Struggle with "honour your father"

My parents separated about 7 years ago, I was 13. Since then my relationship with my father has been very rocky and at the moment we no longer speak. My father has always been a difficult person - his own father was very absent and my grandmother is not the most nurturing/maternal type - and he’s very needy and can never take responsibility for things, he always blames them on other people.

The last time I saw him was five years ago. When we used to speak he would ask why we never came to see him and make me feel guilty for not visiting. But we can’t afford it (he lives in Brazil and it would cost almost $4000/£2300) and he has never made the effort to come visit us either. I just constantly felt like I was being blamed for things that, at 15/16, were out of my hands. He also tended to blame things on my mother and make her look like the bad guy when she’s done nothing wrong and has raised me and my sister since without any support from him, financial or otherwise. The last time I remember speaking to him on the phone I ended up crying so hard I had to pass the phone to my mother because I couldn’t speak. The last straw for me came when he revealed that he and his new girlfriend had a five-month old son and he’d just never bothered to tell me.

Recently he send me a message asking for my cell phone number. I gave it to him reluctantly but it made me realise how angry I still am. I still haven’t heard from him and I don’t even know if I want to. Part of me (on the advice of a friend) wants to give him a chance but on the other hand I’m so fed up of giving him chances and just being hurt by it. I’m also worried that if I do refuse to talk to him, I would be sinning under the commandment “honour your father”. I just don’t know what would be the best way to go, the most appropriately Christian thing to do.

My advice to adult children of irresponsible parents is to treat them like you would a responsible parent.

A responsible parent does not blame problems on the child and then demand the child take responsibility/apologize/give assistance. So the child of the responsible parent doesn’t do those things. (Keep in mind I am not talking about true emergencies where a child ought to help if he is able.)

The responsible parent of a child does not ask that the child put the parent before the child’s spouse and children. The responsible parent does not belittle the other parent unless there is an EXTREMELY good reason to do so. The the child of a responsible parent does not have to take defensive measures when dealing with such a parent.

So I would suggest that you do for your father what you would do on a regular basis for your mother. Call or send a card on birthdays. Maybe let your father know your Skype name. If you feel you need to be shielded from him then create special email/messaging/voip accounts.

Just understand that your father is (for whatever reason) unable to respond to you as a “normal” parent so you can’t really expect that your overtures toward will be appreciated. (In fact they may be considered unwelcome.) You kind of have to think of it as that you have a parent with a handicap and that the parent refuses to acknowledge the handicap.

I totaly agree with SMHW. Sometimes doing the right thing, is the hardest thing to do.
Turn your anger into love and pray for him.:thumbsup:
God Bless

jesus g

In re-reading what I wrote I am not sure that my points came through clearly.

You honor your father by (cheerfully) *not *doing for him what he can and should do for himself. If he demands something truly unreasonable you don’t do it because that would be treating him as if he’s a bad parent. (As much as possible you ignore any complaining he may do.) And you extend to him the kindnesses and respect that are normally due to a parent. You set boundaries whenever those are necessary for your own protection and the protection of your spouse and children.

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Remember that you have a father in heaven who loves you always. I can understand that you want to please God in obeying his commandments but you have been stuck up in the human weakness (anger) and you are searching for a right way and need to know what to do for your problems.

God can understand your anger, your human weakness in this situation. I don give advices but my humble suggestion is Read Bible and move in the presence of God, feel Jesus personally, he’ll console you and give you peace which the world cannot give you. The way for this is BIBLE. The rest God will say you what to do.

We know that Jesus asked us to Forgive others. So we need to obey this command also. This is the easiest way for us to say but the toughest part is when it comes to action. But still we need to obey.

As said, Forgive your father completely or atleast start to forgive slowly if your heart is burdened so much. If your father wants to speak with you, Go ahead and speak with him or help him if he needs something. At the same time, make sure that you should not lead him astray by your help or kindness.(He should not sin more or take advantage of you). If you have the chance, (Depends upon your father - if he wishes to speak with you) then You can tell him personally that his behaviour has burdened you and the family so much and so on.

Just think about your mom situation, you should be bold enough now to take care of your mom and others in family. Pray sincerely. Im sure God will make your dad to realise that he has sinned and make him to realise that he Misses you all.

Stay calm and make your family cheerful. They depend on you now. Forgive others. Be innocent in the eyes of the Lord. Jesus is Alive !!!


Thank you all for your advice.


I used to feel like I had forgiven him and let go of my anger, actually starting when I was RCIA. I don’t know why but when he emailed me I just felt so much anger again, I started to cry I was so upset.


I hope that now I can try more to do those things, I think my age previously restricted me somewhat in what I was capable of doing due to my maturity (or lack of).

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