“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the your God is giving you. Exodus 2:12
Today is a special day. It is my Mom's birthday. One of the things I admire most about my mom is her desire to keep learning and growing in God. I first realized this when I was “know it all" 12 year old. I asked Jesus into my life at a very young age so by the time I was twelve, I figured I knew all there was to know about God. I remember asking my mom why she still went to church and read her Bible, "Don't you already know everything?" She explained that she still had a lot to learn. Rather than being inspired by her wisdom, I figured maybe that she wasn't that smart. It has taken me many years since to realize that I am not that smart and I still have so much to learn.
Around the age many people start thinking about retirement, Mom completed a spiritual healing coursework so that she could counsel others with hurts and wounds from their past. She knew that she needed to learn more about this area and wasn't content to keep the knowledge for herself.
Now in her seventies, she is still learning and growing in her knowledge of God. She is writing to share her wisdom with others and is willing to take editorial advice from her "known it all" daughter. Her humility and heart for learning has challenged me to realize I will never reach a point where I can't learn and grow more about Jesus.
As I was thinking about how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mom, the commandment "Honor your father and Mother" popped into mind. It is easy to honor my wonderful mother, though she is not perfect, she is loving, quick to apologize and is always willing to learn.
In my Bible Study about Hezekiah, wrote about the challenges of honoring a parent that is ungodly or a downright bad parent like Hezekiah's dad Ahaz. Ahaz was wicked and led his entire country away from God. I have several friends whose parents are more like Ahaz than my mom.
How can you honor a wicked ungodly parent?
Hezekiah is a great role model in this area. “He brought honor to his family not by continuing in the sinful patterns of his family but instead by deliberately undoing the harm his father caused and intentionally doing good and seeking a right relationship with God… Hezekiah knew that just because his father had made foolish choices, he didn’t have to continue in his father’s footsteps. I was struck by a quote from actress Demi Moore about her mother who was an addict, "Whatever wrongdoings, bad deeds, actions that she had—what was hers was hers and she took it with her. And what was mine—whether justified or not, anything that I did that was potentially negative, out of anger—was mine." We can’t blame others for our response to their sin and foolishness. Our response is our responsibility. Rather than responding to other people’s negative behavior, our responsibility is to respond to God and to live our life for His glory as healed, whole people who bring his peace to the world.” (Keep Calm and Respond to God.)
I am truly blessed with imperfect yet wonderful parents. Whether your parents loved God with all their hearts, were wicked, narcissistic and abusive or you didn’t even know them doesn’t stop you from honoring them. Honoring or dishonoring our parents is not dependent on their parenting ability or lack of it. To understand this, imagine being the parent of a criminal like Dylan Roof or John Wilkes Booth; I can barely comprehend the dishonor their parents must have felt every time their son’s name was mentioned. No matter how good and kind our parents are, if we make bad choices, we dishonor them. When we do what is right, make Godly choices and use our gifts and abilities for good, we honor our parents regardless of their personal attributes.
Everyone can honor their father and their mother by living honorable, righteous lives. We can bring honor to them by doing what is right, having a right relationship with God and using our gifts and abilities to bring glory to God.
"Honor your father and mother" is one of the Ten Commandments for a reason. It is just as important to God as not killing, stealing or committing adultery. Take a moment to think of some ways that you can honor your parents. I would love to hear how you have honored your parents. How have you taught your kids to honor you?