HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER
Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12 (NIV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
A mother that had scrimped and saved to put her son through college sat in her son’s graduation. She watched as he walked across the platform and received his degree with honors. As he walked down the isle, instead of turning into the designated row, he kept walking; down to where his mother sat. The young man threw his arms around her neck, kissed her on the cheek, and as he placed his diploma (degree) in her hands, he said, “Here, Mother, you earned it!” The fifth commandment addresses that which many parents have earned.
Let’s face it, there aren’t that many children who hold their parents in that high regard. Too often, good old mom and daddy are seen as obstacles to be overcome rather than wise guides to be followed and emulated.
In this Fifth Commandment, God lays down a principle for life that will determine how every relationship around you will turn out. You see, the home is the foundational institution of society. No nation, or community of people, is stronger than the family structure that makes them up.
As goes the home, so goes the nation, the community, the church, etc.
In the home, God has established an order that is to be strictly followed. The husband/father is to be the head of that home, submitting himself to the will of the Heavenly Father. The wife is to be in subjection to her husband, not as his doormat, but as his “help-meet”. The children are to submit themselves to their parents, and in doing so, will be blessed of the Lord. If this order is followed, then the home will be blessed and will be a blessing to all those involved in it.
Yet, many homes are in shambles tonight because the children have forgotten all about the Fifth Commandment. It is fitting that this Commandment should fall here. It divides the commandments related to God from those related to our fellow man. You see, when we are out of step in the home, we will be out of step with God and with our fellow human beings. It is in the parental relationship that we learn first how to submit to the Lord and then how we are to serve our fellow man.
As we take a few minutes to look into this verse and all that it teaches, we will find that there is instruction here for both parents and for children.
Let’s talk tonight about Honoring Thy Father and Thy Mother.
I. THERE IS A RESPECT THAT IS DEMANDED
A. An Elevation To Recognize – This verse makes it plain that parents are to be held in high regard by their children. Notice Eph. 6:2 – “Honor thy father and mother.” Honor = “To give great weight to; to hold as valuable.” Children are to hold Mom and Dad in high respect. They are not just two old fools out to ruin your fun. They have been placed in your life by the sovereign will of Almighty God to be your overseers until your reach maturity.
In the early stages of life, while a child is maturing from birth to adulthood, they are to be in absolute subjection to their parents. Children are to offer unquestioning obedience to their parents! When a child refuses to obey his/her parents, they are in effect refusing to submit to the Lord, Col. 3:20!
(Ill. There were times in my youth when I disobeyed my parents and I was wrong for doing so. I wish I could go back now with what I know. I would try to be a model son. But, I can’t go back! You young people who are still living under your parent’s roof might want to reconsider just how you are treating them! If you aren’t holding them in high regard and respect, then you need to repent of that sin and do right to your parents as commanded by the Lord.)
(Ill. It is discouraging, and frightening, to see a child or young person being disrespectful to their parents. It spells trouble down the road, and it shows a lack of regard for God. It is a sign of deeply rooted sinfulness. There is absolutely no excuse for any behavior that attacks, disrespects or dishonors one’s parents! It is a sign of ignorance and immaturity!)
B. An Esteem To Render – As we grow older, we are continue to regard our parents with great respect and honor. As children grow up, it is natural for them to leave their parent’s home, Gen. 2:24. At this time, we are no longer under there direct authority. In other words, they aren’t there to tell us what to do day by day.
(Ill. Many are dreaming of that day right now! It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! Freedom comes with responsibility as a mature Christians!)
Even though we leave their home and leave their authority, we are to still respect our parents and we are to call to mind the sacrifices they have made to bring us into the world and to nurture us to maturity. We should call to mind the long nights spent beside the sickbed. The many hours worked to provide food, shelter and clothing. We should remember the love dispensed in abundance for so little in return. Even though we are out from under their authority, we still owe them our respect. They deserve nothing less!
(Ill. Jesus Christ, He was the great example. As a 12 year old boy, He submitted Himself to His parents, Luke 2:51. And, as a dying man, He remembered to honor His mother by seeing that she was cared for, John 19:27.)
(Ill. Loving Children as example… He is selling his home and moving away just so he can be near his parents and be certain that they are getting the care and love they need. That is the spirit of this verse!)
C. An Experience To Regard – Let me say a word about parental advise. Many young people simply refuse to hear what their parents tell them and as a result, they often experience trouble and hardship. Young people would do well to remember that parents speak from the experience gained by taking the hard knocks themselves. Their warnings are given to guide their children in the right path and to steer them past many of the obstacles and pains of life.
(Ill. Experience is far wiser than ignorance! It is an ignorant child that refuses the counsel of wise, experienced parents.)
(Ill. Many are like this little girl – A youngster was very unhappy because her parents had refused her wishes. That evening her mother was amused to hear her pray, “Please, Lord, don’t give her any more children; she doesn’t know how to treat the ones she’s got now!” )
(Ill. The attitude of children toward their parents changes as they grow older. During the teen years especially, some young people show little respect for their fathers and mothers. It’s disheartening to see this. But as those young teenagers mature, they begin to recognize that Mom and Dad knew a lot more than they gave them credit for. Mark Twain once said, “When I was 14 years old, my father was so ignorant I hated to have the old man around. But when I was 21 years old, I was astonished to see how much my father had learned in only 7 years.”
Sometimes young people come to realize with deep regret that if they had followed the counsel of their parents they could have avoided much heartache both for themselves and their family.
II. THERE IS A RESPECT THAT IS DESERVED
(Ill. While this verse speaks primarily to young people and children, it also speaks to parents. Children will have a difficult time respecting a parent who hasn’t lived a life worthy of honor. Allow me to share with you three reasons how parents can earn the respect of their children.)
A. By Our Faithfulness – Parents need to remember that children will respect a life that is lived faithfully in the Lord. Children long to see their parents living with their best interests at heart. When a child knows that mom and dad really care about what happens to them, they will respond to that display of love and care.)
(Ill. Let’s face it, many parents want their kids to do right, because it makes them look better. Their primary concern is, “What will my friends think of me if…?” Others are devastated when their children start to turn out differently than they had planned. A parents duty to their children is to love them unconditionally and faithfully place their needs ahead of your own. Kids will respond to that kind of love.)
(By the way, faithfulness to the Lord goes along way with kids too. When we live as though the Lord, His work, His worship and His House are optional, our children will come to believe it too. Don’t expect them to be faithful, dedicated Christians when you (as parent) aren’t one yourself.)
(I guess that what we do speaks so loud our kids can’t hear what we are saying!)
B. By Our Fairness – We earn respect by being fair. That is, we are firm in what we say, but we are tempered in our actions by love. This brings to mind 2 methods of child rearing that need to be mentioned.
1. Discipline – There are parents who believe that the answer to every infraction is a beating.
2. Liberty – There are others who feel that their children can do as they please. Oh, they may not like what their kids do and there is a lot of yelling, threatening and pleading, but there is never any discipline imposed on the wayward child.
These 2 methods represent the extremes, our duty, in fairness to our children, is to find the happy medium. There are times when we must discipline, Pro. 13:24; 29:17. Any parent who refuses to apply the board of education to the seat of learning is doing his children a great injustice. Then, there are times when we need to allow our kids a little growing room. Our job is to find that place where they can be themselves and still learn that God has a plan for their lives. Too bad they don’t come with training manuals!
C. By Fruitfulness – Parents earn respect from their children when they can see their parents investing their lives in their children. When we give them love and time and patience and encouragement and hope, they will respond with respect and love of their own.
(Ill. There was a little boy who expressed great concern about his parents. He told of how his father worked hard to provide for all of his needs and how his mother slaved around the house, cooking and cleaning up after him and taking care of him when he was sick. When asked what he had to be worried about he said, “I am afraid that they might escape!”)
(Ill. Thank God for those parents who invest their lives into those of their children!)
(Ill. Children have much to be thankful for in their parents. However, too many are too immature and too self-centered to see that. Yet, they will some day, many when it is too late to say thank you and/or “I Love You Dad/Mummy.” They may not be alive to hear those beautiful words).
III. A REWARD THAT WILL BE DELIVERED
(Ill. This verse contains more that a “don’t”, it also gives us a great promise. This verse reminds those who obey Father and Mother that there are some promises that they can have for themselves.)
A. Our Days Will Be Lengthened – (Ill. Eph. 6:3) When one honors his parents as he ought, then God has promised him longer days upon the earth. I believe that we can take this literally. If this is true, and it is, then it can also be said that refusal to obey parents can result in an abbreviated life!
B. Our Days Will Be Lightened – Not only does the Lord promise length of days to those who honor their parents, He also promises blessings to those who choose this wonderful way of life.
(Ill. George Washington had his heart set on going to sea. His trunk was already on board the ship when he went to tell his mother goodbye. He found her with tears in her eyes and a heavy heart that was opposed to his journey. He turned to a hired servant and ordered him to go to the ship and get his trunk. He said, “I will not leave and break my mother’s heart.” Her response to him was this, “George, God has promised to bless the children that obey their parents.” God did bless his life and still uses his influence to this day!)
(Ill. By the same token, God has cursed those who refuse to obey mother and father – Prov 30:17, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”)
(Children that treat their parents with the respect they are due, and worthy of, will be blessed of the Lord! Amen!
As I look back over all the years of my life, I realize that in many ways I was a very disobedient child. Yet, I thank God for my parents and for the life and raising they gave me. What I am tonight is a product of the investment they made then.
The same stands true for each of us this evening! We may not always agree with them, and we may not always understand them, yet they are our parents and as such, they deserve all the love and respect that we can possible give to them.