The Ten Commandments: #5
We find ourselves once again looking at the Ten Commandments given to Moses by the almighty God. As we have just completed an election where inevitably one side is crushed and the other is soaring with happiness we are reminded that there is no such thing as a governmental or political way out of suffering and pain. There is no way to a perfect world without the One who is Himself perfection, that is Jesus Christ. As I have mentioned before, the Ten Commandments are one of the main pillars upon which any successful government and society must be based. As we see our society deteriorate please remember that God cannot be mocked, His ways are eternal just as these commandments are eternal. When we divorce ourselves from God’s commandments we are actually divorcing ourselves from God, from life itself!
The fifth commandment given to Moses is “Honor your father and your mother.” This commandment comes with a promise, “that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
This commandment is important because it not only tells us how parents ought to be respected by their children, but it also presupposes that a family will usually have these two components, a father and a mother. Today we live in strange times. Families are not what they once were. As I spoke recently with a friend of mine who is a teacher, he told me that nearly 90% of his class of students have no father in the home. Again we can talk about public school funding and teacher salaries but at the end of the day we will achieve very little if we don’t acknowledge that the root cause of our problems is our disobedience to God. That is not politically correct but you know its true.
Even when we have a whole and intact family we are seduced with thoughts that make us question the importance of our parents. One of the frequently seen phenomena in movies and shows geared towards adolescence is the idea that grown-ups and parents are dumb. Pay close attention to this in the programs kids are viewing. In some places the schools are also playing into this by encouraging kids to be in charge of their own sexuality. In some states such as New York, a teenager can have an abortion without parental consent. In some states they may also receive the “morning after” pill without the knowledge of their parents. All of this works to undermine the family system and this system is set up by none other than God Himself.
These commandments help us to have true, lasting and loving relationships with everyone around us. Children don’t simply grow to understand their parents as their biological kin, but they respect them as elders. That requires us to act like parents and not simply like friends. That requires us to make hard decisions that sometimes bother our kids but are best for those kids.
Children should always be encouraged to obey their parents unless obedience to the parents would lead to disobedience to God. I want to raise my children in a way that allows them to challenge me when I am not doing right in the sight of God or when I am encouraging one of them to sin.
Another aspect of honoring our parents goes beyond the attitude of teenagers and young adults. It is the attitude of adults to their elderly parents. One of the most surprising popular notions in the western world and particularly America is the idea that when your parents get older you can simply put them in a “home” or isolate them with similar folks. But where is that idea found anywhere in the Holy Scriptures? Where is it found in the teachings of our Lord? Now there are certainly times when it is necessary because of mental illness or special medical circumstances but that ought to be an exception and not the rule. Teach your children that they are responsible for you just as you are now responsible for them. Build your relationships with that fact in mind. For a child to get everything in life and then to simply rid themselves of the burden of their parents is sin in the eyes of God. It is not traditional in any sense of the word and it isn’t even possible in most parts of the world because people don’t have that kind of income. Honor your own parents by making sure that you are there for them and take care of them even if it means a bit of struggle and inconvenience. Your parents would do it for you!
Today we also see more and more disrespect between children and parents. Children talk back to their parents and insult them and I have even seen children hitting their parents. If you let your child behave in this way, you are abandoning your post as a parent and that is abandoning one of your callings from God. One step to solving issues with kids is to stop being a pushover. When you tell your children something you better mean it. Another step that parents can take to foster that solid relationship is to actually spend time with their kids. If possible that should begin before they are hormonal teens. Kids are often angry because they feel rushed in every aspect of life. They also feel that their parents are rushed and don’t have time for them. Relationships take time. Time is a sign of love and often that love is what will help a child through those rough years of development.
God loves the family. A peaceful family is precious in the sight of the Lord. He expects us to teach our children to honor their parents by practicing and encouraging that type of behavior habitually.
When children learn to honor and obey the parents that they see, it will be much easier for them to one day honor and obey the Lord whom they don’t see.
It might be tough, but through intense prayer, with the grace of God, we will succeed in developing youth who honor and love their elders. May God bless your families and encourage you to grow stronger together……and glory be to God AMEN.
In what ways can you show honor to your parents or foster honor in your children? Leave your comments below!