Seeing Parents as People
Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it. PROVERBS 16:22
Not everyone has fond memories of their relationship with their parents. Perhaps even now, the relationship you share with your parents is strained and distant. You may even find yourself avoiding them, weary of being hurt by the things they say or do . . . or don’t do.
But one of the great opportunities of being an adult is to step back and look at your parents in a fresh way—as real people, with needs and challenges. By looking at your parents more objectively—by seeing them through the eyes of Christ— you may be able to understand them and your relationship with them. And you may also experience what happens when His grace transforms the hard edges of a strained relationship into something that bears His redemptive fingerprints. Consider taking a fresh, careful look at your parents today. What do you see? Do you see people who experience worry, insecurity, fear, disappointment and
anger—just like you? People who’ve made wrong and unwise choices in life— just like you? People who struggle—just like you? I remember how, when my parents were alive, I had to grow out of my childish self-centeredness and my desire for them to meet my needs. As I began to understand what their needs were, I was prompted to move toward them and want to help meet those needs.
Most adult children do not know their parents as well as they think they do. By seeking to understand them, you also honor them in obedience to God’s clear command (see Exodus 20:12). You can tell when it’s happening, too, because even though their behavior toward you may not change, you find that you don’t react to them like before. You find it easier to extend grace and patience. You don’t always agree with them, but at least you understand them.
What are the things your parents are dealing with at this stage in their lives? How could you help meet their needs?
Pray that God will give you true insight into your parents and help you better understand them and give them grace and honor.