head of his family is “in control of all the resources and the lives of everybody within the family, with no/very limited outside checks or balances.”

      Christians are part of the Body of Christ and that means we can expect to be appropriately corrected with Scriptural principles by any fellow Christian who knows we are involved in sinful behavior. This means a wife or child who is mistreated can seek her pastor, other godly Christians, and law enforcement if abused.

      Nothing in Scripture even slightly resembles the statement "MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!". That principle originated in secular culture and is far more dominant in secular culture than in the Body of Christ.

      All parents in the world are given the power to abuse their children by the mere fact that they are parents. There are many checks and balances in the church and in the government, but they don’t work all of the time. Sin is part of our world.

      I’m not sure what system you think would end all child abuse. When children are put in institutions, abuse happens too. Just as a child’s safety is dependent on their parents in the home, a child’s safety is dependent on the caretakers in an institution.

      I’m sorry that you resent that you are responsible for how your life turns out, but that’s something you are 100% correct about. And that doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or a non-Christian.
      Parents are held responsible for the way they treat their children, but when that child is an adult, they are responsible for the choices they make and the sins they commit as well.

      I personally know people who have been terribly abused as children who have chosen to live normal, valuable, godly lives. And I personally know people who were loved and cared for as children who have chosen to live evil lives.

      Continued in next comment...

    2. I think I’ve already answered most of your questions, but let me address them specifically:

      1. Does the power of the parent have any limits? If so what is that limit?
      It is our Christian duty to confront sinful Christians and contact the authorities if we become aware of child abuse.

      James 5:19-20: "My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins."

      2. If ones parents are abusive, what should/can that child do to make the abuse stop.
      If they are old enough to understand, they should tell someone about the abuse. I’m not exactly sure why you ask this question. There isn’t anything in Scripture that promotes abuse of children, nor is there anything in Scripture that commands anyone -child or adult- to allow themselves to be abused. If someone has told you that Scripture supports this, they’ve told you a lie.

      3. What kind of consequences does a parent have for abusing a child in the eyes of God?
      I’m again confused by this question. It’s as if you are equating honoring parents with approving of child abuse. All sin has consequences. Some sins are punishable by government laws. All sins will be punished by God if the person doesn’t repent. For example:

      “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

      Nothing in Scripture approves or allows abuse of anyone. And if you think that the design for the family in the Bible is the cause of most child abuse, you need to check your facts. Does the church have some child abusers? Sure. But the unsaved world has far more. Does the church approve child abuse? NO. Nor does the world.

    3. On last thought, Aiden. This earthly life is filled with sin and evil as well as good things. Some people seem to get an unfair amount of one or the other. But in eternity all things will be set right, good rewarded and evil punished. Whatever we suffer here on earth is a tiny drop in the ocean of complete joy and love we were experience for eternity. I didn't see your previous email, but if you have been abused, God cares deeply about your situation, and in His strength you can overcome any obstacle your parents put in your life.

  50. May God continue to bless you for your wonderful work! My question is, what would you say about a situation where a parent's sense of "dishonor" varies from child to child. For example, suppose there exists a father who can stand for any treatment from adult child A (who has the means to provide for his [father's] financial needs) but will disown adult child B (who still depends financially on his parents) for the same treatment/offense. In other words, what registers as dishonor (that is worthy of disownment) all depends on the financial circumstance of the child in question. While he will stand for virtually any disparagement from the well-off child, he will rain curses on the "unsuccessful" child for the same type and degree of offense--regardless of the motive (even if they meant well and the father knew it). Now, let's just say that in either case, the offense would really count as reprehensible and dishonoring of a parent; except that, here, how the father chooses to weigh it and respond, varies between a successful child and an unsuccessful one. Simply put: money makes all the difference with this father. What would you say to such a situation? Isn't forgiveness supposed to be extended indiscriminately, such that if he can forgive the one then he should forgive the other? If such a father discriminatingly charges his so-called unsuccessful child with dishonoring him and proceeds to disinherit the child--which offense he would have ignored if the child were financially capable--would his curse have an effect on the disfavored (albeit erring) child? God bless you!

    1. This is a great question, K. because it makes a very good point.

      Our honor toward our parents is based on our respect for God and His commands, not for the behavior of the parent.

      The parents you describe sounds like he is ungodly in his behavior and his values. You could say he is not "worthy of honor." But the command to honor our parents isn't based on their worthiness. It's based on God's worthiness.

      And, the child who honors a parent despite unjust treatment will be blessed by God beyond the child who honors a parent who is easy to honor.

      This doesn't mean that a son or daughter should allow himself/herself to be abused physically, nor should they put themselves in positions to be mistreated. But they should continually forgive the father and treat him with respect.

      Also, and this is important: Honoring a parent doesn't mean that you agree with them or that you "obey" them when you become an adult. It means you treat them with respect even when you don't agree with them. I encourage you to read this link:

      Also, you mention a child being financially dependent on a parent. When you are allowing a parent to pay for basic needs or when you are living in their house, you are placing yourself under their influence and control voluntarily. You should expect them to have a greater say in what you do and how you spend your money.

      If an adult child wants more independence, then they need to make a living for themselves and live on their own.

  51. May God continue to bless you for your wonderful work! My question is: Suppose there exists a father who responds to an offense in opposite ways depending on which of his children is concerned. While he would ignore an offense in adult child A (who's financially well-off to take care of the father's needs), but he would rain curses on adult child B (who is still struggling and dependent on parents) for the same offense. For him, money makes all the difference (and there's no reason to believe he inherently loves one child more than the other). To be sure, the offense in question (whether by child A or B) would genuinely count as reprehensible and dishonoring of a parent (if with good intentions); except that the father here choses whom to hold guilty and whom to forgive, merely on the capacity of the child in question to pay the bills. It seems to be something he's unconscious of, and he's very favorable and tolerant or otherwise very impatient and irritable depending on who has the deep pocket; he discriminately weigh offenses according to this criterion. One can understand his inordinate respect for money: As the head of a family whose needs have always far outweighed its revenue, and given his high sense of responsibility, he seems to have over time developed an unusual affinity for money (without realizing it)--an attitude that has undoubtedly helped him provide for his family, but one that now threatens the health of the family, since that insidious cupidity for money is now causing him to show seeds of discord among his children through his favoritism. Now the question is, if such a father was moved to disown and rain curses on a penurious child who used some harsh words on his father in a disagreement, will such curses still have effect on the disfavored (but erring) child considering that a sibling had said/acted probably worse than that but got off the hook because he was influential (by virtue of his money)? In other words, does the fact that a father was discriminative in his forgiveness, invalidate his disownment/curses (especially seeing that the offense was remotely/partly triggered by this same money-mindedness of his)?

    1. Hi K,
      At first I thought these were duplicate comments, but I see that you added some additional questions in this one.

      I'm sorry for your father's mistreatment and I'm sorry that he treats you differently based on how much money you have.

      Even though your father treats you unfairly, you are responsible to God (if you have committed your life to Christ). And God expects us to act in ways that please Him even if our siblings don't.

      Your brother's sins against your father don't determine your behavior. If you've spoken to him harshly, you need to ask his forgiveness sincerely, understanding that what you've done was wrong no matter how badly your father treated you.

      We can disagree with a parent, but it should be done carefully and respectfully. We should actually do this in all relationships, but it's even more important with parents because God has placed emphasis on the parental relationship that He doesn't place on other relationships.

      If your father has disowned you, perhaps you can heal that situation through genuine repentance and renewed honor of your father. But even if it doesn't heal the relationship, you will please the Lord and keep your relationship with your Heavenly Father healthy.

      You talk about validating a father's disownment/curses. Your father is going to do what he wants to do. You cannot control who he disowns or who he curses.

      And even when you seek his forgiveness and treat him correctly, he may continue to disown you and curse you.

      And, you will be affected by the disownment, but when you behave appropriately, his curses are meaningless.

    2. Dear Gail,

      I'm sorry for the duplication in the submission. I submitted the second one after I had mistakenly thought that the first one just disappeared upon hitting "Publish" (it was my first time submitting a comment on Blogger!). But, like you said, it ended up including additional details (I guess there's a useful purpose for everything that happens!).

      Thank you very much for the reply; I really appreciate it. Since the incident happened a few days ago, it had continued to trouble me until now; but this answer you've provided has given me a Biblical perspective to proceed in a practical and godly way.

      You asked whether I have committed my life to Christ; and the answer is yes, I have.

      Many thanks once again, and may God bless you abundantly!

    3. I'm blessed to hear my reply was helpful. And I've prayed that God will continue to guide you, comfort you, and give you wisdom in this situation.

  52. Greetings! First off - excellent article. I'm in my late 50's. When I think about the crazy stuff my dad did with us, I can't imagine kids of today's response! I worked through all my 'daddy issues' before he died but at no time did I ever NOT have a relationship with him! I'd like to talk about Jesus first miracle - turning water into wine.

    When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

    Here is the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE who tells his mom that it's not his time and that it's not his problem. How does she respond? She ignores that and fully expected Jesus to do what she says! Jesus is thought to be around 30 years old at this point!

    1. That's interesting. I appreciate you perspective, Preston, and I never quite thought of that passage in that way, but it's certainly a sign of Christ's respect for His mom even when her timing appeared to be wrong. And God certainly used the situation for our good!

  53. I believe that it's critical insight as to the dynamic between a parent and adult child. It really blows my mind that Jesus says what he did but still does the miracle.

    1. You've definitely got me interested in studying that passage! Thanks.

  54. Please I need help, my Dad is of the mindset that anything he does is good. This mindset makes him not to see the efforts of me and my siblings. We try and do our best but we are always penalized for certain mistakes. I try to talk to him about this severally but He is of the mindset that ' I don't know how to talk to Him' maybe He wants reverence as He believes his ways are perfect. But they are not always so, infact nobody is perfect. But I am hurting not just for myself, but my siblings also. Please I need help. Thanks

    1. I encourage you to seek help from a godly Christian in your area. If you are doing your best and your father doesn't respond, that's not your fault. And I encourage you to share your hurt feelings with him. There's nothing disrespectful about sharing your feelings if you do it graciously without anger.

  55. Hi Gail, It's Aidan again.

    My a senior in college now. Thank you for your prior comments, I did read them. God will eventually make her answer for what she's done to me, both her ex-husbands, her parents, and her friends.

    Honestly, If she would call me right now and say "Aidan I'm sorry for X, Y, Z, W, T, V, and A, B, C. I can't take back the past, but I can learn from my horrible mistakes that ruined many years of your life and change my abominable behavior to you and the people around me. What can I do to restore what you lost?"

    I would probably reply [partially joking] "Buy me a sushi dinner and we're good". Essentially, I would forgive her. There are some materially things I lost to her conduct that would Like her to restore, but I wouldn't demand them for forgiveness. The problem is that she can't admit fault for the things she done. She continues deflect blame, project her faults and generally treat me like utter dogcrap.

    I'm going to cut to chase here. I'm thinking about explicitly uninviting her from the college graduation ceremony. This is something that would hurt her tremendously, yet I want her to face consequences for her words and actions. I hate that she expects from me unquestioned loyalty and limitless emotional support, while she treats me like an enemy.

  56. Thank you for this wonderful information. I have a question. If single mom starts a serious relationship with a man and they are blessed with another child, then the family members start saying that the man's late father had said ( in the absence of the man in question) that his sons should not marry a woman with child, does that mean that the two should part ways to honour his word?

    1. No Naomy, No one should divorce because of something a parent has said.

  57. I was hit in the face at 2 by my father. I tasted blood in my mouth for the first time. I felt the sting, and never forgot it, especially if a school bully hit me, it always felt the same, that sting and pain has an actual taste to it. Sudden pain. As does stepping on a nail. You can actually taste the steel. My mother requested the punishment when he got home from work. This was a daily thing. I don't know why I would cry, but obviously I was not enjoying life after birth, and my mother couldn't deal with it. I know I was less than 2 years old because my sister was not born or around yet. We are two years apart. My mother told my father to leave. He did and was gone for several days. My reaction was that my father left, even though he bloodied my lip. I think he may have knocked me unconscious, as I lay there in shock. I even remember my mom coming to her senses and offering me ice cream to make up for it afterword. As I grew up, I could not stay at cousins or friends houses overnight. I would be overcome with fear, and cry until I was taken home. It was a miserable childhood, but when my father went to Vietnam, my mother and I had a good relationship, that is until he got back. She was having an affair with her ex boyfriend "Jimmy Galispee." They would put my on a saddled horse at about 8 years old, and go into a park trailer on his property. That was fun, but I almost got killed running it through pecan trees. Dad came back and then she was frustrated again and prescribed valium until I was kicked out at 16. I remember when I was in the 5th grade, in the UK where I lived, I only had one pair of tennis shoes, and had to play soccor in them as well as other things. They were always wet from the rain and mud. I got trenchfoot, which can cause gangrene. This was common in the WWI and WWII. My mother had a master bedroom closet filled with length 8' or more 2 boxes high with shoes, high heals, expensive shoes. I got one pair of shoes, and two pair of pants and had to make do. They partied, lots of alcohol and ciggies. I remember in school about 10 am I would start to twitch and shake very nervous. I realized later that it was nicotene withdrawel: lol. To punish me for infractions, lying or not cleaning my room, or more frustrating, blamed for my sisters antics. Like when she put a creepy crawler on the heater and it melted, or lost 50 cent piece that she found later. I was fist punched for that. I was physically beat and face punched knocked into the corners of walls bouncing my head off the two corners like a que ball. I remember I started cutting myself for some reason. Good thing that didn't become a habit.

    1. Dear homesculptor,
      I'm so sorry that you had such a truly difficult childhood. I pray that you have come to know the Lord Jesus because He is our most reliable source of comfort in such difficulties. In addition, He is our Savior, saving us from our sins and healing us from the pain we suffer from the sins of others. If you don't know Him, please take some time to read the page at the top titled "Eternal Life."

      Only through Christ will you be able to forgive your parents for their cruelty. You have certainly suffered. I've prayed for you as well.


  58. Continued:
    I had PTSD from this at 16, but the military straightened me out. Meritorious advancedment out of bootcamp. I got two degrees from the GI bill both cum laude, one magna cum laude. When I went to college, I paid it myself. My parents gave me a motorcycle, but I couldn't make the payments and they repoed it, but I still made it to class. It was tough. I got married, 36 years now, they never went to the wedding. I honored them by attempting to be a family for decades. My father got cancer, and I would put my contracting business on hold and go and help him out out of state. I did this for years dragging my pour wife to see this miserable woman who gave us nothing but grief. Oh, when we were kids, from the earliest I could remember would say, "you two are only getting a role of pennies when I die." Anyways, on a visit, my dad had cancer and had to have a quarentined bathroom so the other family members would use my mothers toilet in her masterbedroom. They slept apart. I went to the gym and showered there, and did my business. I'm about 40 years old at this time. I get back, and my mother accuses me of leaving a streak in her toilet. I wasn't even there. I asked her, "mom, if your best friend left a streak in your toilet, would you treat her like this? She said, "your no longer my son, get out. I haven't seen her since and she's 85. My father before cancer, came to stay with me for a few weeks, and was going to divorce her. I talked him out of it, as it was MOM! Had I let him do it, I would have had a father! He died, and I did not know for several years. Just like dad, whose father also died, and he did not know his dad died, whom I'd only met one time.

    1. Dear homesculptor,
      I replied to your first comment, and I agree that you have had many sorrows in your life. I believe Jesus brought you to this page so you could find peace, forgiveness, and genuine love in Him. You have suffered much. Let Him comfort you.