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Monday, April 21, 2014

Children and Aged Parents

By R.W. McAlister

      What a shame that so many today have a glaring disrespect for the elderly, including parents. Today’s generations need to learn more perfectly the will of the Lord regarding respect for parents. Proverbs 30:11, "There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother." This could be said of many in our time. Paul writes in Eph. 6:2: “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”
      The focus of this brief article is, as the title indicates, not the relationship between young children and parents, but grown children and older parents. We must honor our parents, regardless of our - or their - age.
      Included in showing honor is to speak kindly of them, doing things for their well being. “Disobedient to parents" was a mark of the wicked Gentiles (Romans 1:30; II Tim. 3:2).
      Honoring parents includes caring for them in their time of need. Proverbs 23:22, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” Natural affection, and especially the love of Christ (Jn 13:34-35) would have us care for those who cared for us. Who has cared for us more than mother and father?
      First Timothy 5:8 reads, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel."
      What many seemingly have forgotten is that duty to parents does not end with childhood days at home with mom and dad. Christ rebuked some adults who dishonored their parents when their parents were dependent on them (Matthew 15:1-9). They were giving to God, but neglecting the care and provision of their parents, which was also commanded by God. Christ condemned such inconsistency and accused them of making God’s Word null and void and displacing the commandments of God to follow their own traditions.
      Surely, parents who have devoted much of their lives to the benefit of their children shouldn't be cast aside when they grow old. This smacks more of paganism and heathenism than Christianity. We set aside a command of God to fail to provide care for their needs in their hour of need.
      Honoring parents means to give them respect and special consideration (Ephesians 6:2). Children can bring joy and gladness to their parents, or they can bring reproach, sorrow and despair. How can people so live as to hurt their parents who cared for them when they were small? Sometimes, the excuse is that the parent wasn't a very good one, perhaps showing favoritism, or being manipulative, or one of any number of things. Listen, parents sometimes make bad mistakes - I've made plenty of mistakes with my 3 children, but would God have us to always be unforgiving and "punish" them by being openly rude or cutting off all communication with them? Remember the words of Jesus in Matt. 6:14-15: “…if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
      We must always manifest a forgiving spirit to any who may have wronged us. Parents aren’t always perfect, and will make mistakes – sometimes very serious and damaging ones. Let us manifest the forgiving spirit of Christ, who cried out from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
      Proverbs 23: 24 & 25 "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice, and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice." If both or either of your parents is still alive, how is your relationship with one or both? Is there a need to improve upon it? The future is uncertain as there is no promise of another day (Jas. 4:13-15). Give it some thought.

 - R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/


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