Understanding how to heal from childhood pain may be one of the biggest challenges an addict faces in recovery because it is often the pain inflicted by their parents that is the most difficult to move on from.
It’s difficult to heal from the wounds of one or both parents. Even worse, if one was abused during their childhood, they may have been taught that failing to honor their abusive parents is a sin. This raises some disturbing questions: How can one honor someone whose actions are anything but honorable? Does this mean that they must stay under their control and yield to their manipulations to please God? The answer, though, to these questions is in the Bible itself. The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16, NLT).
The word honor comes from a root word meaning heavy; it implies placing a weighty value on the relationship. Adult children should place a high value on their parents’ role in their lives.
Honoring parents does not mean, however, that it’s okay if parents destroy their children’s lives just because they brought them into the world. The Bible does not ask anyone to condone evil. Instead, the Bible clearly stands against parents abusing their children.
For example, Ahaz was a wicked king of Judah who did not deserve any respect or obedience from his children. The Ammonites and Canaanites influenced him to practice the worship of Molech. Images of Molech were made of bronze, and their outstretched arms were heated red-hot. Living children were placed into the idol’s hands and died there or were rolled into a fire pit below. Ahaz “even sacrificing his own son in the fire” to Molech (2 Kings 16:3).
There is no need to elaborate why King Ahaz sacrificing his son is the most heinous act imaginable that a parent could do to their child. To even call him a father is to denigrate the term.
But for the person in recovery who is evaluating their lives, they can honor their parents by realizing the heavy impact they have had on them. They don’t have to let their parents manipulate and abuse them to please God.
They can still forgive their parents and learn from their mistakes, even though they may need to set boundaries in the relationship, or distance themselves from their parents if it is unsafe to interact with them. Seeing a counselor in the New Life Counselor Network will help.
The most effective way an adult can honor their parents—even if they don’t deserve their respect—is to live their life in such a way that honors God and shows that they have grown from what they’ve gone through.
By Steve Arterburn