- Lesson 6 in the BaptistWay Press Connect 360 unit “Pillars” focuses on Exodus 20:12.
The commandment that people across times and cultures have broken most frequently is “Honor your father and mother.” Children within their first years intuitively know how to disobey their parents. The home was the first institution God created—before his covenant with Abraham, before creating governments or even the church. It is the foundation of all human relationships. Strong families build strong churches, communities and nations. When the family structure crumbles, nations soon follow. It’s worth noting that 2016 was the 10th consecutive year when 40 percent of American children were born outside of marriage.
When the family unit erodes, society erodes. It is impossible to maintain a viable society without the family. We cannot ignore the problems and difficulties facing the home and expect that society will remain intact. Our world is built on fragile relationships.
As parents, if we don’t teach our children to obey, they will be ill-equipped to obey other authorities in life. To honor means to agree with parents. This type of agreement does not bar developmental pushbacks as adolescents strive for independence; nor does it preclude discussions about differing attitudes with an eye to resolution. Agreement in this context means that children must make an unpretentious effort to understand where their parents are coming from and exert significant effort into living with them in an atmosphere of courtesy and understanding.
Commandment comes with a promise
God promised that the faithful, who honor and obey their parents, will enjoy abundant life and live long on the earth. When children see their parents care lovingly and compassionately for their elderly mother and father, this models to them the way they are to live when it becomes their turn to care for their aging parents.
Our society is one of the few that does not have a built-in respect for the elderly, a recognition of their value. It is strange that we would not love and respect those who gave us life, who nurtured us as children, and who sacrificed many of the pleasures of life so that we might have a better experience than they did. Ours is a sad culture that does not value, and often turns its back on those who have served others so well.
God’s fifth commandment promise refers to more than long-living. By stating it, God was reiterating his covenant with Israel, the same pledge that bore its ultimate fruit in the coming of Jesus. If our relationship with Jesus is the primary one in our lives, then the difficulties inherent in the ramifications of the commandment to honor one’s parents can be overcome.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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