An auctioneer brought out an old, ugly and worn out violin with incomplete strings. No one seemed interested for it looked like junk. But after raising the violin for everyone to see, he mentioned that it was a 17th century Stradivarius owned by one of Napoleon’s generals, Count Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor.
Immediately, you could hear gasps coupled with oohh’s & aahh’s.
When we talk about honor, the sense of respect that brings about that “aahh” is what comprises honor.
The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother.
Here are a few FAQ’s I get asked all the time.
1. WHO DO WE HONOR?
We are called to honor father AND mother. It’s not an “or” but an “and”.
Some will say, “Paolo, it’s easy to do that to my mom. But my dad? Hmmm… I don’t think so.”
Or, “Paolo, my dad is so lovable and was always there. But my mom, she was never there. How can I honor someone who didn’t even care for me?”
The command doesn’t give us a footnote, exception clause or fine print. It just says honor your father and mother period.
When we honor our parents, we honor God.
2. WHY SHOULD WE HONOR THEM?
This command has a promise attached to it, “that your days may be long in the land.” (Exodus 20:12)
There are natural consequences to honoring and obeying; and so does the converse. If we dishonor, there are negative consequences.
Honoring our parents is not for their benefit but it is for us.
But ultimately, we honor our parents for our benefit; we do it for the glory of God. The benefits are merely the by-product of honoring our parents.
3. HOW DO WE HONOR?
We honor them through our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
What are we cultivating in our thoughts?
If we cultivate hatred, disrespect and anger, guess what will come out of our mouths?
Matthew 12:34 says that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
On the other hand, if we cultivate gratefulness, forgiveness and unconditional respect, that is what’s going to overflow from our hearts and eventually through our mouths.
4. WHAT IF THEY’RE NOT HONORABLE?
There are times when one may feel that their parents don’t need the honor the Bible tells us to give them.
But again, the Bible gives us the command and says to honor period. It doesn’t say that we are to honor them when they are kind and exceptional parents. We are to honor them because it’s the right thing to do.
Here are a few practical things to do:
a. Give grace.
Sometimes, we have raised the level of expectations to levels we won’t even meet ourselves.
Cut them some slack.
They are wicked, sinful and flawed sinners like the person reading this blog… that’s you and me.
b. Give forgiveness.
Forgiveness lets them off the hook.
We decide to not allow what they’ve done to hurt us the way it has in the past. We let go of the offense.
Note: Only those who have been forgiven have the power to do the same to others.
c. Give honor.
In the military, there’s a statement that they use – “Salute the rank.”
For more about this point, check out this blog by Joseph Bonifacio.
d. Give an example.
If we live a life that dishonors our parents, we end up setting a pattern for our kids to follow. When we dishonor our parents, we model to our kids how they are to treat us.
e. Give thanks.
There is always something to thank God for our parents. You can start by being thankful that you are alive today. Even just that, it’s a reason to be grateful.
The best antidote to a grumbling heart is a grateful heart.
To hear more about this topic, you may watch last Sunday’s message.