I was sitting at a Women of Faith conference when, in reference to God’s word, I heard Patsy Clairmont say, “You don’t have to understand it. You have to obey it!” I felt like I had been hit in the gut. The words stung my heart. An “it” I resist obeying is the command to honor your father and mother. It’s easy for me to ignore because my dad is dead and my mom left when I was seven. However, when Patsy spoke those words, I immediately thought of my parents.
When I was six years old my mom called while I was at my dads house. I called her by her first name, intentionally being disrespectful. My dad quickly told me, “You are to call her mom. She is your mother and will always be your mother. You will respect her.” I’m thirty five years old and I remember that scolding vividly. After my mom left, my dad never once spoke a negative word about my mom, nor did he allow us to.
Then I left home and let the world shape my beliefs. By worldly standards I have every right not to honor my mom. After all, she abandoned her first five children and played no role in our upbringing; she has tortured me emotionally with evil words countless times, and battles a drug addiction. I listened to the lies of the world. “She is not a real mother.” “She stopped being your mom the minute she walked out of your life.” “She does not deserve your love.” I let the lies consume me… until I became a follower of Christ.
I have walked down the very long road of forgiveness and the majority of time I am at peace with the grievances I have with my mom. My story of forgiveness will need to be told another day but know it was filled with failure, hurt, tears, hope and redemption. We still do not have a relationship, but instead have limited contact for the safety of my children. I have consumed myself with focusing on obeying God’s command of forgiveness so much so that I made it okay to sweep the whole honor your mother thing under the rug.
To forgive means to pardon or excusing an offense without extracting a penalty. Honor means to give great respect or hold in high regard. Do you see the difference?
That brings me to a few years ago on September 27. I was watching the show Parenthood with my husband. An overbearing mother was being depicted. I instantly reverted to my childhood. Growing up, my friends would gripe that their moms were too nosy, didn’t understand, or too controlling. You know the typical mother/daughter conflicts. Little did they know I yearned to have that mom because mine was not around. As those memories resurfaced, the date suddenly popped into my head. It was my moms birthday. I remembered the words, “You do not have to understand it. You have to obey it.”
I picked up my phone and I sent my mom a text that simply said, “Happy Birthday .” To which she responded, “…thank you so much, you bring tears of joy to my eyes. I love you.” I was so conflicted in that moment. Truthfully, I was angry because I don’t remember her once calling me on my birthday. Not once. It’s not fair that I should bring joy to this person who’s never brought me anything but heartache? The truth is life is not fair. Do I understand? Nope, not at all. If I dwell on my need to understand “it” I give Satan a foothold. If I obey “it” as God commanded, I am bringing Him glory.
Is there something in God’s word that you resist obeying because you do not understand it?