Family Values

Finding a Healthy Balance Between Loving and Hating Your Mother

Today’s post is a half tribute to my mom, Carol Zimmermann, and half in response to emails I received this week.

Over and over, people have been asking me the same question: “As a Christian, how should I treat my mother?”

To answer this question I took all the Bible passages dealing with the treatment of mothers and I broke them up in two tables: the first listing, how not to treat mothers and the second listing, how to treat mothers. I placed the action on the left side of the table and the consequence/benefit for the action on the right side.

Mom table 1

Mom table 2

Now that we understand what God has to say about the treatment of mothers, let’s look at a few emails I received this week along with my responses.

1st Question:


I really want my mom to get saved but I’m the only Christian she’s ever around. And most the time I’m mean to her because she emotionally abused me as a child. But she’s getting old so I’ve been trying extra hard to be nice to her so she can know Jesus before she dies. But it’s not easy and I feel like giving up.

What should I do?”

 Jackie, 34
Wilsonville, OR


Dear Jackie,

Jesus wants you to forgive your mom for the way she treated you but this doesn’t mean you should always be nice to her. Remember, God commands us to love and hate our mothers. When you’re nice to your mom, you’re practicing love towards her (Exodus 20:12) and when you’re mean to your mom, you’re practicing hatred towards her (Luke 14:26). The key is finding a healthy balance.

If you love your mom too much, you’ll be giving her an inaccurate view of Jesus, and Jesus won’t let you follow him (Matthew 10:37).

 Jesus was a loving guy but He often practiced hatred by being mean. Remember when He called that lady a dog (Matthew 15:25-26) or the time He ran the money changers out of the temple with a whip (Matthew 21:12)? And let’s not forget, He’s returning with a blood-soaked robe, a sword between His teeth, a rod in His hands and fire in His eyes (Revelation 19:11-16). This is the Jesus we follow.

 So, to answer your question, I suggest you be nice to your mom sometimes (like on Mothers’ day) and other times be mean to her. This way she can experience love-filled Jesus when you’re nice to her, and hate-filled Jesus when you’re mean to her.

 By experiencing both sides of Jesus (through you), she’ll experience the complete Jesus, get saved and go to Heaven.

I hope this helps,
Jake Z

2nd Question:


 I love my mom but she’s always on my case. She’s always yelling at me to clean up my bedroom. It’s really annoying because I am an adult and my mom is not supposed to be in my room in the first place. Sometimes I get so angry I feel like socking her but instead I just hold it in till I explode, freak out and do something I later regret. I know God wants me to respect my mom but he also backs up those who are just and I am on the right side so how should I treat her?”

Stephen, 19
Lake Oswego, OR


Dear Stephen,

You have two problems: privacy and anger. To fix the first, buy a deadbolt lock for your bedroom door.  Finding a solution to your anger problem isn’t as easy. So I’ll tell you what works for me.

I also live with my mom and she often makes me upset. Like you, I used to bottle my anger until I blew my top – I’d scream, punch holes in the wall, and smash dishes against the floor. It was an effective way to release anger but it wasn’t wise because I was always the one who fixed the holes in the wall and cleaned up the shattered glass. It was expensive and time consuming.

I began looking for a way to release my anger that would be inexpensive and would effectively communicate my feelings toward my mom. So I bought a female mannequin and pasted a picture of my mom’s face on it. Now whenever she makes me  mad, I “take it out” on the mannequin. Then, once my anger is released, I leave the mannequin on her bed.

This is a healthy way to release anger because nothing gets broken and no one gets hurt. It’s also inexpensive and will open communication between you and your mom. She’ll see you’re mad at her then she’ll stop doing whatever it is that makes you mad.

 You should immediately notice your relationship with your mom improve.

Good luck,
Jake Z

3rd Question:


 I cherish my mom more than anything in the world. But she suffers from Alzheimer’s and often forgets I’m her daughter. I used to visit her 2-3 times a month but since her Alzheimer’s has worsened I’ve cut it back to the Holidays. But now I have a dilemma.

 This cute guy from church (who I’m totally into) invited me to go see The Glitch Mob at 7:30 PM on Mother’s Day. I obviously said, “yes” but now I’m freaking out because I don’t have a dress for the show. So I could either shop for a cute dress on Mothers’ Day (so my date goes well) or I could spend it with my mom, who probably won’t even know who I am. What should I do?”

 Mollie, 23
Portland, OR


Dear Mollie,

That’s great news a Christian guy is interested in you. I recommend you do everything in your power to not mess up the date since he could be “the one.” On the other hand, spending time with your mom on Mother’s Day should be a top priority.

This is a tough one so I ran it by my pastor. When I told him about your dilemma, he asked me a single question: “Would you take a blind child to a silent movie?”

 Of course you wouldn’t – that’d be pointless. And so would a visit to a mom who wouldn’t remember anything.
 I hope you find a cute dress and good luck on the date.

Jake Z

 Have you discovered a healthy balance between loving and hating your mother? If so, what are some examples and how has this changed your relationship with your mother? Feel free to message me here.

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6 years ago

My mother is dead. What do I do now?

Your mom
Your mom
6 years ago

You sure bout that son?