Last time, I wrote about the relationship I have with my folks, especially how it has bloomed in the past decade (read Your Relationship With Your Parents). In my 20s I didn’t think much of my parents, but through my 30s and now in my 40s, I think the world of them. I have a deep thought that I’d like to share with you on this.
What comes to mind when you read Exodus 20:12?
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Parents typically read it to their children to remind them who is boss. It carries a much different perspective when you read it with YOU as the child. I hear God saying this verse like so,
“Chris, at 42 years old, honor your mom and dad who live 800 miles away. They put at least 20 years into your life, and they continue to do so even though you’re all grown up and a father of children of your own. Don’t blow them off now. Don’t think poorly of them. Don’t knit-pick at how they treat your children. Don’t you dare judge them. They have done you good, and they are part of who you are. Give them the honor they deserve. You’ll live long and be a better man if you do.”
As I explained in the last post, it was sometime in my 30s that I started to realize that my parents are pretty great people. I wasn’t estranged from them or anything, but I started to desire spending time with them. I started to seek out opportunities to “just hang.” Over the past decade, we have had several of the best times of my life.
- I invited my dad hunting, and he took me up on the offer. The few times we hit the mountains were the best hunting trips of my life – even better for my kids.
- We haven’t spent our vacation seeing sites; instead, we have vacationed to Minnesota. Not for special events like weddings or funerals, but for our special family vacations. They have become the most treasured experiences for my family.
- Recently I got the chance to travel to St. Cloud on business, so I flew out a few days early to stay with my folks. Those three days were most precious.
Are you there? Do you think your parents aren’t worthy of honor? I challenge you to rethink that, to take the Exodus 20:12 commandment seriously and give your parents honor – no matter how weak or faulty they are or have been in the past. You’ll be surprised at how good life can be with a relationship with your parents.
Be honest. If you are estranged from your folks, you have issues. I don’t care how bad your parents are or were, or how much you think you have broken the chains of dysfunction. You have a chip on your shoulder. Chances are you carry the same character traits you despised in your own parents (you drink, you throw your kids around, your faith is weak, you get easily angered, etc.). You expect grace from your children – or at least you will when they are adults – yet you are too stubborn to extend that grace to your living parents in their sunset years.
Hear me when I say to you, “Your life will be better if you reach out to your living parents and love them.” Oh, wait, those aren’t my words. God made that one of his Big 10 – the fifth of the great commandments – the only one with the promise that life would be much better if obeyed (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Perhaps the 5th Commandment isn’t solely speaking to underage children. Come to think of it, the Commandment doesn’t come with an age limit. God may be talking to you on how you honor your parents. Perhaps this is a key reason life isn’t going well for you. It’s time to reach out, give your mom or dad a call, and start honoring them.