Dads are special. I have great memories of my dad. He was a steel mill worker who worked the swing shift. He worked hard, but seemed to take a lot of time to spend with us four kids. Every summer he would take his vacation and we would go to Smoky Mountains or Florida and have a great time.
But something happened when I became teenager. I thought I knew more than my dad. It’s not that I didn’t love him anymore. I just didn’t see the value of my dad in my life. I seldom took his advice. And I bristled against his correction. But now that I’m older, I realize the wisdom in honoring my dad.
Throughout the Bible we are commanded to “Honor your parents” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4; Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2). The word ‘honor’ means to value highly, care for, show deep respect for. In Hebrew language ‘honor’ is verb that means ‘heavy.’ The person honored is someone who carries a lot of weight. To dishonor someone is to treat them as light or worthless.
So, I want to share with you three reasons it is important to ‘honor your father.’ I preached this message on Father’s Day 2017.
Your dad knows some things just by the process of living. Children, youth, and young adults can share in this accumulated knowledge and wisdom.
Do you think you will know more in 25 years than you do now? Regardless of your age, if your father is still around, he has already been your age and knows the results of the path you are choosing. You can learn a lot from his successes and mistakes.
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to twenty-one I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain
2 – Honor your dad because disobedience is dangerous.
A father is often the first authority God places in our life. God gives authority figures to guide and discipline us. They guide us into a blessed life and discipline us away from danger.
If we do not learn to respond appropriately to dad’s authority, we will not likely respond well to other authority figures in our lives, even to God’s authority.
Home is the birthplace of self-esteem, respect for authority, and values. If we do not learn these at home, it is unlikely we will learn them anywhere else. Yet, we will be searching for these for the rest of our life in others.
Everybody needs to learn to obey. This is one of the responsibilities of dads – teach children to obey. If dads allow children to rebel and disrespect them, they set them up for disaster in adult life. It is just as important for dads to teach their children the right way (instruction and behavior), as it is for children to accept the discipline and guidance of their father.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:2 that the command to honor your parents comes with a promise of blessing. Why is there a special blessing to this commandment? Because our earthly parents are our first glimpses of God. The way we respond to our parents will dictate our response to our eternal Father throughout our entire life.
Obedience to God gives blessings. All things being equal, those who obey God live a more blessed life than those who do not. So if we want to be blessed in our life, we should learn to honor our parents and honor God.
There is not a perfect parent. But neither are there perfect children. None of us are what we should be. But if we will respond appropriately to our dad, this will set us up to respond appropriately to our Heavenly Father. Just as our dad blesses us when we follow His advice, so our Heavenly Father will bless us when we follow His guidance.
But what about a bad dad? This commandment is difficult for those who have been verbally or physically abused by their parents. To honor an abusive parent does not mean ignoring the mistreatment or in any way saddest that the abuse was justified. Honoring an abusive parent does mean we work toward forgiveness. Allowing the past to pollute the present will lock in the cycle of anger and hatred. Evil is not overcome by evil, but by good (Romans 12:21).
One of my favorite stories is about the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1993, workers were cleaning and found an old photograph behind a display cabinet. It was a stock man in a baseball uniform with the words ‘Sinclair Oil” on the shirt.
Stapled on the picture was a note that read, “You were never too tired to play ball. On your days off, you helped build the Little League field. You always came to watch me play. You were a Hall of Fame dad. I wish I could share this moment with you.”
After some research, they found the man who put it there. it seems the ballplayer in the photo was his late father. He was proud of his dad. so he decided to honor his father by holding his own little ceremony to induct his dad into the Hall of Fame.
I hope you will be the kind of father (or mother) whose children honor you. And I hope you will be the kind of person who will ‘honor your father.’ You can still do that, even if your father has passed away.
Tell me about your dad…