Summary: This message takes a look at how we honour our parents at different points in our life.
So let’s see, where are we? We started in January with Sex God’s Wedding Gift, then there was “Marriage What it is and What it Ain’t”, “Marriage keeping it all Together” and two messages on Parenting. Now it’s time to make a 180 percent turn and go from being parents to being children of parents. And while not everyone in this room is a parent I can guarantee you that everyone in this room is the child of a parent.
In the scripture that Tracey read this morning was the verse Ephesians 6:2 “Honour your father and mother.” And that is a direct reference to the fifth commandment of the “Ten Commandments” which of course are found in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
It’s interesting that the child parent relationship is the only relationship that makes it into the Ten Commandments. We don’t see any reference on how to treat our spouse, other than the obvious do not commit adultery in the seventh command, or how to treat our children or our friends, but we are told here that we must honour our parents.
Now I realize that there are probably some of you here who are all knotted up inside, the stomach acid is boiling and you’re thinking, “Like that’s ever going to happen, after the way they treated me.” And unfortunately that is the reality of today that when ever you speak about parents there is someone in the group who was abused, physically, emotionally or sexually while they were growing up. Some of you may have grown up in the homes of alcoholics or workaholics, abusive or neglectful parents. Perhaps you had parents who were distant or cold and uncaring. And you want to cry out “how can I honour people who are un-honourable?” “How do I honour someone who never once honoured me?”
What is God asking of you this morning? Is God asking you to put on a mask and pretend it never happened? Is God demanding that you push your feelings out of sight and go about the duty of honouring these people who have betrayed you and hurt you severely? Will God settle for pretend honouring? Nope, he does not want make believe honouring and I don’t want to minimize the hurt that you’ve felt or negate it in any way and before I’m done this morning we are going to deal with that issue. So please bear with me.
Obviously the command to honour our parents means different things at different points in our lives. As children to honour your parents’ means to Obey Our Parents, just do what they say. That’s what’s behind the this commandment when we are young. That’s why Paul wrote Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Regardless of what the pop psychology of today says obedience is still something that we need to expect of our children. God knows that there is a rebel streak inside the heart of every little kid, and God knows that parents are going to have to carefully and consistently confront that destructive force or they will eventually lose their children to spiritual shipwreck. Throughout the scriptures God gives guidelines for parents on how to establish boundaries for their children and how to discipline their children and how to nurture them and love them.
We have swung from the extremes of two or three generations ago when parents, (especially fathers) were unreasonable tyrants or the place today where parents, (especially fathers) have abdicated their place of authority in the home. The pattern of authority is all one piece and you cannot expect to break it in one spot, i.e. the home and then expect it to work in the rest of society. So if children don’t obey their parents there’s a pretty good chance they won’t obey their teachers and ultimately will find it hard to obey the civil authorities. And so God says to the children, Children at this point in your life you honour your parents by obeying them.
As children become teens and Young Adults they begin to exercise more independence and make more and more decisions on their own. It’s at this point in our lives to honour our parents’ means that we need to Respect Your Parents and cooperate with them. During this phase in their lives young adults don’t need constant supervision and long lists of do’s and don’ts in their lives. Those teen years are the time when they begin to make some of their own decisions and well they should, it’s a part of growing up. In saying that let me add this warning to the teens out there, some of the decisions that you make now, that seem right for today will have ramifications on your entire life. And as much as we as parents wish we could make those choices for you we can’t. And in this period of your life the carrying out of the fifth commandment would be “Stay respectful, stay cooperative with your parents.”