- Do you acknowledge your parents when you enter the room, even with a simple "Hi, Mom"?
- When your friends come over to your house, do you introduce them to your parents so they know who is in their home?
- When you and your parents disagree, do you frequently raise your voice or stay calm?
- Do you try to control activities in your home—not telling your mom where you plan to go out, not letting your dad listen to his favorite radio station, not seeking permission before changing the channels on TV?
- When you are away from your parents, do you call or text often to let them know where you are and what you're doing?
- Do you speak highly of your parents in front of them and behind their backs?
- Do you participate in family activities?
- How do you respond when your parents ask you to complete household chores?
- Are you proud of what your parents have accomplished?
- Does fighting with your parents feel like a "normal" part of your life?
There are no right or wrong answers. These questions are designed to get you thinking about the way you treat your parents. Relationships between daughters and their parents vary widely from girl to girl and sometimes from day to day. But there is one factor that remains constant—God calls each of us to treat our parents with respect.
If you've been a Christian for very long, the idea of honoring your parents can start to feel a little like a Sunday school lesson. We know that God's Word mentions the subject, but for some reason, this is a truth that often doesn't seep far enough into our hearts to change the way that we act.
Let me point out two places in Scripture where our relationship with our parents is mentioned that you may not have seen before.
Check out Exodus 20:12. Honoring our fathers and mothers is listed among the Ten Commandments. But there's a promise contained in that verse that isn't found among the other commandments. Check it out:
"Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."
This promise is uniquely reserved for those who honor their parents. Pay close attention to who gets the blessing here. It isn't the parents who are being honored but the daughter or son who is doing the honoring. When we live like God has asked us to in this area, we reap the blessings.
Romans 1:29–31 reinforces how important this issues is to God:
"They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
This passages lists disobeying parents among some pretty serious offenses. Our modern culture probably wouldn't even consider listing parental disobedience as wicked or evil, but God does and that's what matters.
I love how Nancy and Dannah approach this issue in Lies Young Women Believe.
"What it comes down to is this: Our willingness to submit to human authority is the greatest evidence of how big we believe God really is. Do you believe He is bigger and greater than any human authority? Do you trust that He is big enough to change the hearts of those He has placed in authority over you? ...
The Truth about submission is that a higher authority controls every human authority and that godly submission is a means of great blessing and protection" (Lies Young Women Believe, 114).
So ... how big do you think God is? Does the way you treat your parents line up with God's truth?
Note: To find out more about how I treated my mom when I was your age, check out tomorrow's post. (Hint: Eye rolling and screaming were my favorite forms of communication!)