Summary: 3rd in a 5 part series applying Biblical answers to family concerns. Using the 10 commandments as the Biblical basis.
HOW TO HONOR PARENTS
Minister Dave Gable tells the story of Jill, their 6-year-old, who was “helping” him in the front yard of the parsonage. She chattered away about her Sunday school lesson on Adam and Eve. Dave thought he’d test her. “Did you know Adam and Eve sinned?” “Yep.” “What did God do to them as a punishment?” Her answer was immediate and matter-of-fact, without even looking up she said: “He made them have kids.”
Sometimes marriage and parenting puts us in peril of such pain, risk, and loss of control that sometimes it seems like punishment for our sins! So, I suspect God gave us the 5th commandment, "honor your Father and Mother," because He knew how hard it would be for parents to raise their children properly and how easy it would be for children to develop a disrespectful attitude toward Dad & Mom. As children, we’re basically selfish; we want everything to go our way. The baby’s national anthem is, "I want, what I want, when I want it." As teens, we think our parents are hopelessly ignorant and "behind the times." As young adults, we are consumed with the responsibilities of work & family. And, as middle-aged adults, we view our aged parents sometimes as wearisome burdens that infringe on our hard earned freedom.
This commandment tells us differently. I believe that the process of restoring our homes to God’s ideal begins with this pivotal 5th commandment. We need to honor our parents and notice God gives no age limit here. He says, "It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young child, a teen still living with your parents, or whether you’re older and living on our own, you must honor your parents.” So today let’s talk about our responsibility to parents and so doing see what we should be expecting from our children.
I. HONOR: UNDERSTANDING THE COMMANDMENT
Let’s begin by making sure we understand the meaning of this commandment. Why do you think God put this in His top ten? I believe He gave this command for at least two reasons. (1) So we would honor the position of parenthood. Obviously, there are no perfect parents. Even the very best parents have sinned and as a result there is a tendency to emphasize their imperfections and thus treat them incorrectly. Does that mean if your parents abused you or mistreated you in some way that you are to ignore the pain? No. God is simply saying.. "You are to honor the position no matter how the individual may dishonor it." We understand that principle. For example, when you go into a courtroom you address the judge by, "Your Honor." You’re not making a value judgement on his or her character. Personally they may be jerks, but you show respect for the position. And God placed the parental position as one of authority in the home and we are to honor it because He placed it there.
(2) How I relate to my parents will affect my other relationships in life. "Psychology Today," stated that the #1 goal of modern parents is to teach their children to be independent, assertive and self-reliant. 40 years ago the #1 goal of most parents was to impart moral values to their children. But now, moral and spiritual values are not nearly as important. That philosophy has not only reeked havoc on our families but on our entire society as well. Ours is an independent generation; we are not big on submission to authority. There really isn’t much respect for police officers, school teachers, Church leaders. You just don’t hear a whole lot of people today, when they’re disciplined or corrected say, "Yes, sir, you’re the boss," or "Yes, ma’am, I’ll do it right away." Instead of a humble attitude or a teachable spirit our society now stands with a defiant expression saying, "Nobody tells me what to do!" If you question that you probably haven’t visited a classroom lately or reprimanded an employee or tried to tell someone who is living in sin, about Biblical expectations. One of the reasons God gave us this very pivotal command is because He knows that the place where we must first learn respect for authority, is in the home. When one learns submission in the home he will know how to respond to others with authority; police officers, ministers, teachers, Elders, law makers, etc. Parents, if your child gets away with rebelling against your authority what chance do you think a teacher will have? Why should they listen to a police officer who says, "Don’t drink and drive, don’t do drugs." If a child grows up getting his way by pouting, hitting, manipulating, he’s liable to make that a part of any relationship. What chance does that give the child’s marriage? For respect to once again be a part of our culture, it must begin in the family structure.