"Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the your God gives you." Exodus 20:12 (AMP)Mother's Day 2022 has come and gone. Hopefully, everyone took the opportunity to express appreciation and love for the women in our lives who raised us and saw us through all the trials of childhood. My mother has passed on and I missed sending her flowers, choosing a card and telling her that I love her as I will miss doing something special for my father in June. I wish I had understood that my time with them was limited but I allowed myself to falsely believe that they would always be with me.
The commandment to honor our parents has always intrigued me. How interesting that the Lord thought it was important enough to etch it in stone on the tablets carried by Moses. Surely He knew that children could be rebellious and ungrateful and that some parents would be very poor role models who did not necessarily earn respect. I regularly read stories in the news about parents that abuse their children, some even kill them. Does He mean to honor even them?
I had a very difficult time with my mother. She was very protective of my brother and sister. Each of them had special circumstances surrounding their births that created in my mother a need to hold them close. I, on the other hand, came into this world screaming and asserting myself. A "Daddy's Girl" from the onset, my mother found it difficult to develop a relationship with me that was like what she had with my siblings. She said that as a baby I would begin crying as soon as my father left for work and not stop until he returned. In my teens, our problems grew as she experienced some physical and emotional problems that caused her to lash out at me in anger. Because of this I was cautious around her for the rest of our time on this earth together.
My relationship with my father was completely different. My favorite thing to do from the time I was a little girl until the day he passed away was to sit by his chair and hold his hand. I miss that and if the Lord were to ask me to choose one thing that I could do for just five minutes in my life, I just might choose to hold Daddy's hand.
My point in telling this story is that I understand that it can be easy, or very trying, to honor a parent. I love that the Amplified Bible defines "honor" for us as, "respect, obey and care for." This commandment is the first one that brings with it a promise. And our Father does not make any qualifications in it. There is no exclusion for bad parents. It does not say, "If your parents deserve it, honor them." It also does not say, "Until you are grown, honor them" or "honor them only until they die." And that is what intrigues me.
Parents are to be role models in the lives of their children. Not only are they to rear and teach them to handle life in this world, but also to model the love of the Lord. We are to teach our children the Word of God, and live it so they can learn how to truly apply it. There is no better way to teach than to model. They need to see us living moral and ethical lives on earth but also to see in us a true relationship with Christ. They need to see and hear us praying and they need to know that we will be the same people on Monday and each day of the week that we are on Sunday in the Lord's house. Unfortunately, especially today, this seems to be rare. But again, the commandment doesn't exclude us from honoring our mothers and fathers if they don't live up to what we believe to be ideal.
My challenge this week is for each of us examine our relationships with our parents, living or dead. How are we fulfilling God's charge that we honor them? Are we waiting for special holidays or are we honoring them daily in how we live our lives? Are we grateful? What do we hold against them? Forgiveness heals hearts. Whatever they have done that may have hurt you, forgive them. Once you do, honor can follow. With great love, God bless you.