walk in the word
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:1-4
All children are commanded by God to honor their parents. This is the third word in our list of seven concepts that make a huge difference in family life. Honor is a universal duty.
By all, I mean small children to middle-aged adults to older adults. We never outgrow this command. This rule of family interaction is for every race, for every nation, for every culture—not just where it is sociologically acceptable. We seem increasingly to live in a society where honoring parents is not important and honoring self is the supreme thing. But this eternal, biblical principle stands. Regardless of your parents’ success rating, regardless of how you may feel about it, God doesn’t want us to grade parents on the curve. He just says straight up, “Honor your father and mother.”
Word #2 was blessing, and the action was the responsibility of parents. Give the blessing to your children. But while everyone is not a parent, everyone certainly is a child. So, whether your parents are living or not, God commands all of His people everywhere, “Honor your father and mother.”
Webster defines honor as fame; glory; high public esteem; a position of respect. The Hebrew word translated honor in the Old Testament means literally a heavy weight or to lay it on them. In today’s society, “laying it on” is a term for insincerity. As in, “Boy! He was really spreading it thick!” But as it relates to God’s command, honor is a sincere locating of the things my parents have done right and publicly honoring them for those things. It also means consistent, respectful treatment.
There is just something about people who choose to honor their parents. Parents who honor parents are likely to find themselves honored. If you didn’t have that example, decide: “As for my family, in the future, things are going to be different.” If you honor your parents, your kids are going to see that and things are going to be different in your life. If your family hasn’t traditionally honored parents, you can be the first of many generations! All children are commanded to honor their parents. When we honor our parents, our family is blessed.
Prayer – Father, let me begin today by honoring You as my heavenly Father. Thank You for the parents You gave me. Thank You for the gifts and lessons You brought into my life through them. Teach me to forgive their shortcomings even as I pray that my children and others will forgive mine. Help me most of all to see my parents as You see them and lead me in finding the points of honor I can use to encourage and thank them best. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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