2014-06-20 - Honoring Parents
Father's Day is fourth or fifth on the list of holidays for which the most cards are purchased. It is annnually beaten by Mother's Day, by about a fifty-percent margin. Why do fathers lag behind mothers by so much, in being honored? I think there are a lot of reasons, but I believe our willingness to relinquish leadership in homes and churches has played a significant role in it. Don't get me wrong; I'm not one who thinks women should be seen and not heard in church, or anything like that - but fewer and fewer men volunteer to do things in church, except warm benches. If it weren't for women, many churches would close their doors, and way too many fathers have willingly distanced themselves from their children.
But that's just a freebie observation, that really lies on a tangent from what I really want to discuss. What I want to discuss is honoring our parents. Let's begin with the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:1-13 (NASB)
The first three commands are clearly about our relationship to God. These three were summarized by Jesus in the statement, "Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." Clearly, it was important to God that these come first, because these are our greatest duties. We were created to love and worship God.
This command is a crossover from God to us. After all, we rest for our own benefit. That is what it means to love yourself. Remember, the second summary by Jesus was to love others in the same manner you love yourself, so this is part of that love-yourself stuff.
The last six commands serves as the basis for all our relationships with others, and topping the charts for others, first and foremost, is our relationship to our parents. We are to honor them. Notice the word is not "obey" but "honor". Certainly we honor them by our obedience, but that is just a slice of the pie. That pie also consists of respect for them. It also stands out as the only commandment with a promise attached to it. The fact does not escape Paul, who many years later, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, wrote addressing relationships within the family.
As children, we honor our parents primarily through our obedience. I have not been a child in my parent's house for over two decades, and my father passed away almost a year ago, but I still honor him by speaking well of him and by living my life by the standards he established in me years ago. I once saw a shirt that said, "Live your life so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral." That kind of sums up what it means to live a life that honors your earthly parents and, even more importantly, your Heavenly Father. I honor my parents by honoring my heavenly Father, and by living in such a way that I hope he looks down on me and says, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."
I hope you do the same.
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.