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.  

copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath,

Bite Size Bible Study


  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.