Ralph's Daily Devotional - Monday, July 23

Exodus 20:12 takes into account children.  We understand its basic premise as did the early church (Ephesians 6:1Colossians 3:20).  There is an interesting passage on dealing with adverse childhood behavior in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 that might go against the teachings of the late child psychologist Dr Benjamin Spock.

Families were and are extremely important to God and the Jewish people.  Unlike the Greek fathers who saw children often as an annoyance, Jewish parents spent a lot of time nurturing them and teaching both the laws of God as well as providing for their children an education and craft.

What do you do when your very parents were the ones who abused you to the point that it continues to affect your adult life?  How can you possibly honor them?  What of the father who was an abusive alcoholic or the mother who left you at an early age?  I can cite dozens of reasons for not being able to give such people the respect of this commandment.

Here we will probably need to get the right counseling and support to move on.  We will also need to remember that harboring a grudge will bring us only more bitterness and pain.  We may not forget, but with God's help and grace we can forgive, remembering that Jesus was abused more than anyone.  If they are still alive and able, you should speak the truth in love to them and if they refuse you then move on.  There are tens of thousands of highly happy and successful people today who came from ugly family situations.  The reverse is true as well.  If you have or had good parents, be thankful.  If not, learn to deal with it and grow from it.

The best way for children to give respect to parents is for parents to give a real measure of respect to them as well.  They are gifts of God on loan to us for a time. 

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