Preparing our hearts, minds, and souls to hear and reflect upon the Word of God.
Prayer of focus
Gracious Lord God, fill us with the Holy Spirit that we fear and love You so that we do not despise or anger our parents and others in authority, but respect, obey, love, and serve them as our neighbors. In Jesus name. Amen
This commandment is the beginning of the list of commandments addressing human-to-human relations. Previous commandments were focused upon human-to-God relations now the turn is to one another in sphere of creation and our relations with one another. This not only focuses upon our relationship with one another, but, also our relationship with God. Consider how a child behaves with his or her parent(s). If a child does not honor that is, respect, obey, love, his or her parents then, is that child also less likely to honor divine authority?
I know there are parent-child relationships that are negative and hard to manage. There are those relationships where the child finds it difficult, if not impossible, to honor a parent for a variety of reasons. Still, should the child not attempt to find a way to observe this commandment? In the commentary “Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom” the author offers the following examples: the honoring of one’s parent with whom one has conflict may do so by not living near them. It might be best to avoid prolonged stays with one’s parents.
As I reflect upon this commandment, I find myself, as a parent, asking: “Do I behave in a manner that elicits my children’s respect?” “How do I treat my children?” “Do I behave in an honorable way towards them and with them?” It is very difficult to honor someone if you are not treated similarly.
I want you to reflect about life in community, especially life in family. As a child, we learn how to live in community through family. Family is the first community or society or culture in which we learn how to live with one another. Families take many different shapes and forms from single-parent, multi-generational, adoptive, foster, two-parent, etcetera. Regardless of the shape and form of family—family is the social unit in which one learns communal life. Learning communal life shapes the ways we behave toward all people. Our behavior, good or bad, is a reflection upon our parents or whoever is the head of the family. Thus, our honoring of parents is observed in how we treat others.