‘Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee’. (Exodus 20:12 KJV).
Why would God link the length of my days on earth with my honouring my father and my mother?
I have heard some really good stories about the demonstration of the love of a parent for a child. This is the experience of many. They can tell you story after story of how their parent (s) have been there for them through thick and thin. Some parents even lie to protect their children from legal judgement and will sacrifice their very lives for their children.
I have also heard some horror stories about the things some parents inflict on their children. Abuse upon abuse in their childhood. Bad behaviours and attitudes, competition, rejection, abandonment, denial, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, you name it. Even one’s sworn enemy will think twice before doing some of the things some parents do to their children.
Due to these different types of Parent – Child relationship, some children in their adult years simply have a non existent relationship with their parents. This is their way; You live in your corner and I will live in mine. Take care of your troubles and I will take care of mine.
If they narrate their reasons for this way of life, you will begin to question the fairness of God’s blanket command that children should honour their parents.
A command telling us to honour our parents without an injunction of some kind can be hard for some to take especially when it is linked to the longevity of their lives.
God always makes provision for the future. Children and future generations and their right upbringing is of paramount importance to God. The only way to ensure this is for parents to operate correctly in their roles as God planned it so that their seed – their children and their children’s children will inherit and lay hold of what God has purposed for them. In this way, God ordained visions and purposes will be established in the earth.
Remember you only live as long as the purpose for your life continues.
Therefore honouring our parents, establishes at least three things;
It makes us know who we are accountable to (while we are children) and belong with on this earth,
It makes the parents know who they are accountable or responsible for on this earth,
and it provides a witness, an account for us (parents and children) before God.
God expects compliance with his command to honour our parents. The bible says that; ‘There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.’ (Proverbs 30:11 KJV). This is not in line with honouring our parents.
I believe a parent’s work is never done. Even in old age, they can lay hands on you (their child) and impart a blessing. Their good thoughts towards you is a blessing in itself. Their prayers for you reaches God quickly because they paid the price to raise you up more so than anyone else has.
Even for the parents that are irresponsible and treat their children simply as an inconvenience or as an investment to reap from in the future ( particularly in some cultures), the command to the children is still to honour them.
He does not ask that we love our parents. That is our Christian duty towards all men and women. He asks us to honour them. When you honour someone, you give them praise and elevation above yourself because of what they have done or who they are to you.
When a child honours a parent who does not deserve to be honoured, it is almost like crediting one’s account with God. He owes you, because as a child, the provision for your sustenance and your development is placed in the hands of your parents and if they by their own will refused to provide for you according to God’s plan, then they are accountable to God for this. Your honouring them irrespective of this confirms this debt and God knows how to balance the account. As he says in his word; ‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up’.(Psalm 27:10 KJV).
So, yours is to obey his word and honour your parents.
As a parent, it is important that you realise that God takes your role and responsibility seriously. Your child did not chose you. You chose to have them. Don’t treat them like you are doing them a favour. Don’t mistreat your children. Don’t neglect them. It is a responsibility God has given you to take care of them for him. Do it cheerfully and faithfully. He did not give them to you to pass them on to someone else. So don’t. Not even to a rich person, a spiritual leader, a grandmother, an uncle or aunt etc. You will account for this. God chose you irrespective of your circumstances to be the parent of that child. That child has a unique purpose and must have a unique set of experiences which you are best placed to provide. Live up to your responsibilities. He has and will continue to give you the provision to raise that child the way he has purposed.
Your children are not investment opportunities for you. They belong to God first and foremost. You do not raise your children so that in future you can control them and dump all your problems on them either. Don’t over burden your children, let them enjoy honouring you. Don’t treat them like a business investment. Don’t say, ‘I took care of you as a child so now you take care of me and all your brothers and sisters too’. Don’t forget, they may also have children that they need to be responsible for. Don’t usurp that provision for yourself just because you are their parent. Honor is not a thing that can be forced. It is given willingly. If as a parent you are not receiving the honour you think you deserve, you need to question the past and how you raised your children. What kind of parent were you? Did you to some extent neglect your responsibilities? Were you a ‘ nightmare’ of a parent who never showed a nurturing or a loving side?
‘Fathers, ( and mothers) provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged’. (Colossians 3:21 KJV).
‘And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’. (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)
Trust in God. Pray for your children and live the rest to God.
Children, honour your parents. God does not even ask that children should love their parents but simply that they honour them. By so doing, children remind parents of their responsibilities as parents and also make parent’s job easier. Children grow and develop all the capacity they need to fulfil their purpose on earth. Parents care and contribution as far as raising God fearing, matured and well balanced children pays off as such children will be blessed with long and purposeful lives. They can then pass on good traits, behaviours, the fear of God, etc to the generations after them. This is what God wants.
The first decision that God made about you without your permission is your parentage and your background. Your future and what you will be are very linked to this. He therefore commands you irrespective of the circumstances of that parentage to honour your parents – the ones who birthed you and raised you.
Since he is the one we all are ultimately accountable to, he will balance our accounts and so will ensure that whatever we sow, we also will reap.
Enough said !!!!!