Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet the Parents

What a load to bear!

We are spending a few Sundays covering the subject of "family".
Last week was a very general sense of who and what encompasses the subject.
This week, we take time to look at the leaders of the family circle - the parents.

I can remember going to see the Ben Stiller/Robert DeNiro movie several years back.
It was not long after my wife and I had married. "Meet the Parents" showcased all that could go wrong on an insanely large level when a girl brings home her betrothed to meet the family. The movie (and it's sequels) especially focused on the great and difficult relationship between the Father of the family and the new man in the circle. I seem to recall my new in-laws sitting in front of us. My wife and I cracked up through the entire picture. I don't remember the people in front of us laughing too much.

Everything I know about parenting I learned from the great William H Cosby.
I grew up watching the Cosby Show. I listening to old Cosby stand up from the 60's & 70's where he began using his family as the vehicle to drive his comedy. By the time the 80's came, he was in a perfect position to a father figure to us all. I remember feeling as if the relationship between Theo and Heathcliff Huxtable modeled my own father-son time. Now, I wonder if I'm headed down that same road looking at the boy growing up with my smile and eyes.

Who doesn't recall the conversation between Theo and Cliff about growing up, going to college, becoming something in life?? "I brought you in this world, I take you out!" Ah, trying to give your children direction; trying to give them something to follow. It's all wrapped up in honor and respect. We hope they will listen. We hope they will follow. Then we come upon scripture that reads like this.

Exodus 20:12

New International Version (NIV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Whew! That's heavy, now. Right smack in the middle of the ten commandments comes  these words about making sure these to people are lifted up. The ten commandments can be broken down into two sides. The first 4 have to do with our relationship with the Almighty.
“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Then, the next 6 have to do with our relationship with our fellow man. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

What begins our relationship with mankind is how we relate to the two people who have brought us into this world. Our mother and our father. Honoring them is where our relationship with God and our relationship with the rest of mankind intersect. The people who fed us, clothed us, nurtured us, admonished us, put up with us, and cried and prayed for us are the ones whom we find all we need to know about God from. I wish this was true for everybody. Not everyone has the privilege of seeing the great knowledge of God through their earthly relationships. Too often we are neglected this opportunity. Broken marriages. Broken homes. They leave us handicapped in our discovery of seeking out the truth of God. However, God has "not left us as orphans", the scriptures would encourage us. I know personally the enlightenment of what Paul speaks in Romans 8. Paul uses the idea of "adoption" when speaking of our spiritual birth in Christ. I know what it's like to be included in the family of God because I now recognize God as my father and Christ as my brother. The Almighty brings us in, gives us a new name, makes us part of his family. 

If you do know the goodness of seeing the person of God through the action and mannerism of your family circle, good for you. There is no other blessings in life that can match that. Do you see the instruction and guidance of the Almighty in the life of your father? Do you see the nurture and love of God in the face of your mother? Even if you do not, even if there is a harshness to those memories, we are admonished to honor them. We lift them up so that God might make us a blessing and help us in the place where we are in life. If you are a parent and you happen to be taking the time to read this, are you giving your children something they can honor? Are you giving your children something they can lift up? Good memories go a long way in directing them along the pathway of life. I have a mixture of harsh realities and nice thoughts that have taken me a long time work out in my heart and mind. I have had it out with my father a few times since I left home. We have had a few arguments over the years. I have made my accusations and my pleas. Yet, still, I think of him as the one who knows all. His direction and his plan are the plans & directions I should be following. And, God has blessed my life because of it.

The parents. Mom. Dad. Honor them.
And, honor God for giving them to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment