That Is Good News! Examining our relationships with others
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NLT
In now the fifth commandment, the way of life that God wants His people to focus upon moves from a relationship with God to relationship with others. It is not by accident that the very first human relationship that God addresses is the family, specifically the relationship a child has with their mother and father.
Every year when Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rolls around, I intentionally tread lightly the reality that not every person on this earth has a good, positive or even loving relationship with their father, mother or even both. Also, there are millions who grow up with either not knowing who one or both of their parents are or in a situation where they are separated from their parents by circumstances or death.
On the other hand, though, there are many who were brought up in amazingly loving and nurturing homes where a child’s relationship with their parents entails honor and respect, but even more a true picture of how the Lord desires familial units to operate.
The design and essential nature of the family is clear, but there needs to be an understanding of the point of this command. The words of the Lord are directed specifically to those who are daughters or sons of a mother and a father.
Obviously, every living person has a mother and father, so this command is for everyone. This command is for sons and daughters who are young and old, whose parents are living or passed from this life. The command to honor our parents also comes with a promise and a blessing.
In Exodus, God promises those who live as people who honor their father and mother, no matter their age, they will be blessed with a long life in the land.
If the basis of all other relationships we have in this life comes from a foundation we have with our parents, then honor and respect are all values of all relationships.
The Lord knows that if we honor our father and mother, even when they fail us, then we learn that love is not based upon what a person does or does not do but is based on a commitment to the relationship despite actions.
Ultimately though, to learn to honor one’s parents is to learn to honor our Heavenly Father, the One who created us.
No matter the experience you have had with your earthly parents, Your Heavenly Father knows you, loves you and has a plan for you.
We live in an imperfect world with imperfect parents, God’s commands are perfect and we can trust that His truth will never let us down.
That Is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.