Commentary - "Honor your Father and your Mother" only if they Deserve It?

by Placerville Newswire / Sep 24, 2017 / comments

[Cris Alarcon]

Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

This Commandment is not teaching us how to have great families. It is teaching us how to be a great family member. This Commandment is placed even before marital faithfulness because what child can respect his spouse if he never learned how respect is supposed to work within a home?

Honor begins in our homes. Honor comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to be heavy” or “to give weight.” It involves taking someone seriously into account, offering profound respect and a place of importance. The opposite of honoring someone is trivializing him, treating them as if they didn’t matter.

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Don Wilton:

1) Value your parents’ world. No matter how old they are, they are living in a world that is highly relevant and valuable to them.

2) Respect your parents’ age. Don’t mock their limitations and inabilities. Love them in it.

3) Model your parents’ godly attributes. You know the many things they said and did that simply blessed your life, so go and do likewise! It honors them and the Lord. Besides, if it blessed you, just think how much it will bless their grandchildren.

4) Protect your parents’ individual dignity. The older they become, the more they will cherish your hedge of protection. Remember, they protected you when you were just starting out!

5) Fulfill your parents’ essential joy. Make it your business to find out what gives them joy. Sometimes it is as simple as a regular phone call—and please answer their calls. It makes their day.

6) Provide for your parents’ basic needs. Make certain you are not feasting at the king’s table while your precious parents are living on cans of baked beans! And, by the way, make sure they are eating right.

7) Just do it: Honor your God-given responsibility. Just do it. God said it. You will be so glad you did.

To those who have not had the joy of being reared by Godly parents.

This Commandment does not say, “Honor your mother and father when they are good to you, when they are honorable.” All families struggle, but ignoring your family is not an option for a Christian! Nor does it say, “Honor your father and your mother until you have formed your own household.” We don’t honor our parents because they deserve it. We honor them because the nature of the gospel is that God gives us what we don’t deserve.

This kind of pain is severe because the relationship between parents and their offspring is meant to be positive, nurturing and wholesome. Nonetheless, there are many who hurt deeply because of various kinds of parental abuse. How does a believer carry out God’s commandment here, and what would God have to say about this? May I suggest six things to consider?

1) Pray for your parents.
2) Keep on trying to help them, even though that may be difficult at times.
3) Model Jesus for them.
4) Exercise restraint in front of them.
5) Weep for them before the Lord, pouring your heart out to Him on their behalf.
6) Forgive them!

-- Speak kindly to and about them. Do you save your most glowing compliments for your best friend? “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).

-- Show them consideration—make time for them. Do you feel your duty is done with the Sunday afternoon phone call? “Love is patient and kind…it is not irritable or resentful” (1 Cor. 13:4,6).

-- Let them into your life. Let them share your highs and lows. “Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice” (Prov. 23:25). Do you share your deepest intimacies with others but never open up to your parents? Jesus warned about this in Matthew 15:4-6.

-- Provide for them. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).