This and That

Honor Thy Father and Mother

Posted on: July 28, 2011

When God called Moses up to Mount Sinai He delivered the 10 most important rules that His people should follow. Most Americans can probably rattle off at least five of them…maybe more…and a few of us could probably get all 10.  I am going to let you see for yourselves how many you can remember. However, today I am going to write about the one that has been giving me a lot of thought recently- commandment number five: Honor thy father and mother. The reason I have been giving it a lot of thought is because I heard a message on the fifth commandment on the radio and then on Sunday my pastor used it as an example in his sermon. Coincidence? Maybe. Or God was hitting me over the head saying ” Pay attention Jami. You are not doing great on this one.”

If you run through the list of the commandments there are two main categories: the first half focuses on God and our relationship with him, and the second half focuses on sins God wants us to avoid. And then there is the fifth one – Honor thy father and mother. Right in the middle of the list. It seems so out of place, so random. But is it?

What does it mean to honor thy father and mother?  For many of us, when we were young our parents were our heroes, then when we were teenagers our parents turned into our mortal enemies, and in college our parents were idiots that were so out of date with the times.  Until the day we turned between 25-30 years old and then miraculously our parents didn’t seem so out of touch anymore. In fact we may even start seeing them like people we want to emulate.  Our parents are people – shocker! People with a past. We start understanding what makes them tick, what their experiences were growing up, and how they came to be who they are.

This applies to our grandparents too. I know, I know grandparents can be very opinionated, definitively old school, and sometimes smelly (you know that old person smell).  But more often than not, your grandparent has had an amazing life. For example, my great grandmother was a very prosperous woman in England and had just purchased her first class ticket for the maiden voyage of the Titanic….however her traveling friend really wanted to take a more leisurely journey, so at the last minute they switched boats. Hello!!!! If she hadn’t changed boats I may not be here today going on this rant about the fifth commandment! (I learned this story, of course, from my grandmother.)

So even though my parents and grandparents are flawed and have made some huge mistakes which have affected me personally. They are still my parents.  And God calls me to honor them by maybe spending time with them and/or looking after them when they become too old to care for themselves.

Of course not all of us had good childhoods. There is a lot of pain and heartache that people have to deal with everyday that was caused by their parents. I am deeply saddened about that…but the commandment doesn’t go away either. It may look different for you though…maybe honoring your father and mother just means forgiving them for what happened or finally not wishing them ill will. There isn’t a formula for this, it can look a thousand different ways.

I just spent an hour and half the other day with my grandma and my boys eating lunch at a play area. I could see it on her face….it was the best hour and half of her week. Just watching her watch my boys was so wonderful -she was so happy and content.

I think God included number five in the commandments, specifically in the middle of the list, because after our relationship with Him the next important relationship is with our parents (our family). Then all of our other relationships fall out of that. How we honor our father and mother is a huge indicator of what kind of people we will become and how are relationships will be with others.

I have resolved to do better on commandment number five-how about you?

I am in no way a biblical scholar or theologian. These are just one of my thoughts on this one thing. I’m just a girl with a computer. I do have more thoughts though so get ready. 🙂

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1 Response to "Honor Thy Father and Mother"

I guess I never thought about Honor Thy Father…. as being the middle commandant – wow. But why not – God wants us to Honor Him, so why should He not want us to honor our parents. Our parents are not God and should not be expected to be perfect (well said Jami). I think most parents try their best and want only the best for their children – it is not easy being a parent but it is the best job in the world. And you are so right – spending time with your grandma (your boys great-grandma) is truly the best time she will have all week. The gift of time is so precious to all people but especially those that are older.

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