Article: HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER | Jacob Varghese
Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments received by Moses and the people of Israel at Mount Sinai. More than a list of “dos” and “don’ts,” the commandments tell us how to honor and worship God, which teaches us how to love and respect others, like our parents. The fifth commandment is a pivotal commandment. It is a turning point commandment, because the first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. The last six commandments deal with our relationship with each other. You see, you cannot be right with others, until you are right with God. We have to get the vertical right before we can get the horizontal right. So the Ten Commandments start with our relationship with God. Then it moves into our relationship with mankind. The fifth commandment says, “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). This is again restated in Deuteronomy 5:16 as honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you that your days may be long and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. However, if you want to be right with others, you must start with your relationship with your father and mother. If you cannot respect your father and mother, you will have a difficult time respecting a stranger. We cannot be right with society, until we are right in our homes. The relationship with our parents is so significant that it is the first earthly relationship addressed in the commandments, and it is the only one to come with a blessing from God. When we treat our parents respectfully and with love, we take the opportunity to honor God with our obedience, reflecting the relationship our heavenly Father seeks to have with us. No matter who our parents are, God will honor our obedience, and He is faithful to make himself known in ways we cannot imagine.
Bible has much to say about honoring fathers and mothers. So firstly, it is important to note that honoring our parents is a biblical command. It is not an option. Secondly, the Bible records the command to honor our father and mother as a commandment with a promise and the promise is that you may live long in the land that God is giving you and secondly that it may be well with you in that Land. God is basically saying that honoring our parents is good for us. So obviously dishonoring them would be bad for us. In fact, Deuteronomy 27: 16 says cursed is the one who treats his father or mother with contempt or dishonor. Now India has always had a rich tradition of good family values but times are changing. 2 Timothy 3:1, says but know that in the last days dangerous times will come for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers and yes disobedient to parents. We can see this happening in India too. We can bring a lot of unnecessary suffering on ourselves by dishonoring our parents. So friends, please don’t forget the Lord’s word that honoring our parents is actually good for us. Thirdly, you may ask me isn’t this message for children. Yes, it is. In a sense we are all children, I myself I am over 50 years old but in my parents eyes I am still a child. Honoring our parents is a command from the Lord which will continue till the day not till the day my parents die but till the day I die. Let me repeat that again honoring our parents is a command of the Lord which will continue not till the day our parents die but till the day we die. So it is a life long commitment. Fourthly there are many ways to honor our parents. Speak well of parents who raised you. We should speak well of them and always treat them with courtesy and respect. Words have the power to give life or to destroy. What we say about our parents in our lives when speaking to others, especially our children can either honor or shame who they are or who they try to be. Speaking words that uplift our parent figures sets an example for our children to follow, teaching them what it looks like to respect others. Those who have broken relationships with their parents because of the harsh words which were spoken, or our arguments or any other reason, don’t wait till it is too late. Pray, talk and reconcile with them today itself. This is what the Lord desires. We also honor our parents by providing for them, in their time of need even after we become adults and we have left our parent’s home. It might be some financial assistance or some help when they are ill and unable to care for themselves. Not doing so would definitely dishonor the parents. Yet another way of honoring our parents is by obeying them. Ephesians 6:1 says children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. This is a must when you are young and dependent on them. However even as adults, obeying our parents should continue, provided of course it is in the Lord. The Lord will not make us do anything contrary to his written word and neither will our Godly parents. The best way however to honor our parents is the way we live our own lives. Many of us who are parents imagine how honored we would feel if our children were commended for their good behavior, their good language, their good manners. Even better you would feel if your child was commented for his/her honesty or integrity or bravery. I am sure you as a parent will swell with joy and pride. Show gratitude for the unseen sacrifices of our parents. They sacrifice a lot to care for their children. No matter what kind of parents yours may have been, they have likely made sacrifices that you have not yet recognized. Parents sacrifice rest and resources we never saw while we grew up. When we become adults and parents ourselves, we may finally understand the price they paid to give their children comfort and protection. We can honor our parents by showing gratitude for all they have done, no matter how little. How we live our lives can cause great honor or great dishonor to come on our parent’s name. So let us always try to live in a manner that honors our parents.
Finally, we honor God by honoring our parents. Now how does that happen? I would say it is because God himself is a parent and we are his children. When God made us, He created us in His own image and perfect in every way. As a loving father, He provided everything we needed and showed us how we should live by giving clear instructions in the word of God. But like rebellious children we all wanted to do things on our own way. We broke his commandments and as 2 Timothy 3 says we became lovers of ourselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, head strong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and the list goes on and on. Does that describe any one of us? The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We all have become slaves to sin and that is what broke our relationship with our heavenly father. But dear friends the good news is that God being both righteous and merciful sent the Lord Jesus Christ to make a way for us to come back to our father. John 3:16 says for God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whoever believes on him will not perish but will have everlasting life. Indeed, he is father God to those who choose to follow him the way the Lord Jesus Christ has made for all mankind. Romans 5:1 say “therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are still a slave to sin and in a broken relationship with God the father; don’t wait till it is too late. Pray and surrender to God today itself.
In conclusion we understand honoring our parents is a Biblical command, it is not an option. Honoring our parents is good for us. Honoring our parents is a life long commitment till the day we die. There are many ways to honor our parents but the best way is the way we live our own lives and finally and most importantly we honor God by honoring our parents. Pay attention to the admirable and honorable traits your parents embodied that should also be evident in our lives. If they loved and protected you, learn from the example they set, in how you can nurture and love others as followers of Christ grow into maturity. As adults and parents ourselves, we can honor our parents by reflecting those to whom we belong. We are to imitate God, and we honor our parents by imitating the good examples they set for how to live. Matthew 15:4-6 “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.