HONORING YOUR PARENTS by Keith Walker
How would you like to have a long and prosperous life? Did you know that God wants that for you? It may surprise you what is required to achieve it. (Read texts)
Definition of honor: “To respect greatly, regard highly; treat with deference and courtesy.”(Websters) The Hebrew word used here for honor means literally, “To make heavy.” In other words don’t take your parents lightly. Give them the respect and reverence they deserve. You may say, “But you don’t know my parents. You don’t know what they did to me.”
Shaq Oneill wrote a rap song titled “Biological didn’t bother.” His real father deserted him and his mother when he was 6 months old. He hasn’t talked to him since. Once at a NBA ball game his biological dad showed up and Shaq was asked about him. Shaq’s smile disappeared and he said, “That man doesn’t exist to me.” Father’s day can be a difficult day for many. But, here we have this Commandment from God. It doesn’t say, “Honor you mother and father if they have been good to you.” It says honor your mother and father, period. It may be that you find it hard to honor your parents as persons but at least you need to learn to honor the position of motherhood or fatherhood. We may not like the President of the U.S. but we should honor and respect the office of the president.
This Commandment is given for us to relate to our parents as adults. It is true that when we marry we “Leave our mother and father and be united to our spouse and the two become one flesh.” (Gen.2:24). It means to sever a covenant relationship with the parents. Your mom and dad are no longer a part of your immediate family but part of your extended family.
So then what is to be our relationship with our parents when we marry or leave home? God tells us here in today’s passage. We are to HONOR them.
Two broad themes for this morning: (1) Why should we honor our parents, (2) How we can honor our parents.
I. WHY WE SHOULD HONOR OUR PARENTS
A. It Teaches Kids to Honor all Authority
The health of the family reflects the health of the nation. What happened to Godless communism? The state took preference over the family. Look at Russia today.
Crime increases where there is a lack of respect for parents:
17 The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.
A man who disrespects his parents is put out to suffer from the elements. Judgment comes on him. He suffers in relation to his treatment of parents.
Destruction can come to a nation:
7 In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow. NKJV
15 I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. NKJV
Zacharius Ursinus, the primary author of the Heidelburg Catechism wrote: “The design or end of this commandment is the preservation of cival order, which God has appointed in the mutual duties between inferiors and their superiors. Superiors are all those whom God has placed over others, for the purpose of governing and defending them.” (teachers, ministers, government officials, etc)
Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote in her book, The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life “Parents are teachers of faith and morality. What God is to the world, parents are to their children. Unfortunately, some parents become so focused on the element of friendship or their own convenience, comfort, self-fulfillment, happiness, or love life that they forget their job is to help mold moral character so their children will have the strength to do what is right in a world that sometimes encourages them to do otherwise.”
B. The Honor You Give is the Honor You will Receive
The Bible says, “Give and it shall be given to you.” Give what? Love, money, respect, HONOR.
In Grim’s Fairy Tales is a story related to this:
It is the story of an older man who lived with his young son and his son’s wife. They also had a 4 year old boy. The old man’s eyes blinked, his hands shook. When he ate food the silverware would rattle against the plate. He often missed his mouth. Food would be spilled on the tablecloth. This upset the young wife. She appealed to her husband to do something. They decided to move their dad to a corner at meal time away from the family. He would set alone in the corner eating out of a bowl, sitting on a stool. The old man would look sadly at the others and desired to be with them. One day the man dropped his bowl and broke it. His son and daughter-in-law said, If you a eat like a pig then we will serve you like a pig. They made a wooden trough for the old man to eat out of. Not long after, they came upon their son playing with some pieces of wood. The dad asked what he was doing. The boy looked up, smiled and said, “I’m making a trough to feed you and mama when I get big.” The next day the old man was back at the table eating with the family again and no one ever scolded or mistreated him again.
II. HOW TO HONOR YOUR PARENTS
For this I want us to look at what I call “Parental Proverbs.”
A. Live Righteously (Pro. 23:24-25)
This is a picture of proud parents. What are they proud of? Their children who live a wise and righteous (moral) life. Righteous living comes only from living a life in tune with God. This is written with God-fearing parents in mind.
B. Love Graciously (Pro.19:26)
In that day children would work the farm of their parents until they died and then the farm would become theirs. Here the children kick their parents off their farm and take it for themselves. It is wrong to exploit our parents. Also, we need to protect them from exploitation. The older parent get the more vulnerable they get. There are a lot of vultures out there ready to rip them off. It is estimated that every year senior adults are scammed out of $40 million dollars.
We need to look after our parents in these matters. A child who honors their parent will help them with health and hygiene matters. Talking to the doctor, making sure they get the right medicine and take it as they should.
C. Speak Lovingly (Pro.20:20)
The picture of a lamp going out throughout Proverbs is a picture of a person’s life being cut short. We can speak curses or blessings. If you embrace a lifestyle of hatred and contempt for your parents, your own life is at risk. Words can hurt. Speak blessings, not curses. For some of you it will take the grace of God to speak to your parents this way.
D. Listen Attentively (Pro.23:22)
The word listen here means to pay attention. More than our financial assistance, more than our advice, they want our attention. As they age stay in touch with them. Listen to them, even when they repeat the same stories over and over. The opposite of listening to parents in this verse is despising them. It means having disdain for them.
Do you remember the classic song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin? It’s about a dad who refused to share his attention with his son while he was growing up. The song says, “There were planes to catch and bills to pay.” But by the end of the song the father finds the table has turned on him. “I’ve long since retired and my son moved away. I called him up the other day. I said, ‘I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.’ He said, ‘I’d love to dad, if I could find the time. You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu, but it’s sure been nice talking to you.’ And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
Many of us have children and parents. How are you doing? Are you honoring them today. God commands us to do so.
q This commandment begins the second section of the Ten Commandments. The first four deal with our duty toward God, while the last six deal with our duty toward our fellow human beings. N.B. Our duty towards our fellow is learned and begins to be practiced at home first.
I. The Fifth Commandment is based on God’s sovereign authority and fatherhood and the fact that He values respect.
A. Authority (Matt. 28:18)
B. Fatherhood (Psalm 68:5; Matt. 6:9; 7:7-12)
A. The command was critical to the survival of the nation (Exod 20:12, Deut 5:16). That you may live long and that all may go well with you in the land – as a nation.
B. It is the only commandment with a promise attached (Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16; Eph. 6:1-2)
C. To honor means “to reverence, to value or prize highly”
D. The time for a child to obey a parent ceases; but the requirement to honour a parent never ceases.
III. The Significance of the Commandment
A. It requires us to honor our parents. Ways we honor our parents:
1. We must ACCEPT them (Prov. 23:22)
2. …RESPECT (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Prov. 20:20) them. Speak to them and about them with courtesy (Prov. 19:26)
3. …OBEY (Prov. 6:20; Eph. 6:1) them
a. Listen to their advice and guidance
b. Immediately and gladly perform assigned tasks
4. …CARE for them (John 19:26-27; I Tim. 5:4)
5. …IMITATE them (Prov. 6:20; II Tim. 3:14-15)
B. It forbids injurious acts and disrespectful and unkind speech to parents (Prov. 30:17).
C. The command requires respect for authority in general.
1. Parents are the first authority we encounter in life
2. Other spheres of authority include: husband/wife (I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:21-6:3), employer/employee (Eph. 6:5-9;Col. 3:22-25), government/citizen (Rom. 13:1-6), pastor/people (Heb. 13:7; I Pet. 5:5)
D. It underlines the value God places on the family
E. It underscores the context in which children are to be born and raised
“…God intended children to be raised by their natural parents and for a monogamous, lifelong male-female relationship to provide the intimate, secure and supportive environment for a child’s nurture until maturity” (J. John, Living the Ten commandments in the 21st Century, p. 59)
C. It underscores that a stable home requires the fulfilment of particular, God-given duties. Duties of parents (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21):
1. Provision (Prov. 6:6-8; I Tim. 5:8)
2. Instruction (Deut. 6:6-8, 20-25; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4)
3. Exemplification (Deut. 4:9-10; 6:4-7; 11:18-20)
4. Communication (Deut. 6:7)
5. Correction (I Sam. 3:11-13; Prov. 13:24)
6. Intercession (Job 1:1-5; I Sam. 1:11, 26-28)
A. Summary & Conclusion