Today, April 30, 2007, would have been my father’s 77th birthday (If you want to see a picture of him that I am particularly fond of, look here). It may seem odd to offer a Scripture about honoring parents on a day such as this. Surely it is painful for me to do so. For I have been without either parent now for six years. I do not like it one bit. I miss them. I remember times when I did not honor them, and that pains me a great deal. It is good for me to remember such things knowing now the forgiving and cleansing power of Christ. And I have learned something in these last few years. You can honor your parents even after they are gone in how you speak of them, think of them, and remember them. It is the rage these days that we all find the source of our problems in our families, and especially in our parents. Surely we are this way because of what our father did, or mother did, or what they didn’t do. I know some people have suffered inexpressible pains at the hands of their parents, and that they remain within the boundaries of sanity is truly amazing. But life is much more complicated than “my father made me this way” or whatever. If your parents are living, honor them in ways that they can understand. Call them. Send them cards. Thank them. Include them. Visit them when possible. If they are failing, you can honor them through your care of them. One of the great blessings of being a part of Covenant Fellowship is to see how so many people have done just that. Young people reading this, the thing you will regret most in your life when you get older is how you spoke to, rebelled against, and dishonored your parents. Spare yourselves the painful memories. Honor them now, even when it seems that life isn’t fair to you.
And to all, if your parents have passed away, you can still honor them by honoring their memory.
Soon after his wife’s death, Jackson Browne wrote a song to his young son. It is called “Only Child.” It is a fabulous song, and much of it has to do with his (JB’s) hope that his son would honor the memory of his mother, no matter what would be said about her:
Boy of mine
As your fortune comes to carry you down the line
And you watch while the changes unfold
And you sort among the stories you’ll be told
If some pieces of the picture are hard to find
And the answers to your questions are hard to hold
Take good care of your mother
The Apostle Paul reminds us that this was the only command with a promise. Maybe there is something to the second half of this, which we tend to pass over or forget. Exodus 20:12:
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.