Going Deeper with the Message:
Seriously, Honor Your Parents
by: Ben Biles
On Sunday, Andrew Archer talked about the importance of honoring your parents as seen in the book of Proverbs. This makes a lot of sense because Proverbs is written from the perspective of a father to a son. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching, for they will be a garland of grace on your head and a gold chain around your neck” (Prov. 1:8-9). The general idea gathered from Proverbs is that when you listen and follow your parent’s instructions, then you will be benefited from their wisdom.
Throughout Scripture, we see many times that God gives the command for everyone to honor their parents. In fact, it’s one of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. God was so serious about this commandment that he issued a capital punishment for anyone that cursed his father or mother (see: Matthew 15:4)! Why was that? Because the family unit was responsible for the transmission of spiritual values from generation to generation. God set up the family in a way that children learned to love and worship God from their parents. So, if children rejected their parents, they were, in essence, rejecting God as well.
Perhaps you don’t see your parents as spiritual role models. Many of us don’t. This, however, does not release us from God’s command, for he adds no exception clause to his command. You will never find: “honor your father and mother if they have earned it.” However, we do see in the Gospels that Jesus perfectly honored his father and mother. Consider that God himself honored his earthly parents though they were sinful, broken people! He sets the standard for all of us. The truth is that God knows that parents are broken people who fail their children. And yet, the command remains. Our honor and love for our parents should persevere despite all circumstances.
In God’s economy, his people should love without bounds. This kind of love transforms lives and relationships as it showcases the nature of God’s love. Whether or not you have a great relationship with your parents, we know that when you love and honor your parents, it will transform your relationship.
Living out the Message:
The Attitude of Honoring
By Ben Biles
Many of us have grown up hearing God’s command to honor our parents. As we mature into adults and our relationship with our parents shift, we tend to associate this particular command with our childhood faith. Yet, God did not have an age in mind when giving this command, but rather the role as a child. This means that everyone is commanded to honor their parents, regardless of age, for we all have parents.
Interestingly, the command to “honor” is noticeably different from a command to love. Though honoring someone may include aspects of love, the associated attitudes and actions differ. On Sunday, Andrew explained the four essential actions of honoring: obey, listen, respect, and appreciate. You might notice that these same elements are all involved with our relationship with God as well. The parallels point us to the reality that God gives us parents as authority figures to show us how to live well under any authority, but specifically, His authority. The effect is this: the better we honor our parents, the better we honor God.
In order to obey, listen, respect, and appreciate our parents well, we first need to align ourselves with the proper attitude. You might remember from your teenage years how you begrudgingly obeyed your parents as various elements of disrespect whirled in your heart. The actions were right, but the heart was not. To cultivate the right attitude, you should consider 3 things.
1// Though our parents are not perfect, they are have positive characteristics that we can admire and emulate. Reflect on these qualities.
2// They have sacrificed much to raise us through giving up time, energy, and financial resources. Reflect on their sacrifices.
3// Paul encourages us, “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:32). If you feel wronged by your parents in any way, you need to start the process of working toward forgiveness in these areas.
Once our attitude is properly aligned, the appropriate actions can flow naturally. This week, set aside time to call your parents and tell them how much they mean to you. Though you might feel appreciation internally, it takes effect when we actually express it. If your parents have passed, take some time and reflect joyfully on the memory of your parents. For when we honor our parents, we honor God as well.