2015-02-08 - The Fifth Commandment
My grandfather lived with my family from the time I was nine months old, until his physical and mental condition required professional care. He left us when I was in Jr. High. For me, it was a blessing to have him with us. I had someone to read Walt Whitman to me, to watch wrestling with, and to take me fishing. From my perspective, it didn't seem to be too much of a problem for my father. It wasn't an ideal arrangement for my brothers, though, because it meant sharing a room until they were almost ready to go to Jr. High themselves. For my mother, it meant having five males in the house. The only other female was the dog. It also meant finding unwrapped stinky Limburger cheese in the fridge. As you might guess, this situation was a mixed blessing, because while my grandfather was a good man, sometimes he could be difficult to live with. He was also an unbeliever.
My parents were believers. It was probably without even thinking about specific scriptural passages, that they chose to live out God's standards. Their actions honored their parents. They lived within the reality of the command to honor their father and mother. My grandfather lived in our home for ten or eleven years. Their relationship with him was consistent with the requirements of the Fifth Commandment.
Now I can hear some of you saying “That's great about your parents, but you don't know mine. They don't deserve any honor!” And that may well be true. I've heard many accounts of less-than-perfect childhoods. Some say: “I was abused as a child,” or “My father was never around,” or “My mother still drinks.” or even “I have my own life and my family to think about.” Many have had very difficult relationships with parents. The reality we are dealing with, though, is God's call isn't to honor “deserving” parents, but to honor God by being obedient to Him.
“Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
Now, we are going to look at a commandment that has created some problems and a fair amount of guilt in the desire of believers to follow it, while simultaneously not wanting their parents to infringe on their lives. There has been some bad teaching regarding the commandment, and there have been those who constantly try to find ways around it. We will look at these issues a little later.
To be continued.
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