Live Long & Prosper

Have you ever wondered, “How do I have a prosperous and long life?” Ephesians 6:2 gives us a key. Honor your mother and father and things will go well. Why honor? We honor because of the position. Parents may not necessarily deserve honor, but we are commanded to honor unconditionally, just because they hold the position of parent in our life. The position is designated for honor, so we have no excuse. So, how do we honor our parents through the course of our life?

As a child, we honor by obeying. We do what they ask and follow our parent’s instructions - willfully, cheerfully and immediately. I call this first-time obedience. God has ordained three authorities according to Scripture, home, church, and government. When we learn how to respond and relate to those in authority as a young person, it helps us throughout life. As a teenager, respect is valuable in showing honor. In Leviticus 19:3, God commands us to show great respect to our father and mother. It says nothing here about making an exception if they are flawed and imperfect. Forgive them for their imperfections, the good, the bad, and the ugly and treat them with respect. Another way is by listening to your parents. This proves your intelligence according to Proverbs 13:1. Foolish children do their own thing and go their own way. God gave you parents for a purpose, to help you become the person you were meant to be. Proverbs 6:20 says to obey your father’s commands is the path to life. But what if I am an adult? How do I show honor to my parents at this stage of life? Appreciate them. Appreciate your parents for their effort. They put up with you they whole time you were growing up. Appreciate them for their sacrifice. They went without things in order to raise you! Parenting is expensive. It's an unselfish decision to be a parent. Prov 23:25 says to give your father and mother joy. May she who gave you life be happy. Learn to value your parents and acknowledge that you understand that they've impacted you. Stay in touch with them. Call them and visit them. Provide for them as your roles are reversed.

God valued the honor of parents so much that he included it in His first, most basic and most important commandments, right up there with “don't murder” and “don’t commit adultery”. It's an important commandment with a promise for long life and prosperity. In fact, it is so important to honor your parents that even as Jesus was crucified and dying after a beating beyond imagination, He took time to make sure His own mother was cared for. He made seven statements while He was on the cross and one of them was to commission John to care for His mother Mary. Honor and care of His mother was that important. I Timothy 5:8 says that if anyone doesn't take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, that he has denied his Christian faith and he is worse than an unbeliever. We honor God when we honor our parents. Love is spelled t_i_m_e. Give your parents time. Show up. Call. Write. Text. Make time for them, to honor them and ultimately to honor God.

I know some are in a situation where parents were abusive or absent. What should you do if your parents hurt you? Face it and deal with it, so you can get on with your life. If you're carrying unfinished business, unforgiveness and hurt, you need to deal with it so those emotions don't surface and result in hurt of your own spouse and children, friends and family. Release the anger. Let it go and be healed. Forgive. Stop hiding. Stop blaming. Find a good counselor. Talk to your parents about how you feel if possible. Do the work necessary so you can move on with your life. Stop the cycle so it doesn't affect the generations that follow. Only God can heal you but it starts by facing the issues instead of pretending to be ok. Were you abandoned? Psalm 27:10 promises that the Lord Himself will take care of you. He never leaves you. You can turn to Him at any time. There is no indication in Scripture that we ever grow out of the command to honor our father and mother. And just as there is no end to the command, there is no expiration of the attached promise, that if you do this, it will go well with you. You will live long and prosper. Take God at His word and you will be blessed.

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