Must every child, juvenile or adult, honor their parent? The 5th commandment demands it. (Exodus 20:12) What if a parent is dishonorable? What if he or she has violated the heart and soul of his child? This does not alter the commandment, or the promise stated in the New Testament: Chilren honor your parents so that you may live long upon the earth.
The most impossible pain a survivor has to face is the command to do something that her heart tells her is impossible--something that is heartwrenching and utterly unfair--believing that if she does not do it she is a "bad girl" defying the known will of God.
That word "known" is the caveat in this discussion. For God will not ask us to do something that is not in our best interest --ultimately. And He does not command us to do anything that is impossible for us to accomplish.
Therefore, I believe it is our "knowing" that is causing our angst, and not the command of the Lord. Are we sure we KNOW? The misunderstood, misquoted, misinterpreted, and miscontrue d--but generally accepted--demands of scripture are the most potent weapon in the arsenal of our enemy--the enemy of our soul--the enemy of God. Didn't Satan himself tempt the Lord Jesus by misquoting scripture to him? He may have said the right words--but he quoted them out of context and attempted to rob our Savior of his glory. Our society seems to have its favorite picks--scriptures having to do with forgiveness, honor and love. Scriptures that have the power to free us when properly understood--and kill us if applied to our wounded heart out of context. The command to honor our parents is one of those complex commands that can free us--or kill us--if we have survived abuse at the hands of the very one we are commanded to honor.
The misunderstanding of this commandment brings its own pain to the survivor who wants to do what is right but somehow senses that God must not mean what well-intentioned folk tell him (or her)--for the command (as understood) places the survivor of the familiar, and treacherous, place of choosing to take care of himself (herself) or live a lie--pretending to honor someone whom she knows in her heart is unworthy of honor--dishonorable and unrespectable.
A proper understanding of the word honor would bring tremendous relief to the survivor and help him understand the heart of his Heavenly Father in the process. Recovery, as I have said before, is not about quitting something or getting over it, it is about removing the hinderances to our fellowship with God so that we can recover the treasures He has placed within each of us, peace, joy, righteousness, and communion with Himself.
The definition of honor (as more clearly explained with greater detail in my upcoming book Redeeming Our Treasures/Finding Joy in the Shadows of an Abusive Past) in the 5th commandment (in the original Hebrew or Chaldean word) is: honor (self) honor (man) glorify, prevail, promote-- but this word also means--burdensome, severe, more greviously, afflict, lay heavily, harden, be sore, and stop. Honor your parents--but honor them according to the truth as it really is--and not with pretense and forced good will. Honor, for some of us, may require us to acknowledge the grevious fact that our parent is dishonorable, to "be sore" about it, and to "stop," behaviors that continue to abuse or revictimize us, even after we are no longer children under their care.
The word used in the New Testament for honor indicates we should "fix a valuation upon" our parents. Like an appraiser who sets a value upon a piece of land, we should be honest in our assessment--for only by doing so will we able to "guard out heart with all diligence" as we are also instructed to do.
Understanding honor will give us the freedom to obey the commandment of God in Exodus Chapter 20 and guard all heart out of which (according to the Proverbs) flow the issues of our life!