Sunday, June 16, 2013

Honour thy father and thy mother

Deuteronomy 5:16  Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

When i asked a friend if there was any topics she had been thinking about that I could do for a blog post she mentioned honoring father & mother. Her request included father & mother who are not of the faith. I am thankful for this requested topic. I believe this is something we all need to be more faithful in--as young or old as we may be. If we have a father & mother, we are commanded by God Himself to honor them. Modern generations have lost much due respect for father & mother. Although this may be partly due to a lack of proper training on father & mother's part; we should never let this hinder us from obeying the commands of God. We cannot blame others for our disobedience when it is in the power of our hands to obey.
Matthew 15:3-8  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?   For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;   And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.   Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,   This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. I looked up this word honour in the Strong's Greek Concordance to get a better understanding of the commandment = G5091 τιμάω timaō  tim-ah'-o
From G5093; to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere: - honour, value.
Webster's Dictionary said, "...A testimony of esteem; any expression of respect or of high estimation by words or actions;"
These definitions make it more clear in my head. Ok so, we are suppose to value our parents. How do we treat things or people we value. If it is an object that we value we guard it, or try to keep it in a safe place; we do the same with people that we esteem valuable to us. Some people we "prize", they are precious to us, we never want to hurt them or speak unkind to them, we seek to do them good in "words & actions."
Hmm, have we been treating our parents like we honor/ value them?
--Or do we esteem their input of little value because they made mistakes raising us?
--Do we have a lack of value (honor) for them because they are in sin & unbelief?
--If we have parents in the faith we should most certainly value/honor them.
--If we have parents disobedient to the faith, for the sake of the faith we must honor them.
--If we are to love even our enemies, how much more should we love our parents (enemies to our faith or not).
 For many years I lived in a fellowship that believed since our foes (enemies) are those of our own household that we should literally cut ourselves off from them if they show resistance or lack of understanding toward the faith. Meaning we should basically have them cease to exist in our conscience--let them be as the dead. There was a certain amount of power behind these beliefs because it gave you a sense of utter abandonment for Christ. It led you to feel as if you were fulfilling Christ's teaching on hating father & mother. My husband has brought up an interesting point on this. Christ also taught us to hate our own lives in this account:
 Luke 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 
Well, how can we hate our own life & still live, or esteem the present life if we are to live for Christ?
(Wish I had considered this years ago, but I thank God I am able to grow in the knowledge of His will.)
The word hate here (Strong's Concordance) = G3404 μισέω miseō mis-eh'-o
From a primary word μῖσος misos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension to love less: - hate (-ful).
As my husband explained it; Christ is simply saying here that we are not to love father or mother MORE THAN HIM. We are to "love less" than Him, our parents, & our own life. This is simply keeping the first commandment = Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

He is to be honored/valued above all, even our own life.

If Christ meant that we were to utterly forsake & abandon our parents he would be inconsistent in His teachings. He taught us to love our enemies, to do good to those that do evil to us. I do not believe that the majority of a disciple's parents would do "evil" to them purposefully; yet we are to love even our enemies when they are evil towards us. Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 

How is it that He would have us hate our parents in the sense of forsaking them all together, but then tell us to love our enemies? He didn't--that's a false teaching. He told us to love them less than Him... which is consistent with everything else He taught.

I don't believe we should confuse obedience with honor. Peter bears witness when he says, (Act 5:29)
"We ought to obey God rather than men." We are not to obey anyone when it is contrary to the will of God. Obedience is not the same as honor, although honor can include obedience. Children are taught to obey. Ephesians 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  It is good & right for children/youth to obey their parents who are in the Lord. As adults we are to honor our parents, that does not always include obedience. Obedience is simply conforming to what we are told. As adults we are to be discerning & conforming to the image of Christ. If father or mother would have you conform to the image of the world; of course you would not obey. But this lack of obedience on our part should not effect our honoring of them. In 1Peter 2:17  We are told to "Honour all men." We are taught to honor all. The word men was added to the text. But Peter also made clear that we are not obligated to obey all men.
It has been a help for me to search the Scriptures to see the clear difference between obedience & honor. I think it may be easy for some to think that if we have to honor them we have to obey them also. I do not see this to be the case. Although, by all means, if obedience is not contrary to the will of God, obey, for the sake of doing good/pleasing your neighbor. (Romans 15:2 ) Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

It seems evident young or old, Christ taught us to honor our father & mother. Here is an example of what Christ required of a man = Mat 19:16-20  "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?   And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.   He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,   Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?"
He did not specify "only fathers & mothers that believe in Me." nor did He go into detailed circumstances of how to honor them. It is apparent that God values the life of His creatures, & that He would have us do the same to the just & the unjust. Luke 6:35  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 

To esteem your parents of little worth & to cut yourself off from ever pleasing them (in things that are not contrary to the will of God) is not what Christ taught. We can see from early Christian writings that those of the faith were known to honor their father & mother. They were not known for forsaking them in their old age & counting them of little worth. Read on to see what was said in days of old...

"But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations�. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honor father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world. Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Aristides (2nd century) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.9 pg.276 

"I think we must first inquire whether warfare is proper at all for Christians. What sense is there in discussing the merely accidental, when that on which it rests is to be condemned? Do we believe it lawful for a human oath to be superadded to one divine, for a man to come under promise to another master after Christ, and to *abjure father, mother, and all nearest kinsfolk, whom even the law has commanded us to honor and love next to God Himself, to whom the gospel, too, holding them only of less account than Christ, has in like manner rendered honor? Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law?" Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 99

*abjure = . To renounce upon oath; to abandon; as to abjure allegiance to a prince.

Malachi 1:6  A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

~Let us redeem the time dear friends & teach our children to honor father & mother by our very example to our own father & mother. For it is the nature of those called Christian.Amen.

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