Honor your mother and father – something that has never been easy, and a standard that has never been fully reached. Because who can know the formula for respecting your parents, and who can accept themselves as having been respectful enough. Because parents have given us so much that, if we don’t look with the understanding of the Creator, we would all agree that if we didn’t have our parents, we wouldn’t have us. The world has many proverbs, fables, sayings, idioms about mothers and fathers, and there will certainly be many more added to those. That’s because our mom and dad are very precious to us, so much so that it would be difficult to explain just how valued they are!
The words “mom and dad” came about from the first institution that God set up, the family. And children are the fruit of this institution that God has given to parents. God saw that that was a good thing. This is God’s blueprint and desire for us. But everything changed after our first father and mother, Adam and Eve, sinned. Sometimes we forget, but the truth is that our parents are also sinners. The sin nature of our ancestors, Adam and Eve, was passed down to their children. Cain and Abel received that nature. The consequences of sin were lay bare through the first two children, and their story is a heartbreaking one that certainly none of us every want to happen: He killed his younger brother. We don’t have an answer for why the situation at that time turned so grim, but we can imagine God as wanting for us to see the most painful that a parent could experience; being forced to witness your own children having problems with each other.
This is what happens when children do wrong. But what happens when our parents do wrong? And particularly, what about those that arise from differences between generations and in worldview, education, and life experiences? Do we have to respect those differences? In Ephesians 6:2, God’s Word teaches, “Honor your father and mother”. This is a command with no added conditions. Being respected and honored is something that parents have, not something they have to look for. When God used them to bring us into the world, from that point they naturally had our honor. That’s something the Bible demands. Regardless of whether our parents are rich or poor, good or bad, sophisticated or inadequate, it doesn’t matter. Just like how a house is made to live in, parents are made to be loved! And Jesus was a model of this. He limited Himself within an earthly body who belonged to Joseph and Mary. He lived in obedience to Joseph and Mary all the years He lived on this earth. Were they perfect? Absolutely not. Even though there were many times Mary didn’t understand Jesus’ plan and work, He still honored His mother. Not only so, but in His ministry, Jesus taught about honoring your father and your mother. He resisted a spirit of rebellion, disrespect, and wanton living. And until His last moments in His earthly body, Jesus fulfilled this honor by giving His mother to the apostle John for him to take care of. Because He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill the Law: He fulfilled the fifth Commandment, which is the first Commandment God taught the people regarding others: honor your father and your mother. So today, if we are faced with difficulties when we are trying to honor our imperfect parents, Jesus invites us to come to Him. He will lead us through each step and through each of the different ways we honor them. He will help give us strength so that we can do this. Certainly God wants us to become those who bring a smile to the lips of our parents.