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Honor Your Parents (“You can act like a man!”)

August 18, 2011

In a culture of disrespect, it seems that those that should be respected most, get respected the least. This is particularly true of parents.  It does not take a sociology degree to discern that children today have an almost insatiable desire to assert their individualism to the point of denying their parents the one thing God has determined children should give to them, namely honor and respect.  This malady is so rampant that the reason we have so many grown up boys is because they never truly learned how to and the importance of respecting and honoring their parents.  There is no two ways about it, real men honor their parents.  The Bible is clear on this and so too is experience.

Our series “You can act like a man” (pt. 1, pt. 2) continues as we look at this all important aspect of biblical manhood. In order to be a man, biblically speaking, and thus command the respect is due a man, one must first learn to honor those to whom honor is due.  Yesterday we stated that it begins with God.  Today we follow with affirming that honor continues with our parents.

When God determined that he would form a nation for his own display of glory in the world, and thus demonstrate what a people reflective of his character would be like, he set before them ten irrefutable, irreducible commands (Ex. 2o:1-17; Dt. 5:6-21).  These are not all that God commanded his people, but they do sum up the character and intent God has for his people.  Our interest today, however is in the fifth of these commands.  In establishing Israel as a nation, God said to them, “Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you…”  Interestingly, in establishing the laws that would govern the nation God would set in the midst of those laws the command to honor parents.  In fact, those who refused to honor their parents did so under the threat of death (Ex. 21:17; Mk. 7:10). Apparently in God’s economy honoring parents is right up there with honoring and worshipping Him.

A nation never rises any higher than it is willing to give honor to those who gave birth to it.  So goes nations, so goes individuals.  Admittedly, no parents are perfect.  We all have made enough mistakes to set our children back.  And some of us have add drastic, disastrous, and painfully sinful failures.  Yet, we not told that we are to like everything our parents do (a boy or girl who was molested by his or her mother or father would have a hard time finding much in them to like).  However, the idea of honor is that we would behave in such a way as to not bring shame or disrespect upon our parents, as God would define shame and disrespect.  Even the worst of parents should receive this.  Why?  Because real men know that it is this honor and respect that they anticipate receiving from their children.  No man should expect to get from his children what he refused to give to his parents (Gal. 6:7).

One of the more amazing and humbling statements made about our Lord Jesus is that even to his earthly, frail, sinful, and guilty parents he was submissive (Lk. 2:51).  Jesus honored his parents.  Men do likewise.  I have yet to meet a man whom I respect who does not have honor for his parents.  Not all of those parents were Christian. Not all of those parents were kind.  Yet still, these men live their lives so that their parents could not say anything disparaging about them even while knowing they were not the best of parental examples.

We are never too old to honor our parents.  As long as my mother is alive, I pray that my life before God would be an honor to her.  We have not always agreed, and I have said things that I have regretted. Nevertheless, I pray she knows I love her and my life has been a seeking to be an honor to her and to make her rejoice in the man she bore (Prov. 23:25).

So men, what can you do?  You can act like a man and honor your parents.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Louis permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:17 pm

    In an honorable way, would you ask your mother; “where’s my pound cake”?

    That’s a pretty picture of a very kind lady.

    Great posts, keep them coming.

    • ajcarter permalink*
      August 19, 2011 3:21 pm

      I will do it today! I am sure she will renew her promise with every intention of getting it to you. You may have to make a special trip up there to get it, though.

      • Louis permalink
        August 19, 2011 9:57 pm

        Lord willing, I will be up her way sometime early spring, 2012. My mouth is watering already.

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