Monday, June 15, 2020
We will get back to our study of the Gospel of John next week, but for this week, as we lead up to Father’s Day on Sunday, let’s focus on dads.
Let’s start with the word “honor.” When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, this was number five:
Exodus 20:12. “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Jesus uses this commandment to answer a question the Pharisees asked Him in an attempt to discredit His disciples for not obeying the law. Jesus said, “Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your traditions? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother.”
So what were the religious leaders doing that was considered breaking the commandment? Jesus explains. “You say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.”
Think about this. In the name of religious tradition, the Pharisees were claiming the right to break the law of God. If they declared their resources to be committed to God, they thought they were excluded from honoring their parents by caring for their financial needs. The problem is that these were religious leaders, and they knew they would personally benefit from committing their resources to God. In essence they were giving to themselves and not providing for their parents. Jesus shouts at them. “You hypocrites.” The very people who should be trusted to uphold the law were looking for loopholes in it so they could advance themselves over others. That is not what it means to honor someone.
Honoring others means to place their welfare ahead of your own, and to consider their needs ahead of your own. When you honor someone, you exalt them ahead of yourself. God’s command is to treat our parents that way.
But pastor, you don’t know what my father did. He’s is not worthy of honor. Well let me ask you, your Heavenly Father knows everything you have done, so should he stop honoring you as His son? I don’t see in God’s command, or in Christ’s affirmation of the command, or in the Apostle Paul’s application of the command in Ephesians 6:2, a loophole for dad’s who aren’t worthy of honor. Instead, I see the love of Jesus filling us with the ability to honor those who have acted dishonorably.
If your dad is still alive, honor him, even if he has been dishonorable. Treat him with respect, even if he is disrespectful. Love him, even if he acts unlovingly. That’s how our Heavenly Father treats us.