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Monday, April 23, 2012

honoring your father and mother

i have had these thoughts floating around in my head for several months now, but yesterday's sermon on the fifth commandment brought them back up.

i have had the opportunity to talk with so many different people on the topic of parents, and in-laws because of the young adults group that we are a part of.
i have seen all kinds of issues...from parents that are too overbearing to parents that don't expect anything.
from in-laws who still completely control their married children, to in-laws who don't put any effort into their married children at all!

i am particularly interested in the discussions of in-laws, because i realize that when my two boys get married someday, I will be the mother-in-law!

one thing that i have seen recently, is a wave of studies teaching men to be real leaders of their families, and raising their sons to be the same.

of course this is a good thing, and i am certainly not saying otherwise.
it is totally important for a man to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. (genesis 2:24)
it is totally important for a man to put the needs of his wife ahead of the needs of his mother.
no doubt.

i think that there is a real danger here in putting so much emphasis on one, that you totally miss the other.
here's what i mean.

it can be very easy to so emphasize the fact that your husband must show honor and love to you as his first priority...
that you almost encourage him to show no honor or respect to his parents.

the Bible is so clear about honoring your parents.
when this command was given (notice i said command, not suggestion) it was not given at a children's convention.
it was given to a group of people including adults! this makes it very clear that we, as adults, are to honor our parents!

honor defined is: to treat with admiration and respect

interesting, right? what does respect and admiration look like?
it looks like this:
~speaking highly of your parents (and in-laws) when they are with you, and when they are not with you. (to your spouse, to your kids, to your friends)
~praying for them
~putting their needs ahead of your own. (just because your husband/wife is now your first priority, does not excuse you from putting philippians 2:3-4 into practice!!)
~telling them that you respect and admire them (they need encouragement too!)

i love the verse in Proverbs 14:1 that says "the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down"

how could i be tearing down my house?
by tearing down my parents or my in-laws.
by speaking critically of what they are doing, or have done.
by showing my kids that they only have to follow what i say, and not what i do.
(it's ok to talk about certain people in a negative way?)
by turning my husband against my parents, or his own parents.
by finding the negative in situations that i could just as easily find the positives.

and a million other stinking little ways.

my encouragement to you from this command to honor your parents is this...

honor your parents! 
ha...pretty obvious!
but stop yourself the next time you find yourself opening your mouth to say something critical about your parents.
stop yourself the next time you start to say something negative about your in-laws.

what would your point be?
i often think about how i would feel if my boys marry a girl who bring up all my bad qualities!
i do have a lot, and i have no doubt that it would be easy to point them out.
i hate the thought of a girl turning my babies against me.
(and yes, i think i may always call them my babies even though they are much older now!)
i want them to find a girl who will encourage our relationship. who will remind them to show honor and respect to me. who will be thankful for the mother that i have been to them, and the training i have given them.
i think they would owe me that!
and i think that i owe my own mother and mother-in-law the same respect that i would want.

so going back to where i started...
yes, it is important for a man to break away from his parents and be dedicated and committed to his own wife.
BUT - it is equally important to honor your parents.
yes, equally. we can not put one command as worthy of obeying...more.
we are just to obey all the commands!

i want to take a little more time this week.
put a little more effort in, in making sure that i am obeying the fifth commandment and honoring my parents.


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