The commandment to honor your father and mother of course gets tricky when you have abusive or manipulative parents. It is important to read the command that is given: God doesn’t say to do whatever your parents tell you to do. God doesn’t command blind obedience to your parents. God doesn’t say make your parents proud by living up to their standards and expectations. The command is to “honor your father and your mother.” In the movie The Breakfast Club, Andy ends up in all-day detention for an attack on another student. In the movie, he reveals he did it because of his father and the pressure he feels from his father to be number one. He looked at this other boy in the locker room, saw someone who was weak, and felt compelled to attack them to make his father proud (The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, Universal Pictures, 1985). After the fact, he realizes how wrong his actions are, and how wrong his father is in his expectations for his son. This raises the question, What do you do if they say, “You aren’t honoring me because you aren’t doing what I want you to do?” Well, if it is something that is unhealthy or a sin, then you can say no, but also you can tell them the truth: that you are seeking to live a life of integrity and virtue that reflects well on your family. And by doing so, you are honoring your father and your mother.
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