Ephesians 6:2-3 – “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” NKJV
A few days ago I was in a store and heard a child demanding a particular item from his mother and when she resisted he sat down on the floor and threw a temper tantrum. She soon acquiesced and gave him what he wanted. Later that same day I was in a restaurant and a father told his little girl to sit down and eat her food and she told him, quite loudly and without any trepidation, “NO! You can’t make me!” He let her continue what she was doing. I won’t say I was shocked but thought back to my childhood and thought about what my parent’s response would have been. You really don’t want to know because I probably wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week. They would have busted my rear end right then and there and virtually nobody would have thought a thing about it but would have acknowledged approval for the discipline. I respected my parents and knew that there were boundaries that I had to stay within or there would be consequences that I did not desire. My respect for them, their enforcement of discipline (consistently), and my love for them motivated me to do what they approved when I was with them. I confess I broke their rules when away from them but I “honored them” while in their presence and as I grew older out of their presence as well.
I lay the blame on parents for not enforcing consistent discipline. I lay the blame on society for adopting the ideology that discipline (biblical) cannot be used. I lay the blame on the children for being disrespectful. Everyone has some blame to share! My children will tell you that we did not allow them to pull the stunts mentioned above. In church, while I was preaching my boys knew that if I snapped my fingers it meant, “Stop what you are doing now!” They may not remember how effective it was but believe me the consistent enforcement of discipline on that front make that an effective method of getting the desired and necessary response from them. I am reminded of one of the church members in one particular church telling the story of how their oldest son was acting up and the mother picked him up to take him out of the sanctuary and fully intended to give him a spanking. As she was going down the aisle he said where everyone could hear, “Somebody help me this crazy woman is going to kill me.” The entire church erupted and she got so tickled that while she still disciplined him she could not help but find it funny.
But, for all of us who have parents, or children, we should remember this verse and the additional benefit it contains. It is a reference to the Ten Commandments and Paul says that “honoring your parents” carries with it the promise of long life on the earth. Do I think that someone can honor parents and die young, of course, I do. However, I also believe that many live long and fruitful lives largely based on this promise and their truthful honoring of their parents. My grandfather on my mother’s side was 9 days short of being 101 when he went home to be with the Lord and I know he honored his parents as did his children him and my grandmother. My mother was 95 when she went home to the Lord and I watched her honor her parents. She cared for her own family and carefully ministered to her parent’s needs. It is more than just doing what they say it is a mindset and attitude. It is a relationship. It is an expression of respect and love. It carries with it a desire to please them biblically.
I see disrespect in public. I’ve seen it in homes. I’ve seen it in schools. I see it in every aspect of our society and goes way beyond just honoring parents but that is my focus here. Let’s get this part right and I believe many of the other areas will come into harmony with the biblical guidelines. Proverbs 13:24 – “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Some might be troubled by the idea of using the rod of discipline on their children, but discipline is a very good place to begin. My dad could quote and believed an earlier verse in that chapter and practiced it. Verse 14 – “You shall beat him with a rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.” Actually, I’m glad my parents disciplined me and it did not make me a warped individual. If I’m warped I did that on my own their discipline didn’t cause it.
May God be with you as you go through your day!