Spring Warrior Church of Christ

7432 S. Red Padgett Road Perry, FL 32348 584-5176

WHAT wOULD JESUS dO?

No. 19

JESUS WOULD HONOR HIS PARENTS

BY

JEFF HIMMEL

The fifth of God’s “Ten Commandments” to ancient Israel was, “Honor your father and your mother…” (Exodus 20:12). They were to “reverence” (literally “fear”) their parents, holding them in the highest esteem and value (Leviticus 19:3). We’re mistaken if we think such commandments are just for young children. There’s something here for everyone. Let me suggest three ways to honor our fathers and mothers: 1. Young people, honor them by respecting their authority. “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). I know this isn’t always easy. You don’t always see the reason for their rules and limits. A three-year-old may not see the harm in playing in the middle of the street, and a teenager may not see the harm in going to an unsupervised party. But mom and dad have a good reason for saying no. I know they seem hopelessly out of touch with reality at times. But actually, they’ve seen a lot more of reality than you have. So they know what they’re talking about. Listen to them. Honoring your parents goes beyond abiding by their rules. Many kids obey their parents but still show contempt for them. They talk disrespectfully to them and talk disrespectfully about them. God instructed Israel, “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:17). Just as one who reveres God will not speak His name lightly (see Exodus 20:7), one who reveres his parents will always show respect for them. 2. Adults, honor them by living as they taught you. The good news about your out-of-touch parents is that they don’t stay that way for long. The older you get, the smarter they appear. The more you take responsibility for your own life, the more you see the wisdom of their instruction. The apostle Paul calls the fifth commandment “the first commandment with a promise: that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2, 3). Our parents’ instruction and discipline equips

us to succeed as adults. “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother” (Proverbs 10:1). Solomon wrote, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1-2). Were these words directed to his son Rehoboam? If so, we should take note. When Rehoboam became king, he lost most of his kingdom by rejecting the counsel of his father’s advisors (1 Kings 12:1-16). Worse, he turned away from Solomon’s righteous advice, dragging his nation quickly into spiritual darkness. The price of ignoring our parents’ wisdom is high. 3. Honor them in their later years. “A gray head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). God teaches respect for the aged, and that should certainly apply to our own parents. In a culture where many people cast aside the elderly as useless, this is a muchneeded lesson. Jesus shows that the command to honor our parents has no time limits. Some rabbis in Jesus’ day had a creative way to avoid helping one’s aged parents. They taught that a person could take the money he would have used to help his parents and instead donate it as a gift to God (i.e., put it in the temple treasury). By giving the money to a higher cause, he was freed from his obligation to his parents. But Jesus denounced this “loophole” as a direct violation of God’s law. Here is His verdict: God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’…But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition (Matthew 15:4-6). Jesus practiced what He preached. Even as He was dying, He placed His own mother in the care of a trusted and beloved disciple (John 19:26-27). We owe our parents a debt of honor for what they have contributed to our lives. Paul emphasizes this in his instructions concerning widows: “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family, and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God” (1 Timothy 5:4). He adds, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (verse 8). Do your parents know how much you honor them?

This article is reprinted online at http://www.bibleweb.com.