This is the fifth part in the Beyond Today Bible study series: The Ten Commandments. Exactly what does it mean to honor parents? How can parents teach their children to honor them? In this Beyond Today Bible study we’ll show how parents must honor God to teach honor to children and explore how children show honor. We’ll also answer the difficult question of how can I honor a parent who was abusive?
[Gary Petty] It’s interesting to go through this series of the Ten Commandments. In fact, back in my church area, we’ve been going through the Ten Commandments because there was an interest in doing that there as a series of sermons. And so we started the sermons before we started the Bible studies here as we go through those, and then here we ended up doing the same subject here.
When we look at the Ten Commandments, we would often say that the first four commandments are God’s instructions on how to relate to Him. And then we have the last six on how to relate to each other. Actually, the tenth one is about yourself internally, but it also has to do with how you relate to your neighbor and coveting. So this is all about relationships—how we relate to God, how we relate to each other.
There are two of the Ten Commandments that are very important in determining marriage and family: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” obviously declares marriage to be holy, right? I mean when you read, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” you realize that the only proper use of the sexual relationship was within marriage between a husband and a wife. And so we see that marriage is a holy institution.
Then we get to this fifth commandment, which talks about honoring your father and your mother. Now, understand, honoring your father and your mother makes parenthood holy. Just as marriage is ordained by God, parenthood is ordained by God. That’s why, when we live in a society where parenthood, the whole ideas of biblical parenthood, are being thrown out. Just like marriage is being thrown out because there is not an understanding of what is holy. But parents, as parents, if you’re a parent, if you’re a grandparent—this applies to grandparents, too, there’s a generational concept about parenting in the Scripture—then we have to understand that our job as parents is ordained by God and therefore has holy commandments attached to it.
And this one, we look at it and we say, “Okay, the command is for children to honor their parents.” Well, Paul talks about this very commandment in Ephesians 6. So let’s start in Ephesians chapter 6, in the New Testament. He quotes this fifth of the commandments. Verse 1 of Ephesians 6, he says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you that you may live long on the earth.”
It’s interesting about the fifth commandment. There is a benefit statement attached to it. “Thou shalt not steal,” makes sense if you don’t want other people stealing your property. But honoring your parents, there had to be an explanation, and God says when you honor your parents, it will be well with you. You will be happier. Your life will be better. So you think, “Okay, what we need to do now is have a study on how to make children honor me as a parent.” Well, actually, when I gave this sermon on this subject in Nashville, I gave it in two parts. The second part was to children and teenagers. The first part was to parents. They go, “Wait a minute, we need to talk about getting my children to honor me.” And how many times as a parent have you felt like, “Oh, why can’t I get my children to honor me?” And as a parent, you yell at them, you discipline them, you do all these things you’re supposed to do. You put all this effort in to making sure they’re clothed and you try to love them and you try to feed them. And why aren’t they honoring me? So let’s give some keys to make these kids honor me.
Well, it’s not that simple. Honoring your mother and your father has to be commanded by God because, with corrupted human nature, it’s not normal. Once Satan gets a hold of us, honoring parents is not a normal activity. And so what we have to do is realize that in order to have children honor us, we must teach it. That’s what I actually want to cover this evening. I want to cover how as parents we teach children to honor us, and if you’re a grandparent, it applies the same way. As grandparents, how do you teach children to honor their parents? So this is only indirectly dealing with honoring your parents as far as talking to a child. It is directly talking to us, as parents and grandparents, how we teach it because the greatest way children will learn to honor is through you, the parent. We are the example by which they learn how to honor us and how to honor others. First step, we’re going to go through a number of basic rules of how we can teach children honor, how to teach children to do this commandment, as parents, as grandparents.
First of all, parents teach children honor when the parents honor God. And this is the center of what we’re going to talk about. This commandment comes number five in the list for a reason. It begins with learning to obey God. The first four are about how we worship God. Why would number five be honor your parents, when shouldn’t it be “thou shalt not murder”? I mean that seems like the top of the list as far as commandments for human beings, but it’s not. It’s about honoring your parents because it’s through teaching children to honor and what that actually means, that they learn to honor God. The first four commandments are passed on through generations through parents. And then the next commandments have meaning.
The fifth commandment is a link between the first four and the last five. To honor someone means to hold them in high esteem. It means to say that they are important, and therefore I shall show them respect. So to honor a parent means that parent is very important to me, and therefore I will show respect to that parent. But all honor begins in how you and I, as parents, honor God. When you and I honor God, we teach children the concept of honor. When you and I say we keep the Sabbath but don’t, when you and I use God’s name in vain all the time, when you and I dishonor each other, when you and I show our example to our children, that’s what they learn. Children who see their parents honor God learn what honor is.
So if you want to start teaching children honor, you say, “Well, the first thing I need to do is spank them.” No, the first thing you need to do is make them see and follow your example that God is the center of your home, you have a God-centric home. And that what God teaches comes first. You’re in a God-centric home where what God teaches comes first—principle comes first, virtue comes first. Now, here’s what happens. As human beings, instead of creating a God-centric home where the whole purpose of the family is to honor God, we create two other kinds of homes.
One is a parent-centric home where the whole purpose of the home is to honor the parents so that the parents and the children are in a constant warfare. “You will honor me.” So you’re in a constant warfare. It’s a constant battle of wills, of forcing honor on the children in which there’s a lot of anger. In which, sometimes the parents resent the children. They resent them because “the purpose for this family is for me to be honored.” Now, it is true that they are commanded to honor you. And by the way, since it is a holy position, God created parenthood and said, “This is holy. I’m commanding it,” you have the right to demand honor. But how you demand honor is very important. If the whole purpose of your home is for them to honor you, you will create a barrier between you and your children that you’ll pay for when they become adults.
And one of the ways you know if you’re in a parent-centric home is whenever you react to your children to punish them or correct them, you’re always doing it in frustration and anger. In other words, when the principle came up, you didn’t react; you react finally when you’re driven to, “You’re going to do what I say. You’re going to honor me. You’re going to obey me.” And at this point, the central point is not the principle. The central point is what? “I am the center of the family and you will honor me.” And that’s why I said there are times when you have to make children honor you, but if that’s that battle all the time, you’re already losing something. So we have to create a God-centric family.
The other thing we do—and this is what’s real common in the United States today—people create child-centric families. You want to destroy your children’s lives? Make them the center of the family. They will learn to be selfish, controlling people. You can never let them come between you as a couple, and you can never let them come between you and God, and they have to know that, right? They have to know that. I wish I had a dollar for every time one of my children, when they were little, would come up and say, “Daddy, daddy, we’ve got to make a decision. Can we do this? Can we go over somebody’s house?” I’m always, “Did you talk to your mother?” [exaggerated sigh] “Oh, what did she say?” “Talk to you.” “Okay, she and I will talk about it.” “But Dad, I got to know in the next two minutes.” “Well then, I guess you’re not going to because I haven’t gotten to talk to her about it.” [exaggerated sigh]
Well, we talked. It worked out most of the time. But the point is they cannot, it cannot be a child-centric family. You know what they’ll do? They’ll play the two of you against each other. They learn how to do that and they get good at it, too. And they will not see God as a father; they’ll see God as someone who’s manipulating them, and they have to try to get around what He’s doing. Don’t create a child-centric home. But don’t create a parent-centric home either. We have to create a God-centric home. What happens when we create a parent- or child-centric home? What happens is we dishonor God. Whenever we create…and we don’t do this on purpose, but we’re actually dishonoring God. When we create a parent-centric home, or a child-centric home instead of a God-centric home, what we do is we dishonor God.
You know, there is somebody in the Bible who’s a perfect example of that. Let’s go to 1 Samuel 2. Eli was the high priest. 1 Samuel 2. Eli’s sons were allowed to do whatever they wanted. He wouldn’t correct them. “Well, I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” How many times have people said, “Well, I don’t want to correct my children, I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I want them to like me.” Well, then you’re a parent-centric home. The good of the child is not the issue; them liking you is the issue. Understand what you’re saying when you say that. “I can’t tell them that. They won’t like me.” So what is this? It’s the central issue of your house. “I want my children to like me.”
So now you have children whose purpose is to fulfill your needs. That’s not going to work out very well. “Their purpose is to fulfill my needs.” Well then, it’s a parent-centric home because the truth is raising children is spending 20 years of your life preparing them to leave you, right? And function. Spending 20 years of your life to kick them out so they can do well. You push them out of the nest so that they can function. That’s the purpose of parenting. If they’re there to fulfill your needs, your parenting is going to collapse. So it has to be God-centric.
Eli, for whatever reason, would not deal with his sons, and his sons grew into men. And now they abuse their position as priests of God. And look what God finally says to him, 1 Samuel 2:27 1 Samuel 2:27And there came a man of God to Eli, and said to him, Thus said the LORD, Did I plainly appear to the house of your father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
American King James Version×: “Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, offer upon My altar to burn incense and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? Why do you kick at My sanctuary and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than me?’”
God told Eli his sons would die now. Why? He honored his children more than he honored God. The first thing we do in teaching children honor is we honor God. When they see hypocrisy in us, they learn to dishonor God, and they will dishonor us. So it’s the first step we must take.
Now, the second is—and this gets pretty personal after a while, how we teach children honor—because the second thing we can do to teach children honor is… “Oh, good. Now, we’re going to sit them down and we’re going to teach them and we’re going to really get them straightened out.” No, the second thing you do is that you show honor to each other as husband and wife. In a daily, practical sense, this may be the most important thing you could do in teaching children how to honor you, is you honor each other.
Let’s go to 1 Peter 3. Now, how many times have you heard 1 Peter 3 in terms of how a husband and wife should interact with each other? I would look at 1 Peter 3 in terms of teaching children to honor. 1 Peter 3:1 1 Peter 3:1Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
American King James Version×: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands that even if some do not obey the Word, they without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
Now, think about that. Let’s take the principle here. Peter says, “Wives, even if your husband is not a believer, you be a good wife so that maybe, by your conduct, that person will respond to God.” This isn’t, “Be a good wife because you’re weak.” It’s the exact opposite: “Be a good wife because you’re stronger.” In this case He’s expecting the wife to be stronger than the husband. He’s a non-believer, he’s a non-believer. “You be so strong that you’re a good wife even though he’s a bad husband or an unbelieving husband who doesn’t follow God.”
Now, take that principle and apply it to your children. How does your conduct, as mother, affect your children’s concept of honor if you yell at your husband all the time, if you put him down all the time, if you argue with him all the time, if you resist him all the time? You don’t think they see that? How do they now define honor? The number one way children learn anything, especially the small ones, is they imitate the adults they see. And so when wives dishonor their husband, they teach their children dishonor, and guess who they will dishonor someday? You.
Verse 7. He says, “Husbands, likewise,” talking about now how you deal with your wife, “dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife.” Giving honor, holding her up as really valuable—her opinion, her feelings count, understanding her matters—because look to what he says next, “Dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.”
I just gave this, I read this at my son’s wedding just recently, less than two weeks ago. And when I got to this point, I looked at him and said, “Understand what He’s telling you here because I’ve had to learn this through my own experience and you will, too. This is God’s daughter. You’re married to God’s daughter. Now, I want you to think about, if some guy, if your daughter went out on a date and she comes home and she says, ‘All he did was yell at me and put me down and slap me around.’ What would you do as a man?”
Would we put up with our daughter being treated that way? No. God says you honor her, you hold her up. Our children must see you, I, honor our wives. And when my grandkids are around and they’re climbing on the couch, I walk over and say, “That’s grandma’s couch. You get off of it or you’re going to deal with me.” So they scamper off because grandma could come out and say, “Get off my couch,” and they’ll do it for 30 seconds, and they’ll climb back on the couch. “Uh-uh, that’s grandma’s. No, grandma is mine. You don’t mess with grandma’s couch, okay?” We must honor them because if you don’t, men, you will sow the dishonor that you will receive from your children later on. We receive it back.
“With understanding.” That’s really hard. Women are not easy to understand. “That your prayers be not hindered.” Now, God doesn’t tell women that. I find that interesting. God doesn’t tell women that, but He tells us. “You treat her poorly, then your issue is with Me.” As I’ve told my son, I said, “You know, there are times that God doesn’t listen to my prayers and I’ve noted because I’ve treated your mom wrong.” We have to realize God holds this issue of honor between husband and wife as being very important. And it is how children learn honor.
Now, children have to learn their parents aren’t perfect. Nobody has perfect parents. When I gave the second half of this and I talk to children, I just said, “Okay, nobody has had perfect parents, even Jesus.” Then we went through how Jesus at age 12 was subject to His parents. So you can’t say imperfect parents is a reason for not having to honor them since Jesus honored His parents and they weren’t perfect, and He was the perfect 12-year-old, by the way. There has never been another 12-year-old that was perfect. He was. So He leaves children an example, too.
The third point, now this one I’m going to have to explain a little bit so you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. We teach children honor by honoring them. Now, I don’t mean that you get into this self-esteem concept where you just keep telling them, “You’re so wonderful, you’re so good,” and their performance doesn’t matter, their behavior doesn’t matter. Yeah, it does. And sometimes they’re wrong, and children need to be told when they’re wrong. They need to be corrected. But what I’m saying is we teach them honor by letting them know they are really, really important to you. You hold them up and say, “You are valuable to me.”
You know, when kids see Dad go to work and sometimes come home exhausted and Mom says, “He does this for you,” they learn honor. They learn honor because they say, “Wow, I must be important.” You hold them up as important, or don’t have them. Don’t have children if we’re not going to do this, okay? If we’re just going to have children and farm them out, then we shouldn’t have children. I know people get upset with me for saying that but just to have children so other people can raise them so we could say, “Oh, I’ve had the experience of having a child,” and then you let somebody else raise them, don’t have them because parenthood is holy, ordained by God, one of the Ten Commandments. So parenthood is really important.
And how in the world do those children learn to honor you if you’re not holding them up as important to you? So we learn by honoring them. Let’s go back to Ephesians again, Ephesians 6, because Paul’s discussion here in this commandment and the first two verses doesn’t end there. The first three verses of Ephesians 6 is: “Children, obey your parents,” which by the way, honoring parents and obedience are connected. You can’t say, “I’m honoring my parents but I disobey them.” But verse 4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
As fathers, you have… and mothers also, but He speaks to the fathers here specifically because of something we can do as fathers. We can create very angry children. You know why? They need us to do this. They need us to bring them up. It says, in what? “The training and admonition of the Lord,” to teach them God’s way. To teach them to honor God, that we hold them up in high honor. We honor them enough to expect them to obey. We honor them enough to expect them to obey. They have value and they’re expected to act as honorable people. And when they don’t, there’s a penalty to pay. That’s honor.
I don’t know about you, but the worst thing my dad could do to me was say he was disappointed in me. I’d rather he beat me, right? Why? Because I was dishonored. I’d acted dishonorably and he was disappointed. It says, “don’t provoke them to wrath,” and here’s how we could do that—by being negative. All we bring out is when they’re wrong. We only interact with our children when they’re wrong. This is why, ladies, it’s not good to say, “Wait until your father gets home.” And there might be occasions you need to do that, especially with a 15-year-old boy, but when you do that all the time, when Dad comes home, they’re not going to be running up saying, “Daddy, Daddy.” They’re going to be hiding some place. We provoke them to wrath and we could do that so easily as men.
My wife would say that to me. “You just made him angry, or you made the kids angry.” We can provoke them to wrath. Now sometimes, they’re being angry because they’re being stubborn in which, okay, you’ve got to be more stubborn. You’ve got to be harder than they are sometimes. But if all we do is the negative, “you’re wrong, you’re bad,” we never bring out the good. We raise angry people, angry people who are always concerned with not doing bad. But they’re not concerned with doing right. We can teach children to hate sin, but we must also teach them to love good. If we teach them only to hate sin, they become frustrated and angry. They must learn to love goodness, to love good, to love virtue, to like it, to want it.
And that means we have to teach them sometimes that the reason I’m… or all the time, the reason I’m doing this is because the natural consequences of your actions could be horrible and I’m trying to keep you from that pain. And they may not believe it then, but how many times… I wish I had a dollar for every time a parent’s come to me and said, “You know what? My kid reached 21 and came home and said, ‘Thank you, you kept me out of a lot of trouble.’” We must help them understand, and that means sometimes we watch them do something wrong and then we sit down and we say, “Didn’t work, did it?” Now, what we want to do is beat the living daylights out of them and I’m… this may get me trouble going out on the internet, but I’m all for corporal punishment in the right time. Why? If my two-year-old’s going to run out and get hit by a car, my two-year-old grandson, will get a spanking from me. Yes. “Oh, you cruel man.” No, I want him to be alive. I want him to grow up happy. I don’t want him to be squashed by a car. We’re weighing consequences here and we have to teach them to learn to weigh consequences.
One time, this was years ago, I took a group of teenagers to Custer State Park in South Dakota. How many of you have ever been there? Okay, one. I think, well, two. I imagine your husband was with you. South Dakota, Custer State Park is amazing place. I mean there’s herds of buffalo. It’s just an amazing place to go.
We were camping, and I had to leave the camp for a little bit. I drove off, I go to the camp store or something, and we were out in the middle of nowhere. And I drove back and some parents came up to me just angry, some of the adult chaperones. And they said, “What are you going to do with those boys?” Now, I didn’t even know what had happened. I said, “I don’t know. Tell me what happened first.” “You need to punish them.” “Okay, okay. What happened?” Well, there was the outhouse and three 14-, 15-year-old boys, they got a rock, a very heavy rock just the size of the hole in the outhouse. And being 15-year-old boys, boys don’t reason out everything. It always seems like a good idea at the time. They wanted to see what happened if they drop that big, heavy rock through the hole of the outhouse. So the three walked over, carrying this big rock and dropped it, and then did this.
I get the door full open, the three of them come out running, screaming at the top of their voices and all three ran out and jump in the lake. And all the girls saw them do this. And they said, “What are you going to do to them?” And I said, “What more could I do to them than they’ve already done? I can’t do anything worse to them than that.” So I got these instructions how I, as the pastor, needed to go over and just punish them and deal with it. I get them off alone, away from everybody else. I said, “Guys, I want you to look really scared as I talk to you right now, look like I’m really being serious, but what in the world motivated you to do that?” “I don’t know! It seemed like a good idea at the time.” “What does this teach us?” I said, “It teaches us physics. For every action, there’s an opposite reaction. Haven’t you learned that in school?” “Yes.” “Well, it applies to outhouses, too.”
We talked about that for a while. That applies to everything in life. That was my…later, “Did you punish them? And did you straighten them out?” “Yeah, I sure did. Yeah.” Sometimes our role… see, we’re trying to teach them how life works and we teach them the specific things, how life works and how it doesn’t work. And when things don’t work, sometimes we’re given this unique opportunity instead of being angry. I mean you may be angry, you may be upset, but instead of just punishing, just sit down and say, “Why didn’t that work? And let me explain to you why it doesn’t work.” We’re trying to teach them, and this is where we’re honoring them.
Honoring them expects obedience, but it also doesn’t just want people who hate sin. We want people who love goodness, who love virtue, who love God’s way or we’re just a bunch of negative, angry people. That’s why He says, “Fathers, you’ll just make them angry.” And you know what? I’ve counseled dozens of people who are adults, who want to come in and talk about how they’re angry with their parents. “I’m 40 years old, I’m still angry with my parents.” It’s very sad.
So what do we do? You know what? I won’t go there, but in 1 Thessalonians, it talks about sexuality. We have to be very careful, too. It says that we are to… well, let’s turn there, 1 Thessalonians because I want to look at how Paul says it. It’s 1 Thessalonians 4. We can teach because we know of the harmful effects of the misuse of human sexuality that God gave us. We can teach children to be sexually guilty or to feel that all sex is dirty. Or to fall into this trap, “Well, I messed up once so I’m a damaged person so it doesn’t matter. I might as well just go with everybody I find now.” I’ve listened to that argument. I’ve listened to that argument. “Why did I try to commit suicide? Well, I messed up once. I’m damaged. No man will ever want me when I grow up, so the football team would…” The whole football team.
Or we get them where…the other extreme is they just feel dirty about all kinds of… every aspect of sex. Human sexuality was created by God for a very specific thing and it’s very honorable, right? 1 Thessalonians 4:3 1 Thessalonians 4:3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:
American King James Version×. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality.” So we need to teach them to abstain from sexual immorality. “That each of you should know how to possess his own vessel or his own body in sanctification (or holiness) and honor.”
In other words, we need to teach our children to honor their bodies. Instead, we teach the negative, the negative, the negative. The negative, the negative. Every teen Bible study could be on “Don’t commit fornication.” And as parents, we can either avoid the subject because it’s embarrassing to us or we can do only the negative again, instead of saying, “There’s something honorable and good in your sexuality, but it has to be used in the way that God designed you to be used.” Who are we honoring when we say that? God? Who are we honoring when we say that? The child? Who do they honor when they do that? You, right? They honor you when they get that.
The fourth point, parents teach children honor by honoring their own parents. For some of us, that was very easy. For me, honoring my parents was easy. I had good parents, not perfect. There’s no perfect parents. I had good parents; it was easy. Many of you or some of you honoring your parents is not easy. So you say, “I will not honor my parents.” This is a big subject and I can’t go into it now, but here’s something that’s very important to remember when you have children or you have grandchildren. You are required to at least show some kind of honor to a parent, even if that parent was a bad parent. Now, I’m not saying you’re required to have a relationship with them.
I’ll just give you an example. It’s one thing we do, we talk to people who were sexually abused or just physically abused or emotionally abused as a child. Okay, you haven’t talked to your mother and your father for 10 years. At least send them a card on Mother and Father’s Day. “I can’t do that. All the cards say ‘I love you.’ They didn’t love me.” “I didn’t say buy a card that says ‘I love you’ or you love them. Send them a card and say ‘Thank you for bringing me into this world.’” “Well, I don’t want to have a… ” “I didn’t say have a relationship. I’m saying show them honor.” “Well, they won’t care.” “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t say honor your parents if they care. It just says to do it. When you do that, you’re honoring God.”
When you honor your parent who is unworthy of honor, you’re honoring God. And this is an important point of honor. Sometimes you honor somebody that is unworthy in order to honor God. So there are times when you must do that. You must… they say, “Well, I can’t do that. My dad sexually abused me and I won’t take the kids over there…” Don’t take the kids over there. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying acknowledge that that person brought you into this world and for that, you thank them. That’s all you have to do. It changes you. It may not change them, but it changes you because you’ve done the right thing. You’ve done the Fifth Commandment even when that person is unworthy of honor. You did the right thing.
It’s amazing how many times, as our parents get older, for people who are abused, you know what you really want? You want them to come say they’re sorry so you can at least have some relationship with them before they die. That happens all the time. “If they just say they were sorry, if they just acknowledge what they did to me…” There are people who won’t acknowledge it. “No, I never used to beat you black and blue. No, I never broke your arms. No, I never did that.” “Well, I can’t have a relationship with you.” But you want it. We all have a built-in need to be loved by our parents, and it’s so hard when they don’t. So we say, “I refuse to honor you because you don’t love me.” No, you thank them for bringing you into the world because if you don’t, you know what you do? You harbor anger and resentment. And if you harbor anger and resentment against your parents, it will come out in the way you treat your children and your grandchildren, or at least your husband and wife.
I’m going to read to you a perfect example of this. It’s a true story, the name was changed. It’s from a book, “The Gift of Honor” written by Gary Smalley. It gives us an example of what happens when we hold in resentment because of what our parents have done to us. And it’s hard not to. If you weren’t loved and appreciated and held up in honor and supported by your parents, you carry that. But understand the longer you carry that, the more it comes out in other relationships. Sometimes we will recommend people don’t get married because maybe one of them is harboring such resentment against the parent or parents, they’ll take it out on the person they marry.
Listen to this. “Dana’s father was an alcoholic and never financially supported the family. Dana’s mother had to work full-time. Dana could never have friends over because of fear of what her father might do. Her first marriage ended after two years of fighting and criticism and trying to deal with her husband’s alcohol problem. We tend to marry somebody like our own parent. Her second marriage was on the rocks when she finally sought help. The problem was that Dana’s hatred for her father was causing her to relive her anger and resentment in all of her other relationships.” How did he come to that conclusion? Well, let’s listen to her words, okay? These are her words.
Dana told a counselor, “Deep down inside all my life, I have thought that men were nothing but sleazeballs.” This is her words. “I couldn’t even enjoy my husband holding me because he reminded me of my father. I even resented the fact that God gave me two boys and no girls. I want to be close to my husband and my children, and I want to be close to God but I know that because I view them as men, I don’t really trust them.”
Now, I want you to think about this. She dishonored God because He appears in a masculine form in the Scripture. She dishonored her husband because why? Because she hated her father. And notice she was angry because she had two boys and no girls. How do you think she treated those boys? What do you think those boys are going to turn out? How do you think they would honor her? How do you think they would probably treat the wives they marry? Was she doing this because she’s just an evil person who wanted to destroy the life of her husband or children? No. It’s because she could not get over the anger and resentment she had towards her father. So how do you obey the Fifth Commandment?
Well, you have to go ask God to heal you. You have to acknowledge that this was done to me, but I can grow beyond this. I move beyond this. And then you show some kind of honor to your father. Now, if he’s dead, you can’t, and people wrestle with that. “I just want to show honor to my father.” You will someday because there’s a resurrection, okay? There is a future for all this. God’s going to give us opportunities to heal a lot of things in the future, so it’s okay. It’s okay. But the important thing is you can’t carry that around. At some point, you at least have to be able to say, “You’re a dishonorable person but I honor you for bringing me into this world. I honor you for that much.” You have to at least do that. And you have to let go of it, or it’ll come out in every other relationship.
You see why God tells fathers, “Don’t provoke them to anger?” Don’t create angry children because you’ll pay for it in the future. They will not honor you. By the way, holding on to anger all the time will destroy your physical health, too. It’ll kill you. We have to let go of that, and God has to help us do that. Especially if you’re a very damaged person. I don’t want to go into this too deeply, but when you talk about honoring your father or your mother, invariably when I talk about this, I have someone come up afterwards and say, “I can’t honor my father and my mother. Here’s what they did to me.” Because they were just terribly abused and hurt. Okay, do an act of honor. It doesn’t say if they’re worthy of it, and it doesn’t say you have to have a relationship. It says do an act of honor.
The fifth point, parents teach children honor by showing respect to other human beings. It’s our last point. Parents teach children honor by showing respect to other human beings. You know, if your main conversation is just tearing other people down, guess what they will do? Guess what they’ll do? They’ll grow up tearing other people down. It’s like one man told me one time, he said, “Yeah, I have a hard time at church because growing up, the trip home from church was nothing but tearing down the minister, tearing down the messages, tearing down the person who writes the songs, and tearing down everybody in the church. So that’s what I learned about church. So I grew up just thinking, ‘Wow, what a rotten group of people. I don’t want to be part of those group of people,’ because that’s all I heard.” That’s what he heard so that’s what he believed.
We have to show respect to others. Just look at one of the laws in the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:32 Leviticus 19:32You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×. “You shall rise before the grey-headed and honor the presence of an old man and fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Now, this is interesting. God says you honor an older person because you fear God. If you honor God, you honor other people. We show respect to others. Children learn respect when you show respect. One of the greatest things my dad ever taught me about respect was when I was—I don’t know—10, 11, 12, 13, during those years. He would take me… he was an elder in the Church. He would go visit all the elderly people and he took me with him. And he treated them with such respect.
One day, we went to visit an old man. I’ll never forget this. His name was Russell. Russell, and he always took me to see him. I would sit there and listen to them talk, and my dad showed him such respect. As they would get ready to leave, Russell Ruble who must have been 90 years old would get out a little bottle of Sloe gin, which looked like cough syrup. And he would give a little for Dad and a little for him. And I was about 12 years old and he poured some out, and I had been going over and he says, “Well, I think it’s time for him to taste.” “Okay.” So, he, they gave me this little… it tasted like cough syrup, too. But I’ll never forget how proud I was that I get to sip with the men, you know. A little sip of Sloe gin. I guess that’s what it was called. I don’t know. I’ve never had it since. The point is, it was the strangest thing. We went to honor him and there was this point, I felt honored. I felt honored as a man.
We teach children honor by showing honor to others. You know, look at an interesting… this will be our last passage, 1 Timothy 6. Now, let’s apply this to your job because I tell you what: every one of us, unless you’re very, very fortunate, has worked for somebody somewhere along the way who was a dishonorable person, right? We have all been down that road. But sometimes you do what’s right even if the person is dishonorable. They’re paying your paycheck. I don’t mean you do something wrong or illegal or unethical, but I mean, “They pay my paycheck. I’m not going to go around talking about the guy.”
Verse 1: “Let as many bondservants as there are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor.”
Oh, man, but why would you do this? I know people who can’t keep down a job. Ten jobs in 10 years and it’s always because “My boss was not an honorable man. My boss was a bad guy. My boss was unethical so I just quit.” Well, there’s a time you have to quit because they expect you to participate in what’s unethical or because what’s happening is so unethical, you can’t be there. But go out there and find the perfect boss, you’re a fortunate person. But look what it says, so that why? Okay, you go out there and you honor a person you’re working for. Why? You treat them with respect, so “that the name of God and His doctrine be not be blasphemed.”
It’s the same thing about the women submitting to her husband who’s not in the church, that we read earlier. You don’t do this out of weakness; you do this because you’re stronger. My boss told me something. I said, “Yes, sir.” Everybody else was mad, and I went and did what he said to do. I went and did the project even though I knew it wouldn’t work. I told him it wouldn’t work. I went and did it, and then he comes in the next day and he’s all mad because it didn’t work. I’ve been down that road. And everybody else was frustrated, upset, and you say, “You know, you just got to do sometimes what he says to do as long as it’s not against God, you know, not wrong. I know it was stupid, but I told him it wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t listen so I did what he said. It’s his dollar, it’s his time, and he pays me.” Why? So that God’s name not be blasphemed.
You honor because it’s the right thing to do. See, children have to understand. They honor you and you’re not perfect, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s part of your relationship with them. That’s why as a child gets old enough, there are times you may have to say, “I made a bad decision there.” See, we’re afraid to do that as parents. Sometimes you sit down with that 12-year-old and say, “Man, it didn’t work and that’s my fault.” You say, “Well, they won’t honor me.” Well, they’re not going to honor you if you don’t admit it. They know it was a bad decision. And then you say, “Well, I learned from this. Here’s what I learned. And when you become a man, you’ll make mistakes like this and you’ll learn from it because that’s what a man does. Not that he doesn’t make mistakes, he learns from them.” And they’ll learn that because they saw you do it.
So we have five ways in which we can teach children how to obey this commandment. Then we can discuss how do children honor. How do children actually do that? But the real question is how do we teach it? They’re not born with some kind of honor gene. It is taught.
Well, first, parents teach children honor by honoring God. Second, parents teach children honor by honoring each other as husband and wife, and that’s the most practical thing they see. That may be, just on a practical sense, the most important thing they learn about honor. Three, parents teach children honor by honoring their children, by holding them up as important in the right way. Four, parents teach children honor by honoring their own parents. And five, parents teach children honor by honoring other human beings.
When you and I do these things as parents and grandparents, we are honoring God. “Honor your father and mother” comes from the Father. We have to realize that this commandment links all the ones before and the ones after together. This is how you move from honoring God to teaching this is how society works, and it comes from parents. Parents who honor God first, parents who come from a God-centric home and in that home, they teach children to honor them, to honor God and to honor them. And then you could teach the children the other of the commandments.
Well, thanks for coming out tonight. And I guess next time is in two weeks, is it? In two weeks? Peace to you, too, mister. Well, I guess it will be the Sixth Commandment. Have a safe trip home.