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5th commandment...

The 5th commandment is about honoring your mom and dad.
Do believers allow this commandment to govern their thinking and actions, even if the parents are abusive? I'm talking anything that could be considered psychologically and/or physically abusive.
I could see that this rule could be potentially dangerous if one is expected to honor their abusive parents.
I'm all for honoring my folks if they're honorable. But not, if they're not.
Honor is earned, no?


Asked by clarity333 at 12:13 AM on Mar. 20, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 22 (13,098 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (25)
  • That's just one of the ten commandments I take issue with. I abandoned Christianity. Why should we obey authority of any kind, over our own conscience and heart? but the Bible is full of "do as you're told" kind of advice.

    Answer by judimary at 12:20 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I guess based on this that honor is not earned, but is a choice. I think in the worst case scenario you can still honor them by not speaking badly of them, not filling yourself up with hatred towards them but forgiving them, caring for them when they get older even though they don't deserve it. That doesn't mean you need to obey them, or set yourself up for pain, or even be around them very much. I think it might have to do more with your attitude towards them.

    Answer by mybella81 at 12:20 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I don't think honor has to mean OBEY or even love if you have an abusive, hateful, or distant parent. You can still give them the same respect you give other human beings, but any more 'respect' than this is earned. In other words, you can choose to not 'stoop to their level' if they are treating you poorly. You can choose to not bad mouth them or hold onto anger, hurt, hate, etc. In fact, even if someone cannot forgive the other person for that person's sake, we can still forgive for their own sake. It's healthier--physically and emotionally--for us to forgive others and LET GO. Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting either. We can learn from their mistakes and not perpetuate the cycle of abuse or neglect. So, anyway, I guess I only have a problem with this commandment when people interpret it to mean 'obey' no matter what. Obedience is fear based; respect is earned. I think it can be interpreted differently though.

    Answer by pam19 at 1:54 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • That crap was pounded into me growing up. I had fractures in my neck, breaks in my lower back and tail bone, jaw knocked out of place, bruises constantly. I pissed him off??? What can a child do to deserve that? And because the Bible said to obey your parents? When he broke my back I was 10 minutes late, at 15 years old. I'm now 60. Not a day goes by that I don't hurt. I live with it. But I NEVER treated my kids like that. I left the church YEARS ago because they said "obey your parents" . I did obey. Dad just had a nasty temper and I got beat even if whatever pissed him off had nothing to do with me.

    Answer by Kimimale at 12:40 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • My parents were abusive as well. Not a day went by that I didn't have bruises or switch marks on me, not a day went by that I was told I was fat and ugly. I went to church with my grandmother and learned my commandments but even the Lord can't make me honor them. To honor them is to respect and obey, I obeyed, look where it got me and never respected because they didn't deserve it. I spent my time in Hell and if God is a loving God he'll understand why they are not allowed near me and my children.

    Answer by Kathy675 at 1:34 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I think there is a HUGE difference between being a doormat and being respectful. I don't believe that God expects anyone to endure abuse, but I do believe that He calls us to a higher standard of love and forgiveness, which doesn't mean continuing to put up with the abuse, but instead just means that everything done is done with a loving, understanding heart. We don't have to let the behaviors/attitudes of others govern our own. We can still try to act with a level of love and respect, even in attempts to distance ourselves from people who negatively effect our lives.

    Also, I don't believe these are absolutes. These relationships are reciprocal, not one sided. The "rules" are meant to pertain to those relationships that live up to that reciprocity, they're not talking about the other kind. Just like the saying that a woman should honor her husband, he is also obligated to her as well. It goes both ways...

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:59 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • In my opinion, being a "parent" doesn't really have anything to do with giving DNA to someone, but in the raising of that child. So in my mind, if your birth mom or dad was abusive, then they aren't really your parent. I think you have to love and nuture your child, and if you're not doing that, you're not being a parent.

    But I do agree with the person who said it has alot to do with how you speak to and about your parents.

    Answer by PhoenixsMommy10 at 12:37 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I do believe in the Ten Commandments. Honoring thy father and thy mother is part of the Bible. But I also think that if you are treated badly by your parents, I can understand how you feel. How can you possibly honor someone who mistreated you as a child?

    Answer by amessageofhope at 12:37 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Yes I believe it's more like respect. And I just came back because I was thinking about this as I was going to bed and wanted to add something. The Bible says "children obey your parents in the Lord" The "in the lord" part is important. Obedience to God comes first, we are not obligated to obey an authority figure if what they are asking us to do is wrong. But the Bible also warns that our hearts can be deceiving and even wicked. I would not obey my heart over a loving authority. God puts authorities in our lives for our protection. Of course they aren't perfect, which is why we need to obey God first.

    Answer by mybella81 at 12:44 AM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I agree, honor is earned. Respect is earned. Anyone can have children, but not everyone can or should be parents.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 1:14 AM on Mar. 20, 2011