The Fifth Opportunity

Hal Warren's picture

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 

The Fifth Commandment states that we are to honor our father and mother in order that our days may be long in the land that God has given us (Exodus 20:12). This is the first of God's commandments to contain a promise (Ephesians 6:2,3). To "honor" in the original Hebrew language includes the qualities of love, affection, gratitude, obedience and respect.  It is through honoring our parents that we first learn to honor all that are in authority over us. If children do not learn to honor their parents then they will likely not honor any in authority. Are you ensuring that your children honor their parents so that they will grow up honoring the law of the land? (Proverbs 30:11-14)  If You Can't Say Amen, Say Oh Me!

Noteworthy is that the ancient world into which these commandments were given, human females were thought of as property of no more value than cattle.  Into this world God stated that the FATHER and MOTHER were to be honored. Realize, God has always intended for males and females to be equal in rights as humans (Galatians 3:28). However, God has decided that positionally in the marriage the male is to be the head (Ephesians 5:23). That is because every team needs one head with anything in nature having two heads is referred to as a monster!  Nevertheless, this does not mean that the wife is inferior in any aspect. In fact, females have areas that are superior to males and vice-a-versa so that we can COMPLETE one another not COMPETE with one another. Unfortunately, in life men use their positional power to obtain sexual favors from females while females use their sexual power to obtain positional favors from males. Consequently, males and females can be EQUALLY wrong, too! Nevertheless, it is God's express desire that the mother be honored and not just the father (Proverbs 1:8. Proverbs 6:20. Proverbs 23:22-25):

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother - Abraham Lincoln

The Law of Consequence for Violating the Commandment

The consequences upon disobedient children for their actions are described in the Bible (Proverbs 20:20. Proverbs 30:17). Unfortunately, disobedient children rarely consider the consequences to the whole family that their rebellion will cause (Proverbs 10:1. Proverbs 15:20. Proverbs 17:25. Proverbs 19:13. Proverbs 19:26. Proverbs 28:7). However, we as parents need to ensure that we are not driving our children to rebellion by having a plethora of rules that must be kept perfectly in order for them to be found pleasing to us. Rather we must cultivate an unconditionally accepting, loving and caring relationship with our children within the framework of rules (Ephesians 6:4). Rules should be like what the endoskeleton is to the soft flesh of our bodies. That is, they must be in place to ensure order but not so rigid that exceptions cannot be made depending on the circumstances.

Rules without relationship leads to rebellion - Josh McDowell

Nevertheless, if you did the best you could following God's guidance in raising your children yet they choose to rebel against you and God anyway then forgive God (we tend to blame Him for everything), them, and yourself (we often forget this one). Continue to love and support them but without enabling any bad habits. Continue to trust God for them to return (Proverbs 22:6. Psalms 89:30-34).

We can learn a lesson from the Bible story of the prodigal son who insultingly wanted his inheritance before the father had died. The father knew it was better to have this rebellion lived out AWAY from the rest of the family so he gave the son his inheritance and off he went to enjoy the very temporary pleasure of sin (Luke 15:11-13. Hebrews 11:25). While the father evidently looked for the departed son every day (based on him seeing him return from afar - Luke 15:20) he did not proceed to follow the rebel son into the low places of  life. However, once the son came to his senses (Luke 15:14-19) the father met him on his way back home before the other family members could see his disheveled appearance. The father then declared He was back in right relationship with the him (his best robe given) with all rights including his wealth (his ring given) and  restored him as a son (sandals given - only family not servants had them)! (Luke 15:20-22) He then killed the fattened calf symbolizing reconciliation for the son that was effectively dead to them but was now alive! (Luke 15:23,24). Furthermore, we are not to be like the older brother who kept the rules of his father perfectly but never cultivated a loving relationship with him (Luke 15:25-32). This story is an allegory depicting the love our Heavenly Father has for us His children even if we chose to rebel. That is, He is not looking for perfection but rather progress and will be there for you the moment you turn from the sin (sin is rebellion or lawlessness 1 John 3:4) and to Him (Jeremiah 33:3). Amen

The Opportunity of Blessing for Keeping the Commandment

If your parents are still alive them treat them kindly as this is the only commandment that you cannot practice forever. That is, we all will lose our parents to death at some point (Hebrews 9:27). I have seen adults weeping at the funeral of their parents for missing the opportunity to set things right between them. If your parents are still alive be sure to call them regularly especially if you live too far away to visit. I encourage you to go make things right with them before it is too late.

Furthermore, if you profess to be a religious person but do not honor your parents then God does not think much of your religion (Mark 7:10-13. James 1:26,27). The world is looking for people with a religion that teaches them how to live well; a religion that begins at home by honoring your parents is a good place to start!  Again, obedience and respect at home lead to the same in the workplace and when joined with other virtues they lead to a prosperous career. Therefore, parents continue to model honoring your parents so that your children (even adult children) can learn by example. Honor your parents by being a law abiding citizen (Romans 13:1), by living an ethical and moral life (2 Peter 1:4-8), and by being a good provider for your family (1 Timothy 5:8), etc.

Lastly, does everything seem to being going wrong in your life? I challenge you to honor your father and mother today and watch for the results. Just like the law of gravity dictates that if you drop an object on Earth it will fall. Similarly, if you honor your parents God (the creator of gravity) promises your life will be long and blessed! (Ephesians 6:2,3)

 


(1) Left click on underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.


Links to the entire series:

The Ten Opportunities

The Tenth Opportunity

The Ninth Opportunity

The Eighth Opportunity

The Seventh Opportunity

The Sixth Opportunity

The Fifth Opportunity

The Fourth Opportunity

The Third Opportunity

The Second Opportunity

The First Opportunity

The Null Opportunity


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