Everybody knows people aren’t perfect. We can quickly sign-off on this truth until the imperfections of others affect us. This is especially hard when the imperfect people in your life are your parents.
One of the most difficult life lessons for me to get over were the imperfections of my parents. I’m not sure why it took me so long to understand this. It should be obvious, right? One of the things that blinded me to this was my hope for a better life.
What I wanted regularly collided with who they were. The only thing that seemed to change was my anger. It kept growing. My goal was to get away from them as fast as possible. That goal was accomplished after I left home at fifteen.
Because of my self-centeredness, I never gave much thought to the impossibility of them being any other way. They were fallen people, who did not know Jesus. Without the power to change, a template to follow, or mentors to guide them, they were as hopeless as I was. I’m sure you see the irony here: I expected them to be holy when I had no desire to be.
Don’t be as I am. Be something different. I can be angry and difficult but you can’t. What’s wrong with you?
I should have had pity on them rather than anger but self-absorbed people rarely have compassion toward others. It wasn’t until I was nearly 20-years old before I slowed down long enough to think about why I was so angry with them.
James asked, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” And then he answered the question: “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (See James 4:1) As I examined my personal war within my soul, I perceived a conflagration with four primary tensions:
- Life was happening way too fast for an angry, immature teen to process.
- My parents true to their non-regenerate, Adamic natures.
- The noise in my soul was too loud for me to think correctly.
- My goal was not about changing, but leaving the home.
This, too, will pass
As the saying goes–this too will pass, and my teen years did pass, as well as the time I had with my parents. Even after they were no longer the problem–according to how I saw the world–my personal problems remained. Imagine that. I miscalculated the situation.
Leaving home did not leave my problems behind. James was right: “Is it not this…your passions are at war within you (me).” With adulthood came a new kind of clarity. I saw how blaming my parents was not a good strategy.
A friend told me a long time ago your attitude will affect your altitude. Though it is a bit too bumper sticker-ish, it is true. If you keep looking outward as though your problems are because of others, you will be incarcerated by bitterness. After God saved me, I stopped playing the victim card. I owned my sinful attitude.
If you are still blaming your parents, no matter how horrible they were, you will continue to be controlled by them–even after they are dead. The sooner you stop doing this, the better off you will be. Your parents aren’t perfect and neither are you.
Call to action
- Are you asking your parents to be something you refuse to be?
- How is your example presenting Christ to your parents?
- Do you see how bitterness damages you more than anyone else?
- If you’re interested, you can read how I stopped blaming my parents: The reason I stopped hating my dad.