I’m not trying to rewrite the Ten Commandments. They’re just right as they are. But I’d like to call your attention to a principle.
That is the principle of honor. It is the essence of the first Commandment with a promise but it goes much farther than that.
The dictionary says that to honor is “to hold in high regard, to have great respect for.” The idea made it to the Big Ten in the context of honoring one’s parents. That’s early on in Scripture. Elsewhere, the Bible lists other persons we’re to honor: civil authorities, church leaders, our elders, employers, even “all men” (I Peter 2:17).
Do we demand that our children honor us while making them feel dishonored?
Long ago I watched a movie called The King and I. It was pretty boring so I didn’t finish it, but one thing was so interesting that it stuck with me. The King of Siam was approached by his son, the Crown Prince. As the teenage boy approached his father, he bowed in respect to the King. Then, to my surprise the King bowed to his son. Hmm.
The King recognized the honor of the position of Crown Prince, even though he himself occupied a higher place.
We all want our children to honor us as their parents. That is the way it should be.
Father and mother are superior positions and should be treated as such. But that doesn’t mean that our children are second-class citizens in the family or in the world.
I was in a home once when the mom was reaming out, vociferously and at length, the father and the children. She was eloquent in her bitterness; it was verbal venom. A minute later she was on the phone to another mom asking about buying a used school book and she was all sweetness and courtesy. The difference in her tone was day and night.
It’s sad that we treat others with more respect than our own family members. It’s also sad that we demand that our children honor us, yet we sometimes speak to them as if they’re lower than insects.
Do you speak with respect to your children—even when they’re wrong? Or do you communicate through your tone that they deserve less honor than the strangers with whom we interact every day?
Do you discipline with a heart of grief over sin and a loving desire to help your child live in manner pleasing to God? Or do you attack his character instead of his actions?
Our kids are imperfect, but they are made in the image of God and precious gifts from His hand. Are we treating them as such—or are we seeing only their failures? Do they really believe we’re disciplining them for their good, or do they think we do it only for our convenience?