“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.”
For a Life Well-Lived
If you grew up in the church, you no doubt heard the phrase, “Honor your mother and father!” pretty often. Some of us truly needed the reminder as to who was in charge and to whom our honor was due. But what if there were a way for us to take this conversation further today within our own families? What if we were to model these notions of honor and respect from generation to generation? What if the promise of a life well-lived could be ours for the taking?
This is how we give honor where it’s due.
Our Family as a Whole
Many of us who were raised in the church are now parents and grandparents. The baton is now ours to pass onto our kids! And we have to wonder if perhaps there was a disconnect between how we were raised and why we were raised in such a way. This is true in terms of how the gospel was taught to us. It’s also true in how we model the “why” behind our individual decisions to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. But taking it a step further, we want to instill our faith deeply within our parenting methods. And this means teaching God-honoring respect throughout the whole of our family dynamics.
This means disciplining our children, while still tirelessly continuing to provide the grace, care, and compassion they need to see Christ’s love manifested in their lives. This is how we nurture their understanding of who God is and how we seek to love them with the same unconditional love.
Let Our Honor Abound
These verses we’re reading today connect back to the command for God’s people back in Exodus 20:12. It’s the first commandment with a promise, meaning there is a practical application. God’s favor—as well as our own human-centric favor among our families—will be upon us as we seek to honor one another through caring for each other well. Perhaps it is true that the rising generations are more headstrong than before. But this offers us an opportunity to share God’s love by demonstrating our love through the guidance and discipline we ceaselessly provide.
We give honor where it’s due to our children by loving them with our words and our actions. And we model respect by loving our spouses, our in-laws, and our own parents with the same Christlike love we seek to receive from our own children. Let’s shake up the ways we’ve traditionally viewed respect for our parents. May it no longer be viewed as a stark command with no basis, but rather a deep-rooted love for God and one another.
Reflect on the views you currently/used to hold towards honoring your parents. How do you see this notion of giving respect, as well as receiving it, tying into living in true harmony—between generations, but also between ourselves and God? How can you model life-changing respect in the your circles of influence, namely your own family dynamic? Ask God for the clarity and humility to show His love in this way.