In my career in the medical field, I have witnessed so many things, things that I never knew really existed. One of the things I have witnessed is mistreatment of ones parents. My husband taught on this subject during a recent sermon and it got me to thinking about the things that I personally have witnessed. One day, I saw a daughter come into the doctor’s office. Her dad was frail and elderly and she talked to him so rudely and disrespectful and even pulled him around by his coat. I could not believe it. You could tell she was inconvenienced by having to help her dad that day, and probably every day. I have to be honest, this made me so angry.
I have witnessed so many things when it comes to our parents, things that leave me shaking my head. Now, I know that not everyone has a picture perfect family or had a perfect upbringing, but honestly, who has? Some children are raised without both parents, drug addicted parents, abusive or absentee parents, adoptive parents, and parents that take no interest in their child’s well-being. All these are sad situations indeed and I feel for these children. I know parents aren’t perfect, I never pretend that mine were. I am reminded of the 5th commandment in Exodus 20:12 to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
My parents were so strict growing up. Growing up, I thought it was the end of the world when I was grounded or got a spanking during my early years. As a teenager, I had a strict curfew, still got grounded and felt like I had no independence. I thought I had it rough. Today I am so thankful for every grounding, every spanking and every heart to heart talk, because it made me into the person I am today. I am so grateful for both my parents and the lessons they taught me growing up, especially how you treat people, and that includes my elders. I honor my parents today by being grateful for all they did and still do.
Do you really appreciate what your parents done while growing up? Do you appreciate the clothes they bought, the help with homework, the guidance, the roof over your head and the late night talks as teenagers? How about when you were sick? The way they cared for you and made sure you felt better. What about when you got out of high school and when they gave you advice on being on our own and how to be responsible human beings? Even now, as a married woman, I still treasure all those things. The Bible says in Matthew 19:5 “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.”
Does this mean that we just forget about our parents or refuse to care for them when we get married? No it doesn’t. When my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer 3 years ago, I made sure that I was there to help care for her. I never considered it a burden or inconvenience. Why did I do that? I did it because I loved her and that was the least that I could do for a woman who loved me unconditionally until her death. I miss my mom every day and would give anything to talk to her again. I love my parents so much and even though my mother is gone, her memory and her guidance live through me everyday.
Jesus actually had something to say about this topic. He spoke of the 5th commandment in response to accusations that He and His disciples were at fault for violating the Pharisees and scribes traditions. He turned the table on them and rebuked their sin of elevating the traditions of men above the commands of God. They were guilty of violating the commandment of God by refusing to allow men to support their parents because their goods were “…Corban (that is, a gift to God)” (Mark 7:11). Friends, it is not up to the State, nor the Social Security Administration to support our aging parents: it is up to us.
When I visit nursing homes, I see and speak with the staff that tell me that children just put their parents in there “to get them out of their hair”. I have been told that their children leave them there and rarely or never visit. The residents sit in their room day after day with no one except the nurses to care for them. Their children are out living their life, not giving one ounce of thought to their poor parent who had been abandoned. I have seen it first hand and it’s heartbreaking. The look on their faces as they sit alone says it all. It is one of the saddest things to see. I wonder what they are thinking sitting there alone? Can you picture it? Abandoned by the very children they raised and nurtured.
Proverbs 23:22 “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old”.
1 Timothy 5:4-8 “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”.
The obligation to honor father and mother does not end simply because we are no longer under their roof, and perhaps even have children of our own. Mistreatment of our parents will come back to haunt us in later years.
Most parents gladly make sacrifices for their children, but what all parents do want is the repayment of being appreciated. Can we do that? I want to do what is pleasing to God, but for me, honoring my father and mother is the easiest command to follow. Please heed to God’s Word on the way we are to treat our parents.