I had a moment this Sunday to clean out some files and I came across an email I had printed out from May of 2000!
I'm glad I saved it because it is still meaningful to me today. The email is a reminder to model a good relationship with our parents for our children. It's about the Forgotten Commandment...
HONOR THEY FATHER AN MOTHER.
As many of us are preparing to be with our families over Thanksgiving and sometimes the holidays can rub some friction into those relationships, this reminder is especially helpful and can apply to other family members as well!
The words below came from an old email from FamilyLife.com ~
"Honoring your parents is a command for children of all ages. There is no exception clause in this command that exempts the adult child from responsibility.
....Let me take a few moments to tell you what honoring your parents is, and what it isn't.
Honoring your parents does not mean endorsing irresponsibility or sin. It it not a denial of what they have done wrong as parents.
....Honoring your parents means choosing to place great value on your relationship with them.
Honoring your parents means taking the initiative to improve the relationship.
Honoring your parents means recognizing what they have done right in your life.
Honoring your parents means recognizing the sacrifices they have made for you.
Honoring your parents means praising them for the legacy they are passing on to you.
Honoring your parents means seeing them in the eyes of Christ, with understanding and compassion.
Honoring your parents means forgiving them as Christ has forgiven you.
It is an attitude accompanied by actions that say to your parents, "...You are the person God sovereignly placed in my life."
What did your parents do right as they raised you? Ask God to empower you through the Holy Spirit to take one step toward honoring your parents."
It occurs to me that this, of course, ties into "forgive us our tresspasses AS WE FORGIVE those that trespass against us"...by that measure we are measured and it is a powerful witness to our children for the relationship we hope to have with them when they are adults!
My advice used to be, think of all the things that can and probably will irritate us at events and in preparing for the worst, we might be pleasantly surprised that it turns out to not be as bad as that in reality. Well, the above words are encouraging me to think differently. I'm going to not dwell on the negative, instead I'll strive to look for the good. I'm going to redirect myself to seek out the good in situations instead of falling into old behaviors and scripts.
I love all my family and I commit to this not so much because we have difficult relationships. We really don't...it's just that I want my children to see me as a positive person that encourages others and voices the good in relationships rather than complain and sulk. (O, I am sure I won't be immune to that... but I should seek to compliment, not find fault...right?)
This is a time for gratitude and I really am grateful for my family. And I hope my children will be grateful for me, in turn.