Blog Home » Seasonal - Holidays » Mother's & Father's Day » Let’s Be Sensitive on Mother’s and Father’s Day

Let’s Be Sensitive on Mother’s and Father’s Day


Mothers & FathersThe scene repeats itself at churches across the land.  It’s Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and the service revolves around this parent.  Certainly we do well to honor or celebrate mothers and fathers but let’s be sensitive.

Sitting among your congregation will be men and women who:

never had children

can’t have children and ache because of it

lost a child to death

hope to yet have children

Sitting among your congregation will be people, young and old, who grieve or struggle because they:

lost their mother or father to death, some even recently

never knew their mother or father

were abused or neglected by a mother or father

are estranged from a mother or father

I know of many people who stay home on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day because of the way the church handles this holiday.  It’s too painful.  It isn’t relevant.  — How sad that they don’t feel like they’ll get anything out of gathering with the Body that day.  How sad that they don’t trust us to be sensitive enough to their situations.  How sad that they don’t seek comfort on this hurtful day among the Body of Christ but rather feel the need to retreat.

How to be Sensitive on Mother’s and Father’s Day

We can start by thinking through:

  1. how much emphasis is placed on it
  2. how things are worded
  3. how we single out people … careful not to make one look superior to the other
  4. how gifts are distributed
  5. how obvious we make it that some in your midst are not mothers or fathers

We need to be careful at the same time that we are not being fake in our representation or obvious in our inclusion of people in these different situations.

The way to avoid that is to have a year-round environment … 

where people in all statuses and situations of life feel accepted and like they belong. 

where individuals’ life stages are acknowledged and needs are met but yet they are not segregated from the whole. 

It’s called body life … unity  … true fellowship … where we can meet with all of our differences and be better because of it.

In this kind of environment you will have more of a tendency to simply be sensitive and not have to guard yourself on holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Day.  You will come across genuine because you are.  If this kind of environment isn’t built throughout the year, special emphasis on certain segments can make others feel like they aren’t important or that their pain will be ignored.


10 Replies to “Let’s Be Sensitive on Mother’s and Father’s Day”

  1. Sometimes I think these people just need to get over it, trust the Lord, and move on. Why should others hold back their celebration because some can’t cope.

    • This post is not suggesting that you “hold back” on celebrating mothers or fathers but that you think through HOW you do it to be as sensitive to all as you can. I think of verses like 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 —

      … should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

      To be sure, body life, according to these verses, goes both ways. People in a position to celebrate this kind of holiday should be sensitive to those who “suffer” because of it. And, people who struggle with it should be sensitive to those who “rejoice,” not begrudging or robbing them of this celebration.

      The reality, however, is that not everybody is in that place. — Sometimes it is timing … the loss is still so fresh. Sometimes it is depth of pain … some things are harder to take than others. Sometimes it is a trust issue … the very ones who were to protect didn’t which can affect people’s ability to trust God. Sometimes it is a matter of perception … what is very important to one person may not be to others. Life is a process and we are all at different places.

      Church leaders must acknowledge that reality and exercise sensitivity so as to promote and be an example of body life. Everybody matters.

    • I know i am replying to an old thread here… and i am quite certain “Bill” is a troll intentionally being insensitive to stir things up.
      You dont “get over” abuse / toxic parenting. In fact you spend a lifetime picking up the pieces and often need to go no – contact in order to begin to heal.
      We arent holding anyone back… just stop celebrating on a public scale at church. Where we are meant to be worshipping Jesus not mothers.

      • Hi Sally! I can’t really say about whether comments were intentionally made to stir things up or not but I do know, while it’s hard to believe, that sometimes people truly don’t understand the effects of abuse, especially when it comes from the very people who were to love and protect you. Insensitivity can come from viewing what others experience through the lens of our own experiences. However, that shouldn’t excuse us from being sensitive. The criteria for extending compassion and sensitivity, as I wrote in another comment, isn’t that we fully understand what someone has gone through, or have experienced it ourselves, but that we know God’s comfort “in any trouble” whatever it might have been. — “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4) — When we look at people through that lens, rather than our own experience, we don’t have to fully understand to be sensitive and understanding. May God help us to make our life together more about Him for it is then we will tend to more and more be to each other what they need us to be.

  2. There needs to be a level of sensitivity on everyone’s part. As a counselor who has worked with bereaved parents and clients who have been further wounded by statements like Bill’s, I concur with the emphasis on looking out for one another in a Biblical sense. If we are the Body of Christ, we are responsible to one another to be caring and considerate regardless of the specific emphasis. Let’s not let the culture dictate how we care for one another.

    • Thank you for sharing your observation as one who comes alongside of people for whom Mother’s or Father’s Day can be especially difficult.

    • To be honest, I had to chuckle a bit at your comment, Zoe. There are many “Bills” out there. Stereotypically, his comment is reflective of how men often tend to deal with issues. But, let me also say that I do know some women who respond in this way as well. The problem with this approach is that many times emotions are simply stuffed and not dealt with only to come out in other ways. So, whether it be in our own lives or in “listening” to others, the objective should be to process how we feel and not repress it. Speaking of the need to trust God … it takes a lot of trusting to be real and work through issues, grabbing hold of His grace and truth.

      I must also say that after my initial chuckle, I also was struck by what you are really expressing … that you know by experience the difficulty of these kinds of holidays. You need not say anything more but know that I for one will stop and pray for you, going to the throne of grace on your behalf to the One who fully knows what was left unsaid.

  3. Bill – your statement shows a profound lack of empathy.
    One does not “get over” being raised by an abusive mother with Borderline Personality Disorder/narcissistic personality disorder. The damage done takes years and years of counseling and hard work to overcome.

    Mother’s day is an awkward, painful day for those in that position. Most adult children of mothers like this go “no contact” for their own protection and mental wellness.

    I am a Christian – but I find most Christians have their head in the sand in regards to the reality of situations like this and the journey that people share.

    This article is at least a step in the right direction to awareness.

    • Thank you, Sarah, for adding yet another layer of understanding. Even if we have not experienced the same upbringing in order to have an experiential understanding of another person’s journey, as Christians we are still to extend sensitivity and comfort. When 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says we should “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God,” the qualification is not that we have experienced the same thing but that we have experienced God’s comfort “in any trouble.” Praise God that even when others “have their head in the sand” which sometimes yields insensitivity and adds more pain in an already difficult situation, we still have “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” May you know His comfort today.