Sunday, February 4, 2024

Parental Honor: Care

By Clifton Angel

    “Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2–3). Parental honor requires that children comply (Ephesians 6:1), credit (Proverbs 1:8), commend (Proverbs 10:1), and, finally and prominently, care.
    Care. Our former three thoughts certainly are ways in which one can bring honor to his father and mother and are necessary principles to follow. However, it is this final thought which fully reveals the meaning of God’s commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” It has to do with “repaying” our parents for the care they provided us as children. As time progresses and bodies decay, parents may require assistance from their children—financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). Remember, the principle command is now binding also under the law of Christ (cf. Ephesians 6:2–3). Far too many have neglected this binding also under the law of Christ (cf. Ephesians 6:2–3). Far too many have neglected this serious command. “Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer” (Proverbs 28:24). In his instruction for the church’s guidelines to providing for widows in need, Paul wrote to Timothy, “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God ... 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” (1 Timothy 5:4, 8). Also, it is written, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother” (Proverbs 30:11). One such generation lived during the days of Jesus. Reading Matthew 15:1–9 adds to the numerous ways in which the Pharisees mutilated God’s law given them by Moses. Some of the religious elites made it their tradition that if one designated a financial gift to God (“Corban,” cf. Mark 7:1–13), it would excuse them from having to provide financially for their parents in need. Thereby, in their minds, they did not violate the law of Moses (this is the definition of being self-righteous—self-fabricated righteousness, not according to God’s word, cf. Matthew 5:20). Jesus said to them, “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:7–9, ASV).
    Compliance, accreditation, and commendation are pertinent methods of showing honor to godly fathers and mothers; however, it is the care afforded them in their times of need that fulfills God’s command, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” May we honor our parents, and foremost, may we honor our God (cf. Revelation 4:11).

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

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