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Author Topic: Honor thy father and mother  (Read 1471 times)

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Honor thy father and mother
« on: January 25, 2012, 02:43:04 PM »

I felt lead to post this because I have a friend who is enduring a situation with her parents but has been so good to them regardless of their cruel nature towards her.

Since the dawn of parenthood, there have been those who become parents without really thinking it through. I assume that many people would wonder what kind of parent they would be but that may be too presumptuous. I have seen many people who are good parents but yet I have seen so many more who, in all honesty, really aren’t fit for parenting. They judge, manipulate, control, guilt, talk down to, and just overall believe that the person they brought into this world is a creature meant to do, essentially, whatever they tell them to do, often times regardless of how old they become.  Their unreasonable and selfish attitude is hurtful to their children, especially as they get older into their teens, twenties, or older. As a matter of fact many children are subjected to their parents irrational behaviors their entire lives.

We are told to honor our father and mother but what is honor? Is honor actually just doing whatever they say at all times? Is honor not going against their wishes or commands?

I’m not questioning whether we should honor our parents but like most things taught in the carnal world of Christianity, its quite apparent that this definition of “honor” is most likely askew. I see countless people who believe that JUST because they are the parents they believe that “might makes right” and then claim to be Christian…what UnGodly and unloving character.  Why should one automatically trust, respect, or do whatever a parent says when they do not act honorable. I see parents make arguments such as “I brought you into this world so you better do what I say“…how cruel. Not one single solitary person had anything to do with their own creation. I know I didn’t ask to be created. I was thrust against my will into a physical universe due to my parents conceiving me…how is that my responsibility, choice or will? It isn’t.

I have had friends who’s parents are for the most part, despite their imperfections, reasonable and kind people. No one is perfect and all parents will do things that may negatively affect their kids, at least in a small way. But parents really aren’t all that better than children themselves. In the grand scheme of things in this universe a 30 year difference in age isn’t going to make you extremely wise, it just hopefully makes you wiser than the child you brought into the world. God calls us his children? Why? Because he treats us as children. Even those wrinkly people who make it to 100 years old, they are children. It doesn’t matter what our perception is, to God no matter how old you are, how wise you may seem you are still just children. We really don’t know all that much at all.

So should children always do what their parents tell them to do? No…this is not what the Scriptures command. So, what is honor according to the Jewish people and in what manner should we apply this today?

What is honor? People often times want to keep their honor but what I have found as a martial artist, which is my profession incidentally, is that people don’t know what honor really is.

What is the dictionary definition of honor?

a : good name or public esteem : reputation
b : a showing of usually merited respect : recognition <payhonor to our founder>

People confuse two concepts: “honor” and “face”.  I’m sure most have heard of “saving face” but what is that? According to the first definition of honor we see it says “good name or public esteem: reputation” Well I can tell you right now that “face” or ones’ reputation is not honor or vise versa. Yet again we see the English dictionary has little understanding of these matters, the proof is in the combined definitions. Ones’ “reputation” and “showing respect” are NOT at all the same thing!

Face is what you are in front of people. Losing face can be costly in terms of many professional and personal matters, if someone doubts your abilities, ruins your reputation, talks badly about you…that could mean losing face in regards to other people. And while “face” has its place and is important in its own way, doing what is right will always supersede reputation, or at least it should. Because when it comes to family, reputation is not what is important…doing what is right, just, fair, loving and kind is what’s most important and that often times may result in losing face in the eyes of others. Doing what is right often times comes with a price and that may mean sacrificing your own selfishness for the betterment of the child you are raising and the same goes for children and their parents.

Honor is something that people seem to throw around.. you dishonored me, you dishonored our family, etc. but they are still confusing honor with face.

The Hebrew word for “honor” is “kabad”

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines Kabad:

to be heavy, weighty, or burdensome, abounding with, more grievously afflict, boast, be chargeable, be dim

There are some pretty powerful words to define this idea of “kabad”… look at these descriptions. It almost sounds negative but thats not true, just because something is difficult doesn’t make it bad. The idea of Hebrew honor, like many ancient cultures, centers around the family…nothing was more important. Were there children who disagreed with their parents and went against their wishes, yes!  But they honored them. How?

The very nature of having parents is like being weighed down or burdened at times, but this is not negative, its just a lot to take on. Parents could say the same of their children, they are weighed down by their children.  Another word for this is “obligation”.  Becoming obligated to someone can be wonderful or terrible. Allowing yourself to be obligated to people who have bad character, are selfish, or dishonest will cause trouble but being obligated to a kind, fair and good person, while still difficult reaps rewards! The very nature of honor is to be obligated in a righteous and true fashion and to strive to do that which is right! Even if it means sacrificing one’s own petty ideals for the betterment of someone else that you care for enough to be obligated to them. Being cruel towards parents who are already cruel is not the way to honor them.

Parents you have an obligation to your children to look deep inside yourself and ask if you plan on being what the bible defines love as.

1 Cor. 13: 4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does NOT DISHONOR others, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING, it is NOT EASILY ANGERED, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. 7 It ALWAYS protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This definition of love sure sounds honorable to me. Parents, do you fit this description? Are you capable of raising a child with this honorable, loving, responsible, unselfish, Godly mindset? If not I pray that God will release the hardness from your hearts that causes you to treat your children like “things” that are not deserving of privacy, respect and honor of their own. You want those things, so give it in return.

As for children, I did not grow up in a home with unloving, un-trusting, unreasonable and selfish parents. By all accounts they loved me as a child and as I grew up they allowed me to live my life. This is not to say they don’t chime in when concerned for me but this is natural of parenthood and can be positive. To my mother I will always be her child and in a large way I like knowing she loves me. However, even though she has gotten upset with choices I have made or disapproved she never imposed her will on me when I became an adult.

So, I do not know what it is like to grow up with parents who are cold and selfish…but my mother does, and my father does, and at least a dozen other friends I’ve been close to over the years, they know. I have seen these young adults try to reason with parents who do not care to be reasoned with, parents of this ilk want to be right even if it means being cruel and hurtful. So how can a child honor someone who is like this? It is very possible I can assure you!

We have people in our lives, some come and go and some stay as long as we live. For most of us, our parents are an integral part of our lives for decades upon decades. We did not have a choice in who our parents are, but we can still honor them. Even if they are abusive verbally, emotionally, physically, etc. However, that does not mean we must subject ourselves to a life of being treated in such a manner. Its difficult to say goodbye to someone, especially a parent or to remove yourself from a life with them but when we grow up and get married and want a family of our own we have to consider what is good for our own children. If our parents are cruel, selfish, unloving, and making us feel guilty all of the time even if we have not done anything wrong we must honorably remove ourselves from their lives. This is for the sake of our happiness, our future family’s happiness. We can always respect and honor them by not doing or saying bad or unloving things but that doesn’t mean we have to put ourselves in a bad situation.

For whatever reasons, they are the way that they are and it isn’t for us as children to change them any more than they have a right to change us. Selfish parents act thinking they are doing what is good, but if they were to think about the definition of given by scripture they would see that they are not fulfilling what they are commanded to do.

Honor is a tricky thing. We must not become obligated to dishonorable people, even if that is our parents and we may end up severing the chord of a relationship with them. However we can always honor them by acting in the very manner God has commanded us…

To love… no matter what they may act like, we can always still love and pray for them. This will in turn make us better parents than they were capable of because love begets more love and our future children will learn this lesson. Being fair, just, reasonable, kind and loving will make someone a better person and a decent parent.



  • Guest
Re: Honor thy father and mother
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 11:10:07 AM »

Bravo, Bravo.  Sometimes, people and parents need the gift of missing you.  Gives them time to think and reflect, especially if the last words they heard were their own ...  and they weren't very kind or loving words.  (This is all assuming they don't have Alzheimers.  ;))
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 11:15:11 AM by Gina »
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