When Honoring is Hard

For many, it is the most ‘sentimental’ day of the year.  It can be a day of joy or a day of despair or even resentment.  Not all feel blessed by their birth families—not all are blessed.  Many have lost their parents and grieve what was and what might have been.  We live in a broken world.  Pain is part of it.  Honor transcends it!

Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) are great times to celebrate the legacy we each can live.

In honesty, it’s taken me decades to deeply enjoy these days set aside for honor.   The superficiality of Hallmark ‘moments’ don’t blend with the depths of reality I find.  The challenges of close relationships, the pain of loss and the joys of loving are beautiful because of their imperfections.   Maturity allows me to receive both as gifts from God for me to do with as He wills. When I do as He wills, blessings abound!

Shallow sentimentality has nothing to do with the history or reality of honoring our parents.  In less than two decades after Mother’s Day became a holiday Anna Jarvis, the lady who campaigned for the day to be recognized, became so appalled with the commercialization, she begged to have the day removed from the calendar.  Yet, she created a tradition that loves what God loves and longs for us to love too.  Awareness of the shallows may be just the door we need to enter into the depths of honoring the gift of our parents.

Children, and by default, parents, are chosen for us by God.  They are gifts, a heritage—just as we are the Lord’s heritage.  God is so passionate that we recognize our families as such, He included honoring parents in the Law given to Moses and repeated it throughout Scripture.  In fact, it is a law that brings either blessings or curses.  We choose by whether we obey the command to honor–or not.

The Word honor includes the concepts of ‘weight,’ glory, reverence and respect.  In both the New and the Old Testament, it is given as a command that includes the promise of long life.  Honoring our parents is the key to living legacies!  If we want our lives to matter—and I believe everyone does—we must learn to honor our past.

Without honor, the broken-ness of generations simply gets passed down to the next generation.  Those things in our family heritage that do not align with God’s plan are ours to change.  We touch the future when we cover the broken-ness with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Despite the Hallmark view of parenthood, none of us are the superman or woman characterized for Father’s or Mother’s Day.  Neither were the parents of Scripture that God commanded to be honored.  There are no perfect people (except Jesus) to be found in the Scriptures.  The parents we see in the Word had flaws–just like us and just like our parents.  We honor our parents as gifts given by God.  Each of us has the glorious privilege of receiving the good, noble parts of our heritage and giving God thanks.  We have the even greater privilege of receiving the less noble, committing it to the redemption of Christ and rejoicing more deeply at His goodness and transforming power.

IF YOU STRUGGLE to honor a parent who has betrayed you, believe that God does work all things together for the good of those called according to His purposes.  Receiving the imperfections and failures of our parents and covering them with the forgiveness Christ offers is the greatest honor we can give.

Do you remember how Noah’s one son mocked his father’s failures and received a curse?  The other sons averted their eyes and covered their father with a blanket.  Parents err.  As adults we must choose not to gaze on the failures but on the covering of Christ who makes all things new.

Embrace your legacy and pass it on with even more blessings!


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