Honor Your Father and Mother

(For my mom’s 60th birthday)

A child’s first two decades of life is a time of dependence on their parents.  Out of an indwelling love, parents give and sacrifice much for their children during those years and their children aren’t asked for anything in return.  This seems like a very one sided relationship, however, children are not off the hook.  The bible highlights the right response that children are to have to this sacrificial love and care that parents provide: Honor your father and mother.  How does a child honor their father and mother?  It does not mean obey your father and mother.  The Hebrew word translated here as “honor” is in the bible over one hundred times and it is never translated as “obey”.  Instead, it is translated into words such as “glorify” and in this case “honor”.

To honor my father and mother means to understand the gift I’ve been given and respond accordingly.  To be grateful that I have been fearfully and wonderfully made; that I didn’t exist but was brought into this world by them.  This is an impossible thing for any child to do for themselves and there must be honor, glory, and gratitude towards the parents who brought it about.  If at Christmas time children thank Santa for putting candy in their stockings, do I have no one to thank for putting two feet in mine?

Mom, you have given me a gift that is beyond expression, and I honor you for that.  And you didn’t stop at just giving me life.  You have spent your life, continuing to pour into me your wisdom, your values, and your heart, never for your sake, but for mine.  By your example I have a beautiful opportunity before me to love and lead my son in the ways you have done for me.  One day, he will learn what it means to honor his father and mother, and in his life you will see a reflection of the gift you have given me.  Thank you for blessing those who are present and those who are to come.

Happy birthday mom. I love you.

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