Summary: The Fifth Commandment is important for all of those reasons and more. It is at the heart of God’s plan for man. It is about family relationships. Those relationships are the keystone of our social and spiritual wellbeing. We can all benefit from a gre
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Family Classics Series
The Fifth Commandment is different from the rest of the Ten Commandments. The call to honor one’s parents is positive. The other nine are negative. “Thou shall not . . .” This is the first one to speak to a non-religious issue. Nor does it speak to the normal kind of ethical and moral matters that the following five address. It is a bridge commandment. The ones before deal with divine obligations, the ones after with social obligations. It is also the first commandment with a promise. That’s the factor that the New Testament picks up and highlights.
The Fifth Commandment is important for all of those reasons and more. It is at the heart of God’s plan for man. It is about family relationships. Those relationships are the keystone of our social and spiritual wellbeing. We can all benefit from a greater appreciation of this commandment.
The fifth commandment calls for all children of all ages to honor their parents. Why? What are the reasons for bestowing honor on our mothers and fathers? Several come to mind. I will summarize them with three. Since this is Mother’s Day, we will concentrate on mom’s part of the equation. In many ways the same principles apply to dads. We honor our moms because:
She deserves to receive honor. The words are very simple: "Honor your father and your mother." The key word is "honor." The Hebrew word literally meant to “be heavy." The basic sense is "to treat someone with respect because they carry a heavy weight of authority. Sometimes we speak of certain dignitaries as being "heavyweights." The commandment calls for treating our parents as VIPs because they deserve it. To "honor" means to treat with dignity, respect and deference.
Sometimes moms don’t get the honor and respect they deserve. Their role and responsibilities go under appreciated. In a world that tends to measure everything in terms of finances and position we can miss the vital contributions a mother makes. For the many that work outside the home and care for a family, too often we act like the real job is the one that brings home a paycheck. A world that thinks that way has messed up priorities.
Some unknown mom sought to correct some of this distorted thinking with the following observations: Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you’ve had a baby. Somebody doesn’t know that once you’re a mother, normal is history. Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct. Somebody never took a three-year-old shopping. Somebody said being a mother is boring. Somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver’s permit.
Somebody said if you’re a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good." Somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee. Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices .Somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor’s kitchen window. Somebody said you don’t need an education to be a mother. Somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.