1 June 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
As I contemplated on the meaning of ‘Love’ today in the Bible, I find the meaning of love very beautiful in the Bible. (1 Cor 13:4-7)
But while I contemplated on the beauty of this verse, my character was immediately tested the minute my parents knocked on my door. I could feel impatience rising in me because my peaceful moment with God was disturbed.
The Holy Spirit convicted in my heart: How funny it is that sometimes, we can get so ‘polite’ and ‘politically-correct’ with our friends and even strangers. But when we communicate with our parents, we can so easily take them for granted.
In my impatience, I raised my voice and spoke in a harsh tone to them.
I always pray to God for patience. And I would like to think that I am a patient person, most of the time.
But the truth is that a person’s character is shown during difficult times, times which give us a perceived right to be impatient, unkind, jealous, arrogant, selfish, provocative, resentful, unforgiving, and unrighteous.
When would you identify a man for being patient? A man demonstrates patience during times that warrant great impatience.
How about kindness? A man demonstrates kindness with the unkind people.
Plainly, I was not as patient as I thought myself to be.
With that said, to respond to all negative behaviors with an unaffected and stable kind of love; that is truly a mark of a mature believer in Christ.
A mature believer thinks and acts like Christ, regardless of what situation he or she is in.
In other words, to show Christ to my parents, my demonstration of love to them should be stable and unaffected as well, to win their hearts in Christ.
And truly, my parents are the loveliest parents I can ask for in my life; and my greatest gift from God. But today, I saw my impatience towards them.
Some of us have parents who have not believed in Christ yet. Upon days and even years of prayer, we may sometimes even question God why our parents are taking such a long time to know and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Upon retrospection of my unloving behavior, perhaps our message of the gospel is not effective because our actions to our parents do not mirror God’s love.
Simply put, we are not patient, kind, generous, and forgiving with our parents. We do not show them the meaning of love described in the Bible. (1 Cor 13:4-7) How can we expect our sharing of the gospel has any effect?
Make no mistake. To honor our parents is right before God’s eyes. In fact, God takes this subject seriously.
Obeying our parents in everything pleases God (Colossians 3:20). It is the only commandment that promises well-being and a long life. (Ephesians 6:1-3; Exodus 20:12)
We can see the importance of honoring our parents, perhaps by the literal and figurative consequences of dishonoring them in the Bible.
In the Old Testament, cursing one’s parents is such a severe crime that anyone who curses his parents will be put to death. (Leviticus 20:9, Exodus 21:17, Deut 21:18-21) The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17) Not to mention, his or her ‘lamp will be put out in utter darkness.’ (Proverbs 20:20)
How do we honor our parents then?
The Bible says, “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:33)
What precious words.
This verse shows us that much of our honoring comes from the way we communicate with them.
Do we look at our father’s face when he talks to us? Do we seek to understand his perspective and wait patiently for our father to communicate with us? (Prov 13:1)
How about our mothers? Do we consider and accept her instructions for our lives (Prov 1:8-9) instead of disposing them as annoying naggings? Do we enjoy our mother’s presence or do we scorn her presence?
Besides our way of communication, we honor our parents by providing financially for them (1 Tim 5:8), especially when they have retired. Jesus sharply rebuked the Pharisees when they took the peoples’ income for their parents as tithing to the temple, in the name of giving to God. (Mark 7:8-13)
This shows us that in the eyes of God, providing for our family is extremely important.
Secondly, the Lord also says to stand up before the gray hair and honor the face of an old man. (Lev 19:23) In this verse, we learned that honoring parents must include outward actions—be it a soft-spoken voice, a gentle word, an immediate response to our parents’ request, and attentiveness to their advice (counting it as worthy of hearing).
I believe all of us know the ways or methods of honoring our parents.
The last question would finally be… does our heart desire to honor them?
The meaning of ‘honor’ according to the Merriam-Webster is the ‘respect that is given to someone who is admired.’
While some of us have many reasons to admire our parents, perhaps some of us today are still angry with our parents, let alone find reasons to admire them.
Maybe, for those of us who hold resentment to our parents, it’s time to forgive and let go. (Luke 11:4) Forgiveness is not earned but it is to be given according to God.
Ask the Lord to help you. Only then, we can truly honor our parents from our hearts and actions.
And yes, that is pleasing to God, your Father in Heaven.