One of my biggest fears in life is that I do not honor my parents well enough. It’s true. Dad is 67. Mom is 62. They celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary yesterday and I am a product of their love.
My parents aren’t perfect. They have their weaknesses. Dad carries an anger (that God has genuinely worked on) and Mom has a hint of sarcasm in her voice which can annoy the most patient of men. Mom is a perfectionist, and that is not a perfect thing, I think. It’s tough to meet her standards and so, if I don’t follow her instructions, she carries a really grumpy face. It can just push my buttons really hard.
I hate being the bad son. I want to love them. I want to make them feel special. I want to make them feel loved. I want to make them feel like they’re both like King and Queen to me. But every once in a while, I say an unkind thing. I act like I know it all. They don’t know how to use the computer well, and I try to teach them, but it’s tough. They take forever to learn it and I get annoyed.
As I write this, I am reduced to the point of tears. Have they not taught me to read and write? Have they not paid all my bills for 23 years? Have they not broken their heart in prayer when I was sick? Aren’t they planning and praying for my future at this very moment? I mean the world to them.
And here’s me. Probably the world’s worst son. Really, how will I answer God on judgement day? Will I even have a defense?
I am reminded that the law of God dictated in exodus 20 puts the “Honor your father and mother” way above “thou shalt not murder” and “thou shalt not commit adultery”. Will I regret not being able to abide by this law of God when my parents are taken away from me? This is possibly the only law which is bound by a timeline. I can’t honor your parents after they die. The rest of the laws can be obeyed for as long as I live.
The Bible is filled with instructions if you are a child like me. A disobedient, proud, arrogant child. A son who isn’t kind, loving, patient or gentle. A son who is worse than a stranger.
Here are a few references if you are like me. They help me gauge myself and correct myself the best I can. I am still imperfect. But I will press on with the strength I find in my Jesus.
1. 1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand so that he may lift you up in due time.
2. 1 Peter 4:7- Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
3. Exodus 20: 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
4. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV)
5. My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. (Proverbs 6:20-24 NIV)
* While reading the above verse, I am led to think that maybe, a disobedient son will be a dishonest husband. Why else would God link the instruction of parents to marital purity?*
6. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20 NIV)
If I were an old testament son, I probably would have been toast by now:
7. If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NIV)
Honoring parents is serious business and God does not look upon it lightly. However, I cannot remember the last time I’ve heard this being preached in a sermon. I heard it in Sunday school though. I am led to believe that if I cant honor, love and respect my parents, I will not be able to honor, love and respect my spouse as I should.
We are freed from the law. True. But if we live by the Spirit, we cannot but obey the law. Living by the Spirit should allow us to do more than what the law recommends. Freedom from the law is not living a substandard life. Freedom from the law is going beyond it. Freedom from the law allows you to love beyond reason and law and thereby overcome through the grace purchased on the cross.
May God forgive me for my stupidity and may he help me love my parents as I ought to! Oh! How I wish I didn’t say anything unkind! Give me grace, Abba father! Help me be a gentleman.