Honor thy Father and Mother


#1

I have a very dear friend who has brought up this issue several times. Her father was an alcoholic when she was growing up. I also get the feeling, from how she talks about him, that there may be worse harm that he inflicted upon her and her siblings. Anyways, she wants to know how she is supposed to honor her father like the Bible says when she cannot find anything to respect about him. I know this issue causes her much pain. My own parents, though they each had their faults, were fantastic and dedicated to me and my brothers and sister so I feel that I am not speaking from experience when I talk to her.

Are there people out here who have had less than exemplary parents who can help her out?

Thanks


#2

If a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a parent, or authority figure, he must not do so. That being said she should love her father and forgive his faults, Love the Sinner, hate the sin. I would suggest she get some professional help from a Priest or anyone she feels comfortable with. This situation sounds quite complicated, as much as you want to help her, this is a case for professional help. Be there for her. You sound like a wonderful friend:blessyou:


#3

[quote=ABsitively]I have a very dear friend who has brought up this issue several times. Her father was an alcoholic when she was growing up. I also get the feeling, from how she talks about him, that there may be worse harm that he inflicted upon her and her siblings. Anyways, she wants to know how she is supposed to honor her father like the Bible says when she cannot find anything to respect about him. I know this issue causes her much pain. My own parents, though they each had their faults, were fantastic and dedicated to me and my brothers and sister so I feel that I am not speaking from experience when I talk to her.

Are there people out here who have had less than exemplary parents who can help her out?

Thanks
[/quote]

If the friend thinks it is best to keep her distance, then it is best to keep her distance. “Honor thy father” can be making sure he has a roof over his head and food to eat. And praying for the one who wronged you is always honorable, as is forgiveness. The Dad can be respected for the innocent child of God that he was prior to so much in his life being wrong, and for the creature created in the image and likeness of God that he is.

Where was the mother when “…may be worse harm inflicted…” took place?


#4

I think honor and respect are two very different things in a case such as this…you can still honor your parents without enabling, allowing or respecting their actions -0- you can honor them through prayer, intentions, masses, all the while maintaining your own self – just my humble opinion


#5

[quote=Courtneyjo]If the friend thinks it is best to keep her distance, then it is best to keep her distance. “Honor thy father” can be making sure he has a roof over his head and food to eat. And praying for the one who wronged you is always honorable, as is forgiveness. The Dad can be respected for the innocent child of God that he was prior to so much in his life being wrong, and for the creature created in the image and likeness of God that he is.

Where was the mother when “…may be worse harm inflicted…” took place?
[/quote]

Excellent points. I think too often the 5th Commandment is taken as a command to be chummy, warm & fuzzy, and/or mimic a Norman Rockwell painting. That kind of intimacy or ease in relationship can’t be faked or recreated where the trust and bond of parent/child has been so severly torn by abuse or neglect. In fact there may be situations where avoiding a parent who visited abuse upon a child is essential–especially if there are minor grandchildren who must be protected.

However, I do believe that those who are called to practice a life of faith do have an obligation to assure that parents’ basic needs are met and that any frailty or feebleness they may experience does not open the door to abuse or neglect of them in their old age by any caretaker.


#6

Distance is a very good thing. I have a dysfuntional father. I keep my distance from him, but when I must be with him (say at a family reunion) I’m respectful and pleasant, because working on healing our relationship is not going to happen, yet I don’t want to embarrass him in front of others either. My life is better when I stay away from my dad. I do not hold him in high esteem (which is what the dictionary says honor means), but give him his due in terms of respect. Am I breaking the fifth commandment?


#7

[quote=Courtneyjo]If the friend thinks it is best to keep her distance, then it is best to keep her distance. “Honor thy father” can be making sure he has a roof over his head and food to eat. And praying for the one who wronged you is always honorable, as is forgiveness. The Dad can be respected for the innocent child of God that he was prior to so much in his life being wrong, and for the creature created in the image and likeness of God that he is.

Where was the mother when “…may be worse harm inflicted…” took place?
[/quote]

Her mother was a very young immigrant when they got married. I think that she has made her peace with her mother, the issues remain with her father.


#8

Thank you all for your responses! Yes, she has 3 young daughters, 4,2, and newborn so she has even more reason to keep a distance. I would like to share your responses with her if that is all right. Cupofkindness, you sound like you are dealing with some of the same issues. Maybe you could talk a little about the things that have helped you get through the anger and mistrust that your father engendered (If you feel comfortable sharing, it’s ok if you don’t)

Thanks again!


#9

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