walk in the word
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. —deuteronomy 5:16
The Bible is filled with stories of people who honored their parents and succeeded and of those who did not honor their parents and failed. If you’re alive, you’ve got parents (even if they are dead)—and God’s command to honor them (see also Exodus 20:12).
Now you may think, “If this guy thinks for a moment that I’m going to honor my old man, he’s got another thing coming!” Well, let me try to get by your resistance. Honoring our parents does not mean several things. First, honoring our parents does not mean going back to grovel and seek their approval (again). Children need to get freed from my-parents’-approval bondage.
Secondly, honor does not mean making yourself vulnerable to their hurtful behavior. Sometimes appropriate boundaries between children and abusive parents are necessary. But the need for that boundary does not free us from the obligation to honor our parents.
Thirdly, honoring our parents does not mean ignoring or denying the past.
Here is what honoring does mean. Choosing to place great value upon our relationship with them. It means not kidding myself into thinking that my parents don’t matter to me. It involves taking the initiative to improve the relationship whatever its current condition. Honor also recognizes what they have done right.
You say, “They haven’t done a lot right.” They have done something right, even if it’s little more than giving you life (that’s big). So, express that recognition. Acknowledge the sacrifices that they have made for you. Honoring includes seeing them as Christ does, with compassion and mercy. It means forgiving them as Christ has forgiven you.
Honor your parents because God said so—no matter what age you are. Because His ways lead to freedom. Because words spoken at their funeral always seem way too late.
You may wish you had gotten this message ten years ago. You’ve stood by a casket with a eulogy in hand and desperately wished the person for whom the words were written would wake up and hear them. But they won’t. That opportunity is gone. So do it now. Be the adult. Write or say the words of honor to your parents that you hope your own kids will express to you. God will bless your obedience.
Prayer: Father, I lift up to You today my father and mother, Lord. I want to be obedient to You and honor them in Your presence. Thank You for their role in my life. Show me ways in which I can look past their shortcomings and sins to see what You want me to see as I honor them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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