Commandment #5   Leave a comment

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV).

In Ephesians 6, Paul refers to this as the first commandment “with a promise.”  The promise is concerned with the long life.

In Matthew 15, Jesus confronted the Pharisees with one of their own traditions that actually broke this commandment.  When the Pharisees got to a certain level of either education or stature, they were schooled to believe that they were now ‘beyond’ helping their parents through whatever support they gave them, and that their gifts were now things that they either kept for themselves or put toward the causes of the Pharisees.   

It is obvious to you and me that this is no way to ‘honor’ your parents.  Seriously, do we need to stop loving and supporting our parents in any way?  The word “honor” implies listening, respecting and obeying.  It deals with attitude and response.

I know that there seem to be exceptions to this rule.  There exist parents who don’t have any inclination toward raising children in ethical, responsible ways. There are Moms and Dads out there who seem to care less about their children and treat them as either property or tax breaks.  It is difficult to honor one who is seemingly un-desiring and undeserving.

Regardless of the character of the parent, Christians still have the responsibility to be Christian to even bad parents.  We still need to apply all the principles of our faith, even in the most difficult circumstances that are often faced with non-believing or non-behaving parents.

As a parent, I would love for this commandment to read a bit differently.  I would love for this to say something like, “obey every word your parents say,” or “always do what your parents want you to do, whether they’re living it or not.”  Wouldn’t that make child-raising easy?  “Do as I say, not as I do” would be great!  Or would it?

Parents, we also have a responsibility to God and our children.  We must daily live our lives in such a way that a positive example is set for our children to follow.  None of us are perfect, nor will we be until we are in heaven with our Father. 

My responsibility is to do my best, admit my failures, learn from them, and thereby show my children all of the many great reasons why the grace of God is such a tremendous thing.  If I can succeed at that, then it will be much easier for my children to do as Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1, NIV).

True faith in God is the key to our parental relations.  Showing proper respect for the Lord helps us learn how to show proper respect for others, especially our parents.

Posted September 11, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Family, Relationships, Ten Commandments

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