The First Person Blamed: A Parent

Do you know who was the first parent blamed in the Bible? He started a trend that has continued to this day.

Some thoughts for Father's Day...

With the flavor of the forbidden fruit still in his mouth, Adam explained the reason he’d disobeyed: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Adam was blaming Eve, but even more tragically, he was blaming God for giving him Eve!

Since the Fall, when Adam blamed the Perfect Parent, parents have been our scapegoats. 

Freud shaped modern psychology by blaming parents, and that blame game has become more sophisticated through the years. Just google “problems between parents and adult children,” and you’ll find that parents are usually held responsible. Even though we know that older, more mature people are typically wiser than younger generations, they're rarely given the benefit of the doubt.

Non-Christians find their “proof” in psychology. And Christians do it by "Christianizing" worldly philosophies such as boundaries or self-esteem teachings

When we blame our parents, we're basically saying, “It’s your fault, God, for giving me these parents.”

Let’s grow up and start following Scripture instead of following Adam and Freud. When we honor our imperfect earthly parents, we honor our Perfect Heavenly Parent (Ephesians 6:2-3).

💙Beyond 1-minute for those who want more💙

The Greek word for honor in Ephesians 6:2 means to place a high or "heavy" value on our parents. We do this because we love and honor the Lord even if we don't think our parents are worthy of honor. God did not say, "Children judge your parents, and if you find them worthy of honor, then honor them." He simply said, "Honor your parents." And He attached a promise to stress the importance of this command. 

When God gave this command, He knew that there were all kinds of parents – good, bad, and mediocre. He knew it would be challenging for some children. But God placed us in our family for a purpose. If we have difficult parents, God knew that with His Spirit, we would be able to honor them. And we would grow in our faith in the process.

Sadly, many popular “Christian” teachings encourage us to avoid God's purposes, blame our parents, and honor ourselves. See Are Boundaries Biblical and Blame Your Mom. I am especially concerned about the popularity of describing parents as "toxic" and/or "verbally abusive" when in truth they are simply annoying or responding to the disrespect they receive from their children. 

If you doubt the value of honoring your parents, I challenge you to a test. For a whole year, do something kind to your parents each week. Keep in better contact, be more appreciative and generous, and see if your relationship doesn't improve. And if it doesn't change your parents, see if it changes you. God promises that honoring our parents will bring a wellness to our lives, and His promises can be tested.

Note: Children who have been physically or sexually abused by parents must seek godly Christian counsel in handling their adult relationship with their parents.

Additional resources

Bible Love Notes has a collection of 1-minute devotions on Honoring Parents. Why not read one a day and ask God to give you the right kind of honor for your parents. 

Do you know who was the first parent blamed in the Bible? He started a trend that has continued to this day.

Bible Love Notes


  1. My husband and I were talking about exactly this point this morning - how Adam disobeyed GOD, by starting the blaming-shaming game.

  2. Every time I open my heart and home to my mother she disrespects me. She makes fun of me, she compliments my husband on his physique, she is snarky to our children and she gossips. All issues I have spoke to her about and she continues to do. I pray for God to make me a better person in the relationship, I open my heart and my home and get the same treatment every time.

    1. I'm so sorry that your mother treats you this way, but I want to commend you for not giving up. Even if she never changes her heart, you are serving the Lord. He often asks us to do things that are hard and sometimes they even seem fruitless, but they are building our faith.

      There is nothing wrong with respectfully and privately asking your mother not to make inappropriate comments, nor is it wrong to tell your children that they can respectfully say something like "Grandma, please don't say things like that because it hurts my feelings."

      God doesn't want us to ignore these things, but he wants us to deal with them respectfully. For example, one adult daughter I know had dealt her entire life with her father's unjust criticism. He blamed her for things she hadn't done, criticized her often, and rarely affirmed her.

      After years of building up resentment, she felt the Lord wanted her to respectfully address these things when they happened. She would calmly say something like, "Dad, I've done the best I can and it's hurtful when you criticize me." And she'd leave it at that. It didn't change his critical spirit, but it gave her a peace and closure she hadn't experienced before. And she found it easier to forgive and respect her father when she was being respectfully honest.