(First published April 2016)
The months of May and June are set aside for honoring mothers and fathers. I am writing this piece early because the concept behind the celebration calls for reflection, and I want this short article to have a few weeks reading life. I think it might be a liberating read for some people.
The biblical injunction to honor one’s mother and father is recognized in almost every culture on earth and observed among numerous people groups, but not solely on biblical grounds. Parental honor is instinctive in the brute/beast creation in the context of survival and care for off-spring. Among humans, it is more than instinctive. We honor by choice and that is the reason for the injunction to honor parents. The giver of the command to honor knows that some children will be more inclined to dishonor because they were either abandoned, abused or neglected. They have justifiable reasons not to honor but the injunction does not include any exception clause.
No exception given to honoring parents. Perhaps, this is the reason the biblical injunction comes with the blessing of longevity of life for those who honor parents. The giver of the injunction wants us to know it is in our best interest to honor. Here is the full wording of the injunction: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exod.20:12). No exception given. Honoring one parent is good, but honoring both is better. Someone says, “partial obedience is disobedience.”
In ancient Israel, children that dishonor parents were stoned to death. Today, we don’t do the stoning thing, but the consequence of dishonor and the promise of blessing and longevity of life for those who honor parents still apply. Here is the New Testament (NT) rendition of the same injunction: “Honor your father and your mother…that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life upon the earth” (Eph. 6:2 NIV).
Parents that honor their parents are actually socializing their children to honor them. A little boy was observed by his father carving out a bowl from a piece of wood, he asked, “Son, what are you doing?” He replied, “Making a bowl to feed you when you get old as you did for grandpa.” Children are observing, and what goes around comes around. Could it be that life is not going well with some people because they dishonor their parents? My advice is this—break the cycle of dishonor that it may go well with you.
It is a horrible thing to be abandoned, abused or neglected at any time in one’s life, but that experience will forever hold you captive and cut your life short if you refuse to forgive. This outcome is most certain when it is a grudge held against a parent.
Author: Michael W. Dewar, Sr.
Dwelling Place Cleansing