Devotional on the Ten Commandments with attention to the Ten Commandments
5th Commandment: "Honor Your Father and Mother"
16 “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. (Deuteronomy 5:16).
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules. (Matthew 15:3-9)
Thoughts: Respecting those God has placed over us is a healthy thing. To be in continual rebellion, unable to trust others keeps us from trusting in God, and puts us against a power that we cannot win against. John Calvin said that this command had to do with respecting all those over us. This was not said lightly. The Queen of France had tried to kill Calvin. The Pope excommunicated him. Despite rumors in our day to the contrary, Calvin had little political power, little physical money, but much spiritual power- from his gifts. Jesus also taught respect for authority. Yet he was killed by both the Roman and Jewish authorities of his day. Christ told Pilate that the only reason he had authority was that he was given it from above.
This command, then, does not mean that authorities placed over us in God's providence do not make grave mistakes. Certainly, any parent will make mistakes. Some will be horrible. It is problematic to honor the dishonorable. Yet our parents are not alone responsible for our failures and inadequacies. Jesus reminds those in his day to quit making excuses for not caring for their parents. We are not called to blind obedience. But neither are we called to open rebellion. Jesus sets us an example of how someone may triumph over those more powerful, yet without rebellion.
Prayer: May my journey here be humble toward my own selfishness, and generous toward others. Give me grace to listen, to learn, to grow, and to ultimately honor you.