Becoming a better man... Let's continue our series by looking at the fifth commandment,
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Here God is telling us to honor and respect those who brought us into this world, who nurtured us, and raised us. He is of course speaking of our parents. This an area where we as men should definitely not be lacking. We should be very mindful of honoring and taking care of our parents, in laws, and even our grandparents.
Our parents are usually the first cheerleaders and encouragers we have in our lives. We may not remember, but it was most likely our parents that encouraged us to walk, to say our first words, and even to eat our vegetables. They probably taught most of us how to ride a bike, and helped us to read and pronounce words. They most likely encouraged us at our baseball or football games. In our teenage years they probably taught us how to drive and if we experienced heart aches or disappointments, our parents were usually there to console us. In light of everything they do for us, it appears very shameful when we fail to honor them.
It is quite amazing how two people can raise two, four, or six children, and yet when these children are adults, they are sometimes unwilling to take care of the two people, their mother and father, who raised them. This should not be the case and men we need to take the lead in making our parents "golden years" as enjoyable and trouble free as possible.
Unfortunately some of us do not have the best relationship with our parents. Many factors can strain the parent child relationship. We may disagree on a number of issues. If our parents have split up or divorced, this may complicate our relationship with them. We may have childhood memories when our parents were negligent, may have made bad choices, or possibly could have done evil things to us. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Here he is telling us, we are not to obey our parents every whim if it takes us out of God's will. Obeying them in the Lord does not mean we are to condone any evil behavior they may be engaged in. What I mean is, we are not required to be obedient if it requires us to go against God's word. Our honoring of our mother and father should not take us into blatant sin.
Honoring our parents can be expressed in many ways. Spending time with them, enjoying life with them, and showing our appreciation for them are a few of the numerous ways in which we can honor them.
Another facet of this commandment is expressed in how we live our own lives. The bible states in proverbs 10:1, "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother." The choices that we make in life can bring either joy or shame to our parents. Think about it, have you ever observed someone's character and behavior and thought to yourself, "Whoever raised him must be proud." On the other hand we can clearly observe how someone's actions can also bring shame and disgrace to their parents. The character and integrity that we live our own lives with will directly affect the joy or the grief that we bring to our fathers and our mothers.
This is also the first commandment God gives us that comes with a promise. "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you." God tells us that when we do this, the benefits are long life, and his blessing on our lives.
When we honor our parents, we are honoring the time, energy, love, and hours of sacrifice they have poured into us. It creates in us men a sense of honor and integrity that improves our overall character. This in itself helps us become better men. What are some other ways we can honor our parents? Please leave some examples you have observed yourself, as well as examples of when following this commandment has been difficult to live out.