Monday, July 30, 2012

Honor Thy Mother and Thy Father!

Whenever people hear this commandment, the first thing they think of is they are supposed to obey their parents. This is, of course, required of children, but there is a greater message here.
That message regards how their parents should be viewed (and treated as such) with great value, such as the price of a precious stone or gem. It also has a deeper meaning of holding and treating parents with high esteem. This is a commandment, not a suggestion, one that (in failure) can actually determine whether one lives a long life or not. To do otherwise, it may also cause an earlier death:
1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition, (Matthew 15:1-6)
The word honor is the Greek verb timao, which means "to honor" (akin to is used in scripture of (a) valuing Christ at a price, Matthew 27:9; (b) "honoring" a person: (c) the "honor" done by Christ to the Father, John 8:49; (d) "honor" bestowed by the Father upon him who serves Christ, John 12:26; (e) the duty of all to "honor" the Son equally with the Father, John 5:23; (f) the duty of children to "honor" their parents, Matthew 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2; (g) the duty of Christians to "honor" the king, and all men, 1 Peter 2:17; (h) the respect and material assistance to be given to widows "that are widows indeed," 1 Timothy 5:3; (i) the "honor" done to Paul and his companions by the inhabitants of Melita, Acts 28:10; (j) that which is denied to God whereby they render Him mere lip profession of "honor" to God, Matthew. 15:8; Mark 7:6.
There are two distinct meanings such as 1) that of great price and value that we view and appraise a precious stone or a gem, and 2) held in high honor, esteemed, especially dear.
This is different than obedience ,where we see the Greek noun, hupakoe, as is used for "obedient (children);" 1 Peter 1:22,  "obedience (to the truth)", "obeying (the truth);" of "obedience" to Christ (objective), 2 Corinthians 10:5; of Christ's "obedience," Romans 5:19 (referring to His death; cp. Philippians 2:8); Hebrews 5:8, which refers to His delighted experience in constant "obedience" to the Father's will (not to be understood in the sense that He learned to obey).
The word obedience is possibly the most disliked word in humanity’s lexicon, especially for children. What many children miss when reading this commandment is the part where it states that failing to do so, can cause sons and daughters problems throughout their lives and even shorten it:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth, (Ephesians 6:1-3, KJV).
We see in the entire 2nd chapter of Titus, a more expanded explanation for the entire family, with special instructions for the woman, and the wives and mothers in a Christian household that defines their conduct. Now, before you get all defensive and play the macho man card:
1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.(Titus 2:1-15 KJV).

It is interesting to note that this group of scripture is the only place in the entire Bible where it speaks about wives are supposed to love their husbands, unlike we see in Ephesians 5, where we are told how much a husband is supposed to love his wife, to the degree he needs to be prepared and willing to even die for her. However, the wife is told that she must always respect her husband:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband
, (Ephesians 5:25-33, KJV).

In this day and age, obviously these instructions (God’s formula) for successful marriages are viewed as “old school” which conjures up much conjecture by wives, such as “Yea! But you don’t know him (the husband) like I do, and I’ll be damned if I will submit to or obey that jerk.”

True! But then no husband is perfect nor is either all wives, which is usually the case because neither is fulfilling the roles God has given both wife and husband. But, I will wager that if a husband is obeying God in this regard, showing his complete and total devotion to his wife, to the degree he is willing to die for her, that any sensible woman has no other response than to at least respect her husband. Too many in the secular world would find this conduct absolutely deplorable in this “liberated” world we live in today, which (unfortunately) is also common among Christian marriages.

Strange as it may seem, nowadays especially, failure to follow these instructions (especially) by those who are deeply involved in ministerial activities, is having a devastating effect. For those husbands and fathers who have been chosen by God to minister to those in his community, they are already entering into this endeavor with one giant strike against them, as we read in scripture, that such a man receives any honor or respect in his hometown, much less is his own household:

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith, (Matthew 13:53-58).
You will notice carefully in the last verse in this important group of scripture, because of their lack of faith (especially in God’s instructions for an effective marriage, and ministry), miracles will be almost non-existence.
I would venture to say that in addition to the negative financial practices rampant among most congregations, this failure to bestow respect and honor to the spiritual leader of the family and his ministry is the main reason why the church, and many Christian marriages, as well, are dying on the vine.

Therefore, we leave you with this small caveat. Turn your lives around and follow God’s formula to insure a strong marriage, but even more important, an effective ministry.
Remember, once Jesus arrives, He will no longer remember your sins. But when it comes time to receive your reward, they will be determined by those works done through the Holy Spirit; and He is taking down names.

Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done, (Revelation 22:12).
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  1. Punchy, pertinent, and to the point. All these can be applied to your great and godly think pieces, Joe Ortiz. And this one, which I just read, is no exception - but it is an exceptional little article. Keep writing!
    Your sister in Christ, Amaranda

  2. Beautiful and meaningful composition, Brother Ortiz. I may be stretching things a bit, but when I look around and read the news it seems as if the Ten Commandments have changed into the Ten Suggestions and are on the way to becoming the Ten Abandonments! Salvador