How to Honor Your Mom on Mother’s Day (Even If You Don’t Have the Best Relationship)


For many, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration. For others, however, the holiday increases anxiety, as those who struggle in their relationship with their mother face the concern of how to best handle the moment.

How can you honor your mom if your relationship is not close or is in conflict? Scripture offers three insights to help.

First, try and  focus on the positive aspects of your mother. You can call or write a card to your mom and choose what to highlight. Despite any imperfections, you can emphasize what she did that helped you in your formative years.

The apostle Paul reminds us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). These words apply to how we address other believers, those we seek to reach with our faith, as well as our own mother. We can choose kindness, even in times when it is not the first choice to come to mind.

Second, choose to forgive the failures and weaknesses of your mother. We may not forget past hurts, but we can forgive them. Forgiveness means cancelling the debt of something against you. In Matthew 18:21, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive the person who sins against him. Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 8:22).

Jesus next follows this response with a story of a man unable to pay a large debt to a king. The man begged for mercy and the king forgave the debt. Later, the man who had been forgiven demanded money another servant owed to him. When the man was unable to repay the debt, the forgiven man had him thrown into prison.

The king soon learned of the man’s action and had him thrown into prison as well. Jesus concluded with the words, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

Forgiveness is about releasing the power the other person has over you. When you forgive, you are not saying their hurtful actions were unimportant. Instead, you are choosing the way of Christ and experiencing His forgiveness in your life.

You do not need to hold onto the pain of the past in talking with your mom. Instead, focus on wishing her a happy Mother’s Day and forgive.

Third, resolve to forge ahead with new positive memories with your mother. You can’t change the past, but you can work toward a better future. If Mother’s Day has been difficult in the past, make this year a better memory.

Instead of a card, you can plan an event, meal, or trip together that is special to your mom. Another option is to write a message or card that thanks your mother for the ways she has blessed your life.

Some mothers are especially moved by pictures, flowers, or others special gifts. Make time to do something positive to honor your mom, offering her hope and encouragement for the day that celebrates her unique role in your life.

Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17). As followers of Jesus, we can live as new creations and do our part to share His love through special acts toward our mother.

Celebrating Mother’s Day may not be easy or convenient, but it can be a time or remembering the good, forgiving the bad, and creating a better path for the future.

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