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Honor Your Father & Mother

by Tamra Lee

"Honor your father & mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives to you."(Exodus 12)

The fifth commandment is a pivotal one; for it joins faith (our relationship to God in worship—the first 4 commandments) with our relationship with others (the final 6 commands). Here then we address the most intimate relationship: that of our parents.

The ministry of parent to child is a vital one; one in fact that God compares with our relationship with Him.

Mothers & fathers are to diligently give their lives to the nurturing and training of their children in love. Daily, they are to go before the Father's throne with their children; daily they are to teach their children the Word of God. Not only in Family Worship; but in each aspect of their lives.

In return, the child is to respect & obey his parents; giving to them the honor as their God-ordained authorities and leaders. (Proverbs 23:22-25; Eph. 6:1-2; Col. 3:20)

This command from God was to be taken so seriously, that, in Old Testament times a child that was continually rebelling against his parents was to be taken out and stoned by the entire nation! (Leviticus 24:10-16, etc.)

Adults can honor their parents by loving attention: notes of encouragement & appreciation, remembering birthdays & Fathers & Mothers Days, considering a parent's counsel, pray for them, etc.

If the parent is faithful to Christ, Christian adults can pray with their parents & seek out godly advice. Walking with Christ for many years imparts wisdom; and we should avail ourselves to it.

Furthermore, we find this command from God to honor our parents as an overall command to honor all who are in authority over us: law enforcers, government officials, employers, teachers, and church leaders (pastors, elders & deacons).

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves condemnation." (Romans 13:1,2)

"Obey those that have rule over you, & submit yourselves: for they watch over your souls, as those that must give account, that they may do it with joy, & not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:17)

This is the kind of honor & obedience God requires of us: to have respect in our hearts, words and actions for those in charge over us. Further, we need to give faithful prayer on behalf of those who lead us: for wisdom from the Lord that they make wise decisions, & for their salvation if they do not know Christ.

Rather than a grudging obedience of barely doing what we are told, we need to seek to work well; remembering that it is actually Jesus Christ whom we are serving! (Eph. 6:5-8)

Ours is not blind obedience, refusing to acknowledge sin if we see it in our "superiors." Neither do we use submission as an excuse to sin. Rather, we cheerfully do what is right even if they disapprove; & we pray for opportunity to show them the love & truth of Jesus Christ. (See: Matt. 7:1-5; 1 Tim. 5:1, 17-20; Daniel 1-3 & 6)

If God gives us a place of authority over others (being parents, teachers, leaders, etc.) we must rule with gentleness, respect & love. We must not yield our authority with pride, wanting to be made to look good, yet actually being lazy & eager for recognition. (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 29:15; 1 Pet. 2:14; 1 Pet. 3:7, etc.)

In all things we are to glorify our Father in heaven by loving leadership and loving submission to those in authority over us.

This Father's Day, take time to thank someone who has watched after your soul; one who has guarded & guided you away from evil and towards righteousness. It might be a parent, a chaplain or a friend who has "fathered' you.

For the love & glory of God: Honor your father and mother!

Adapted from the Westminster Larger Catechism.

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