“The Gift of Honor”
Honoring our parents may be one of the hardest things we’ll ever do, but it is also one of the most beneficial and rewarding. When we honor others, we attach great value to them and treat them like a priceless treasure. The more honor we attach to someone, the easier it becomes to treat that person with great dignity and respect.
The Greek writer Homer said, “The greater the cost of a gift, the more the honor.” Honor is a gift, sometimes it comes at a great cost to the giver. A person may or may not deserve honor, but we freely give it as a gift.
Even if we don’t think our parents deserve it, God requires that we honor them. Scripture does not say, “Honor your father and mother only if they are good to you.” The fact is that many parents haven’t earned the right to be honored, but that’s just the point: the highest form of love places honor on someone who doesn’t deserve it. As strange as it may seem, the only way to experience freedom from the effects of a dishonoring parent is to honor that person regardless of their deserving it. It may help to look at them through God’s eyes. They are, after all, created in His image, the same as we are.
Honoring our parents requires a conscious decision to do so. It takes effort. Parents aren’t perfect, and neither are we. Opinions differ, tempers flare, and feelings often get hurt. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves of our commitment to be “honoring.”
I have a friend whose father died at the age of forty-three, and he strongly believes it is because his father was greatly dishonoring to his own parents. This reflects the commandment as God gave it: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV, see also Ephesians 6:1-3).
If we’re willing to listen with an open mind and heart, our parents can provide guidance in every area of our lives. When we honor our parents, we are willing to allow them to guide and direct us. Whether we like to admit it or not, our parents can impart wisdom that we just don’t yet possess. They have been there, and they’ve faced many of the same issues we’re facing. Sure, the times may have been different, but peer pressure is no respecter of generations.
There are several ways we can honor our parents. For example:
*We can honor our parents by listening carefully and respectfully to their counsel (Proverbs 1:8). This involves listening patiently and giving sincere consideration to their insights.
*We can honor our parents by praising them. While we don’t have to manufacture praise, we can actively look for praiseworthy qualities in our parents. It can be as simple as “I appreciate the good meals you make.”
*We can honor our parents by respecting their authority. Parents have a God-given authority that we need to recognize and submit to. By doing so we stay within the boundaries God created for family life.
Honoring our parents is one of the greatest things we can ever do in this life, because by honoring our parents we honor God.