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“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Ephesians 6:2).

God doesn’t stutter or mince words.  He says what He means and means what He says.  There are no hidden meanings in “honor thy father and thy mother.”  It is crystal clear; it means “Honor your father and your mother”!


When God gave Moses this commandment, He was looking ahead when the Hebrews would eventually settle in Canaan, the land God promised them, a land that was inhabited by peoples who did not honor God.  A population who worshipped gods of nature, of wood, stone or metal.  God’s people were being prepared by obeying the Ten Commandments to worship Him only; He would be their God and they would be His people.  He was preparing them for cohesion of their families for long-term occupation.


The first four commandments had to do with their relationship with God; the next six had to do with their relationship with each other, and were meant to keep all those relationships pure.  In doing so, they would be blessed by God in everything they endeavored to do under His guidance and protection.


Are these Commandments still relevant for today and beyond?  They are!  We are still required to keep our relationship with God in good condition as well as our interpersonal relationships with each other.  Not only does God expect it, it is profitable for us to do so.


While everything God has told us to do is important, we are going to look at honoring our fathers on this Father’s Day season.  We acknowledge God as our Heavenly Father.  God could have chosen other terms for us to refer to His relationship to us; it could have been Master, King, Ruler, President, etc.  He is all of those, but He chose “Father”; because we would understand the meaning, the intimacy of Father to child. 

It is essential for the “child of God” to recognize that our Heavenly Father loves us beyond our scope of understanding.  He gave His only Begotten Son to redeem us.  He loves us with an everlasting love.


He gave us earthly fathers because we needed to be loved and nurtured here on earth by them in the same sense that we are loved and nurtured by Father God in a way that only He can fulfill. 

How long are we to keep the commandment to “honor our fathers”?  Until we reach 18 years of age?  21 years of age?  Or perhaps as long as we live?  Upon examination of the verses in Exodus and Ephesians above, I see no time limit; no cut-off date.   The depth of God’s purpose is more than obedience by coercion.  It is more than just being “dutiful.”  He meant for it to be relational; coming from mutual love and respect: father to child and child to father.  It is to be patterned after God’s relationship with His children.  He has never “winked” at rebellion!  It has always been a serious offense to Him.


How sad when grownup children hold some sort of grudge against their parents for real or imagined slights or prejudices.  What if fathers remembered every time we were disobedient or downright rebellious and decided we were not worthy of their love?—when we screamed our way through the “terrible twos” and most of the words we uttered were “NO!”  The stress we created while attempting to find out who we were during the teen years was trying on dad’s nerves and sanity.  Love got him through those tantrums and rebellion just because he loved us, not because we deserved it.  (Isn’t that like our Heavenly Father, so loving and forgiving!)

Is it time to apologize to Dad and just show love and appreciation?

Reality is that some fathers are derelict in their duty.  We could make a list of possible “whys,” but that would not absolve us from obeying God’s command.  If fathers do not fulfill their responsibilities to nurture children to well-adjusted youths and adults, they will be held accountable to God; it isn’t up to us to punish them.  It is to our good health, mental and physical, to love and honor the “disobedient father” anyhow.  Resentment chews away at our insides like a cancer and is very destructive, affecting other innocent relationships.  God had a reason to demand that we honor our fathers; it was not just for their benefit; it was for ours, maybe even more so.


By no means does this mean children or adults should put themselves in peril of a violent father!  God doesn’t require that, but the “normal” home has its share of father/child disagreements and can be weathered lovingly when we do it God’s way.

Children obey your parents (Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20)


Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4)

Both of these admonitions require love and patience. 

The Lord would be so pleased if a father guided his house by the Word of God and taught his children to adhere to its teachings.  The family is in trouble in America, and the core reason is that we have forgotten to consult the “Manual” – the Bible.  Can we turn it around?  Sure we can if we will go back to our Christian roots and do it God’s way.


It’s not too late to honor a father that we have previously shunned or slighted.  It’s not too late to repent of rebellion and wipe the slate clean for a fresh new start.  It might be overdue.  If the relationship is healthy, thank God and thank your father! There will come a time when it won’t be possible.  I would love to be able to reaffirm my love and appreciation to my father; but unless God tells him, he won’t know this year nor the previous years since he left us.


If our fathers are not available, we can live our lives in such a way to honor his memory.  We can have the satisfaction of knowing that dad would be proud of the way we turned out.   That would not only please him if he knew, it would bring blessings from our Heavenly Father.  It is His will that we obey the command to “honor your father.”  It comes with a blessing! 


I am blessed to have had a father who loved me, loved his family.  Perfect? –no, and a good thing or he would have had to get rid of his imperfect children to maintain his perfection.

I love you Daddy!  I miss your twinkling eyes when you smiled. See you later.


Happy Father's Day to every father, however you got the title; it's an honorable position!


My dad’s pages

Shoe Cobbler’s Daughter

Daddy’s Autobiography







Picture Courtesy of George Kovach

@ There's Good News June 2010


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