Crabtree Acres

Honor Your Parents

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12

If we keep this verse in the proper text, we see that this command is tied to the one before it. If the children of Israel would honor their parents, their days of rest in the land that God had promised to give them would be long. If they did not obey this command and dishonored their parents and in turn dishonored God, their days in the Promised Land would not last. They would cut their blessed rest short.

God takes this command so seriously, in fact, that the punishment for disobedience in the Old Testament was stoning your children to death when they were rebellious. God sees rebellion as a cancer on a nation that must be cut out before it affects everyone. We see some of this in our nation today as we see rebellious leaders elected by rebellious citizens, most of them under the age of 35 who have been taught by rebellious teachers and reared by parents of the 60s and 70s era (the “Love Generation”).

What does the word honor mean?

· To revere; respect; to treat with deference and submission

· To have exalted thoughts about

· To dignify; raise to distinction or notice; to elevate in rank or station

· To treat with respect due their authority

Honoring our parents is the way we show them, and God, that we recognize authority and that the authority of parents comes from God Himself. This authority is given to parents, not to schools, government, church denominations or anyone else. It also does not matter if the parents are Godly parents or ungodly parents. Honor is not a matter of worth, but position. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, but they still had authority over their children. We respect the authority of the policeman who stops us when we are speeding, whether we like the man or woman who stops us or not. If we are a member of the military, we respect the authority of the worse jerk of a sergeant or other officer and obey them. The President of the United States is respected for his authority, not his personality.

Honoring our parents gives us rest in our lives. Most of the turmoil in families today is because children refuse to honor their parents and follow their guidance. I admit that some parents are not leading their children in godly ways, but I believe that God will be their protector and will honor their obedience. God does not ask them to obey parents who are asking them to do things that are against His word and the parents who do this will certainly answer to God for their causing children to stumble. But most of the things that children disobey are not those types of things; they are just fighting to get their own way.

Honoring our parents does not stop when we become adults. God is speaking to every single person in the wilderness, not just children. There are nursing homes full of older adults who are being neglected by their children. They never visit, they ignore their needs and they feel no obligation to make the lives of their parents more comfortable. We are responsible for honoring our parents because God commands it and without doing that, we lose our rest (peace).

Why does God set up families into structures of authority? He tells us in Ephesians 5:22-24 that wives are to submit to the authority of the husband, because the husband is the head of the home just as Christ is the head of the church. The church should be subject to Christ and the wife should be subject to the husband in everything. Do you realize that in the same way that Christ is our protector, our husbands are our protectors? If we are widows or unmarried, God is our husband and served in the direct role of our protector and guide. Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5:25-31 to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by washing with the word. Husbands are to be teachers of the word to their wives and to do this in love. Verse 27 says he is responsible for presenting us to Christ without spot or blemish, holy and blameless. That is a big order and we are to submit to this so that our husbands can obey God with what they are supposed to do.

In Ephesians 6 we see that Exodus 20:12 is changed slightly to apply to the church. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Here, too, he says that fathers are not to provoke children to anger, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Women are to teach their daughters to respect their husbands and fathers are to teach their sons to love their wives and how to properly take responsibility for their families. Many times we as wives take on the responsibility of our husbands because they will not do it. We may be hindering our husbands from becoming spiritual leaders earlier than they would choose to do so, because they have someone to do the job for them. We may be damaging our sons because they are not learning from the proper parents how to be the heads of their home. I remember that I was the one who taught my children the Bible and told them the stories of the Bible, but when I took this Ephesians Scripture to heart and knew it was my husband’s job, I continued doing it because I thought he would not. It wasn’t long before God showed Greg that he was commanded by God to be the spiritual head of the home and before you knew it war broke out in our house. I did not want to trust Greg with doing something I thought I knew how to do since I had been the one doing it for so long. The response from the children to the teaching Greg gave was phenomenal! It was like they had turned into little sponges and soaked up Greg’s teaching and the teaching stayed in their hearts. Greg is very visual when he teaches children and uses examples they can understand. He drew lines on long pieces of paper to show how subtle our straying from sin can be. He built models for them to see Bible stories. They still talk about some of these things he did. Also, the fact that their father took time and effort to do this for them meant a great deal. WARNING: we cannot force our husbands to obey God in this area. We cannot preach to them about it being their job, etc. God is the one who had to put this into their hearts. But when fathers start taking the time and spending time with the children in this way, children become more obedient; honoring their fathers (and in turn their mothers) come much easier for them.

How can we express our reverence for our husbands or other authorities in our lives?

· Listen to them and their advice. There is no age limit on listening. Most of the time the advice they give is given in love and we should accept it that way. If the advice becomes control and not love, and interferes with the relationship, then that is something else to deal with in love.

· In a wedding the father gives the bride away to the groom. This shows that he is giving his authority over to the new husband and from that point on the husband is responsible for advising, teaching, protecting the bride. The bride and groom together should respect their parents and take care of them in their old age. Married people have two sets of parents, not just one. We do marry families, contrary to many Americans’ popular beliefs.

· Provide for their needs. Even in Kentucky inheritance laws gave the land and most belongings to the eldest son, but he was responsible for his mother and her needs and actually for the needs of the rest of the children in the family.

· Involve your elder parents in your lives, but never get into a position where you are controlling them or making them so totally dependent upon you that they feel trapped. Never betray their trust in you.

· Love them; love them; love them. Praise them. Thank them.

Jesus speaks to the outward obedience to this commandment vs. the heart obedience in Matthew 15:3-11. The Pharisees were obedient to the law outwardly, but Jesus accused them of disobeying the commandment for the sake of their traditions. “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ “But you say, ‘Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God. He is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: “This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.” What the Pharisees were doing was holding back help from their parents by saying that anything they had that could help their parents had been promised to God. Jesus said that this action totally nullified God’s word in their lives.

Romans 1:21 says that those people who did not honor God as God, or give thanks, became futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts were darkened. I believe the same thing is true when we do not honor our parents or give thanks to them. If we cannot be thankful for everything our parents have done for us, we can be thankful that they gave us life. God did not design them to give us everything we want, just as He doesn’t give us everything we want. If we admit to ourselves the truth, most of our problems with dishonoring our parents have come because we felt we deserved something from them that they were not giving us. We looked at the way other parents treated their children and thought we deserved that treatment as well; but when we compare usually we always compare with those people who are richer or prettier or nicer and forget that there are parents out there who are poorer, more unkind, or have no interest in their children at all. We never seem to compare ourselves with those people.

What are we doing to make it easier for our children to honor us?

· Can they trust our word? Many teen suicides start here.

· Can they trust our emotions?

· Is our authority expressed in love, or do we react to them out of pride and concern for ourselves?

· Do we provoke our children to wrath with broken promises? Do we embarrass our children by telling stories about them that they would prefer to forget themselves?

· Do we try to build ourselves up by trying to make them something they do not want to be?

· Are we unfair and have unattainable expectations out of them?

· Do we break their spirits and not their wills by punishing them in anger and not out of love?

· Do we show partiality over some children?

· Do we have divided authority over the children? Divorce and remarriage creates split authority over children and requires special attention.

· Do we give them our time and attention or do we try to make up for the lack of our time by giving them things? Things will never be enough to make up the loss of a parent’s time and attention.

· Do we praise them enough and appreciate their good points? Do we tell them how they are a blessing to us? Touch them often and pass on the “blessing” to them. The Jewish father laid his hand on his sons to pass on a blessing to them.

· Are we teaching our children what God is teaching us? Passing on to the next generation is extremely important. Children do not receive spiritual teaching by osmosis! However, actions speak much louder and longer than words. It is clear from Deut.4:9 that the oldest male is the head of the family until his death. We must teach our children to respect their grandparents and not feel threatened if the grandparents help us teach our children.

· Do we admit to our children when we are wrong?