Cursing our parents curses us back
In anger, frustration, pain, and annoyance, we may shoot offensive and damning statements at people. Cursing, no matter how seemingly justified, goes against the Holy Spirit. He only brings patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. A tongue that has been poisoned with “restless evil” will curse others. The Bible teaches us not to use our bodies for such purposes and warns us that we will most certainly suffer spiritual death if we curse our parents.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
James 3:8-11 ESV but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
Perhaps we have blamed our father or mother for things that have gone wrong in our lives and judged them as being stupid, useless, and annoying. We wished we had different parents and that our parents would just disappear or die. We hate them for their shortcomings and weaknesses, and continue to bear grudges and condemn them.
No matter how justified we may feel about our actions, the Bible makes it clear that such attitudes only bring on spiritual death and curses on ourselves.
Exodus 21:17 ESV “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.
Leviticus 20:9 ESV For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.
Proverbs 20:20 ESV If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
Our words, attitudes, and actions all count
In addition to the commandments on our relationship with God, the Bible provides a lot of guidance on how we are to relate to our parents.
- Do not criticise, condemn, slander our parents | Matthew 15:4 ESV For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
- Do not mock, snub or scorn our parents | Proverbs 30:17 ESV The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.
- Do not resent or hate our parents | 1 John 3:15 ESV Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
- Do not chase our parents away | Proverbs 19:26 ESV He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.
- Do not rob or swindle our parents | Proverbs 28:24 ESV Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.
- Do not hit or attack our parents | Exodus 21:15 ESV “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
God’s justice cannot be mocked. The ungodly words and attitudes we carry against our earthly parents will condemn us and rob us of God’s blessings.
Galatians 6:7-8 ESV Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
God’s Word warns us that if we do not love our fellow human beings, we will find it impossible to love Him. If we don’t love our parents, who are our first relationships, how can we love God?
1 John 4:20 ESV If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:8 ESV Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
What the Bible says about earthly parent-child relationships
In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul pointed out two types of parent–child relationships.
The first is with our earthly parents, who are our “guardians and managers” until we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. After that day, we are to call God “Father or Papa” and turn to Him as our only Parent. We are to no longer be subjected to our earthly family patterns and traditions, which Paul described as “the elementary principles of the world”. As children of God, we will come into an inheritance of rich spiritual blessings, which we are to bless other people with.
Galatians 3:29-4:7 ESV I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Matthew 23:9 ESV And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul goes one step further and explains that these worldly family patterns are from the god of this world, Satan. Hence, God considered us “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath” like everyone else in this world who follows the demonic “prince of the power of the air”. We were spiritually dead, until we were “made alive together with Christ” as children restored to a precious Parent-child relationship with our Father.
Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
Our Heavenly Father certainly calls us to respect and care for our earthly fathers and mothers, but He does not condone blind loyalty to them. No one on earth has ever sacrificed more for us than God Himself, who watched His Son crucified on the cross for our sake. Hence, God considers anyone who loves their earthly father or mother more than Him, unworthy of Him. We are to first and foremost love God above all else.
- Respect and value our parents | Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
- Provide for our parents’ needs | 1 Timothy 5:8 ESV But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
- Testify of God’s love, grace, and power | Luke 8:39 ESV “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Matthew 10:37 ESV Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
As we respect and honour the parents that God has chosen for us, we are freed from having to bow down to or even approve of all their practices. We are to love them as we love everybody else, as Christ loved us without favouritism, bias or grudges. In God’s eyes, all people – young or old, parents or children, male or female – are His children. There are no hierarchies in heaven, except our submission to our Heavenly Father.
Matthew 22:30 ESV For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
To God, our parents are our equals who will have to answer to Him for how they raised us. Have they been good and faithful “guardians and managers” of God’s children? Did they love and care for us according to God’s Word? All parents will have to face up to God’s fierce judgement one day, whether they like it or not. There are no hierarchies or favouritism in heaven.
Some reasons why we curse our parents
There are many reasons why family relationships can go wrong, and they often do. No parent, no matter how well-meaning or caring, will reflect God’s love perfectly.
1. The curse of Confucian philosophy
The ideas of filial piety run deep in Asian societies and are often the root cause for family conflicts. Parents accuse their grown-up sons and daughters of not honouring or respecting them if they don’t follow their advice. Many Asian parents don’t realise their children don’t feel loved, respected and accepted, because of this ungracious focus on duty and obedience. This can lead to intergenerational conflict and anger.
Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
2. Misplaced expectations of God’s perfect love
When God created us, He placed a “homing signal” in us that would lead us back to Him if we seek Him with our undivided hearts. All of us have a desire for perfect love from our perfect Parent. Unfortunately, we can place these God-sized expectations on our human guardians. This will inadvertently lead to disappointment and frustrations.
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Psalm 86:11 ESV Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
3. Lack of biblical parenting training
God promises that all family relationships will “go well” if parents keep all of God’s instructions. It is hard for parents who have never learnt God’s ways of love to love us like He does. Many people become parents and rely on human wisdom that is based on worldly patterns. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a Bible parenting academy.
Deuteronomy 4:40 ESV Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
4. Our parents had faulty role models
Most fathers and mothers follow faulty role models from their own upbringing and simply repeat generational patterns. Consider our fathers’ and mothers’ upbringings and we will understand why they do the things that they do. Moreover, all of us are descendants from faulty prototypes. If the first parents on earth, Adam and Eve, chose to blatantly sin against God, what hope did our parents and forefathers have? We were all “children of wrath” before we knew Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:12 ESV Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
5. We learnt the wrong patterns at home
If we grew up in family environments that condoned cursing or were poor models of grace and acceptance, we may simply pick up the same ungodly patterns. Later as adults, we may find it hard to understand and empathise with our parents. In the back of our minds is the self-righteous judgment that says, “Why can’t they be more like…?” We are not attuned to see the troubles and hardships they endured to raise us and simply curse them for their failings. God calls us to thank Him in all circumstances. This includes thanking Him for our parents who gave us life.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
6. Narcissistic self-entitlement
Alternatively, we simply follow the patterns of the world. Jesus warned that in the Last Days, people will be “lovers of self, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable and slanderous”. Instead of considering our parents’ own stresses, fears and insecurities, we grumble, complain and demand that they serve us better. When our earthly fathers or mothers fail to please us, we end up despising and cursing them.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 ESV But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Philippians 2:14-16 ESV Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…
We are called to be vessels of God’s grace to our parents
As children of God, we are called to follow the ways of Jesus Christ and no longer be partners with the ways of this world. This may mean that we suffer reviling, persecution and false accusations from our own family members. Jesus suffered grievously for the sake of the gospel, and we can expect to suffer in some ways too.
Ephesians 5:1-2,7-10 ESV Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God… Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Romans 8:16-17 ESV The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Matthew 5:10-11 ESV Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
In the meantime, we need to repent of ever cursing our family members and revoke all ungodly words we have ever spoken over them. God is watching us and observing if we choose to behave as His children or “children of wrath” that follow the devil. Let us bless them and forgive them for their shortcomings and no longer abuse them. See Recognising and breaking word curses
Psalm 53:2 ESV God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
1 John 3:2-3,6,8-9 ESV Beloved, we are God’s children now… And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
When we follow God, He will honour our obedience and teach us how to live peaceably with our parents – because Jesus loves them and died for them too. Sometimes, God chooses us for our parents, more than our parents for us. The Bible says that we are a gift to our parents. Let us be a blessing to them by providing for their fundamental needs, respecting their views and demonstrating Jesus’ grace– without bowing down to their ungodly expectations and choose to respond to any offence with godly wisdom. We might be the only people who will care for them enough to lead them to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. See Toxic parents who bring us pain
Psalm 127:3 ESV Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
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