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Summary: Last Sunday was Mother's Day and in just a few weeks we'll celebrate Father's Day - which are days we set aside to honor our parents. But what does it really mean to honor our Father and Mother? A card...flowers...dinner out...a small gift...

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YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER

EXODUS 20:12

Last Sunday was Mother's Day and in just a few weeks we'll celebrate Father's Day - which are days we set aside to honor our parents. But what does it really mean to honor our Father and Mother? A card...flowers...dinner out...a small gift...

What does honoring mean for adults who are no longer under the care of their parents. How do we - or should we honor parents who were ungodly...abusive...maybe even ones who were never around...having left for no good reason? And why should we honor them in the first place? Does honor mean the same as obey?

We've been looking at the question "What does God expect from ordinary people?" in light of the 10 Commandments...not specific ones to this point but in a broad sense...but today I want to get specific and look at the 5th commandment..."Honor your father and mother" This command tells every child of human parents that their moral duty within the family is to honor those people who gave them a place in the land of the living.

And from this commandment we see that whatever else a person may feel about them...no matter how deep the love or how great the anger...whether we're grateful - or resentful...we are called to respect those who not only gave us existence...but were given to be our primary teachers and guides.

From the day a child is born to the day the parents die...and even after they die...everything in their relationship may change except the moral duty of honor. No child, young or old, should ever dishonor their parents. But what does it really mean to give them honor? Today we are going to look at what this commandment actually requires...why it is given...and finally how this can be obeyed with all the complexities and conflicts of life.

Let's begin with what the Command requires. But to actually get a feel for just what this command says, we need to take a look at what it doesn't say. First..."Honor your father and mother" ignores the warm affection all parents want from their children. It doesn't tell children to be happy about their parents.

It doesn't tell us to like being with our parents on family outings...or to enjoy having them over for dinner...nowhere does it encourage or even mention happy emotional relationships. All it commands - is honor.

Another thing is that the Commandment doesn't tell parents to honor their children. The child's right to respect is nowhere in view. Now, we may agree that children deserve some sort of honor - just by virtue of being a precious human being...but this commandment is not about our worth as individuals. Honor is concerned with family structure...and the role of parents as teachers and leaders in the family.

I think the ancient Hebrew word for honor is very important...it literally means "weightiness." And that simply means that to honor someone you had to respect them as people who carried a great deal of weight in your life. You had to have let them have influence...dignity...and most importantly authority over you.

Now, this command for honoring parents came more or less naturally for Hebrew children because they were raised in a patriarchal system...where the family centered on the oldest living male. And in that system children were not a nuisance or an emotional luxury...they were the link between God's covenant with the past and His salvation of the future.


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