"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you." God's fifth commandment -- the only commandment that contains a promise. What does it mean today to "honor your parents?"
God designed the family unit so that it would function in the best possible way: Father and mother and children. God gave each family member a specific role to perform to ensure that the family functions as he designed it.
The role of the "father" -- the man is usually stronger physically, able to do the harder and more difficult work; the father is designated as the"head" of the household; it is he who provides leadership and direction to the family; he shows love and affection for his wife; he is the example to the children as to what it means to be a "man," a "husband" and a "father"; he is to show the family the value of honesty, integrity and hard work; he shows reverence and respect for God; he teaches them by word and example what it means to be a follower of the Christ (to pray, to study the Bible, to attend worship regularly, and to be a witness and a servant in the world).
The role of the "mother" -- she is to express the softer side of life, mothering and nurturing her children. She is to show love and affection for their father; she is to teach the children godly habits; love for God and love for others; sharing what you have; being merciful and forgiving; she is to be the model of what it means to be a "woman," a "wife" and a "mother"; she is to instill in the children the value of a good education; she is to support and encourage the family members as they deal with the problems and pressures of life; and she is to be an example of godliness to all.
If the father is missing from the family unit, there needs to be another male to model what it means to be a man, a husband and a father. This could be a grandfather, an uncle or a big brother. If the woman is missing from the family unit, there needs to be a female present to model the role of woman, wife and mother. This could be a grandmother, an aunt or a big sister. If either father or mother is absent from the family unit, the children tend to do poorly in school, are more likely to get in trouble, have a low self-esteem and find less joy and satisfaction and love in their lives.
So, honor your father and your mother:
• Hold them in the highest esteem;
• Admire them and strive to be like them;
• Treat them with the courtesy and respect they deserve, and
• Love them deeply.
A commandment with a promise ... God says, "If you love Me, honor and respect Me, you will love and honor and respect your father and mother!" If you obey this commandment, you will live a healthier, happier, more wholesome and a more holy life -- and you will live much longer than those who do not obey this commandment!
Amazingly, most recent studies confirm what the Lord God says. People who live in non-traditional family units have a shorter life-span, are less healthy physically and emotionally, have very low self-esteem, are more likely to be lawbreakers and troublemakers, tend to be less educated and are less satisfied with who they are.
Honor your father and you mother! Live happier! Live healthier! Live longer! Praise be to God!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 05/17/2018
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