photo by woodleywonderworks
I’ve been running a series about how to teach the Ten Commandments to your children. We’re going to spend a little bit of time looking at each commandment individually.
The fifth commandment says, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
It’s interesting that the word ‘honor’ is used in the four different Bible translations that I looked up. In its original Hebrew it means to make heavy, in a good sense; abounding with glory; to make (very) great.
Now, you know and I know that that kind of behavior isn’t a natural occurrence for our children. Some of us are lucky if we get a casual nod some days. There are ways, however, in which we can teach our children to honor us beyond their memorizing a commandment and regurgitating it verbatim.
- We set the example by living honorable lives. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 to let our light shine in such a way that others may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. If our lives reflect the glory of God, our children have no foundation of disrespect.
- When we mess up, we confess and seek forgiveness. Our mistakes in character become valuable teaching moments, more so if our children see us repenting, or turning away from, repeating the sin.
- We treat our spouse with respect. In showing honor to our spouse, our children learn to respect that parent. Subtle nuances of disrespect get picked up on very quickly by our children and can become a source of imitation, especially in later years.
- We put children in their proper place. We love our children unconditionally, but we love God more. We love our children unconditionally, but we love our spouse more. They need to hear that in a loving way.
- We use the Word of God to draw our family closer to Him. In the process of holding family devotions family members will draw closer to each other, especially as we learn the real meaning of God’s truths and their application.
- We never allow disrespectful language/behavior from our children. Rolling our eyes and sighing in frustration never qualifies as an appropriate response toward our children when they sass or in any other way act disrespectful. By the same token, we never allow others to be disrespectful to or around our children.
Apparently God puts a lot of stock in this commandment. Other than it making the top ten, as Paul said in Ephesians 6:2, it’s the first one that comes with a promise. Children who honor their parents will enjoy blessing and long life. By inference, then, I have to surmise that not honoring one’s parents brings about a hard life, and quite potentially, a shortened one.
Teach your child to pay more than lip service to the fifth commandment. Teaching them to honor you helps set the stage for connecting with them, and subsequently, sharing the gospel in a real and tangible way.
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