The Ten Commandment are given to us to protect and enhance our daily lives. A young child is taught to respect the commandments and all of the scriptures. Hopefully through, and with, the love of their parents or some other loving individual.
Many times the commandment, “Honor your mother and father” is taught by an abusive person as a means of control and manipulation. His/her distorted version of this commandment can and does cause many problems later in life for the survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
It can also distort His word for those who have been physically or emotionally abused. Particularly if that abuse was from those closest to the child, the parent.
“These are the commandments the Lord
proclaimed in a loud voice…
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
your God is giving you.”
“Children, obey your parents
in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and your mother,…
that it may go well with you and
that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
“Honor your father and mother” must be looked at more closely for those of us who have difficulty with that commandment. Look at the Ephesians 6 verse closely. There is one key phrase that needs clarifying. “In the Lord.” What does that mean? Simply put, “In the Lord” means in accordance with God’s commands! If this phrase was not there, specifically telling us that we are to obey and honor as Christ would have us do, there would be no holds barred, no boundaries.
God placed the innocent child in the charge of adults and told them specifically how they should raise this child. Your parents, be it biological, adoptive, grandparents, foster parents, or step-parents are directly responsible to God for your well-being; physical, emotional, spiritual. All of these people are intended to be agents of God’s love and protection.
As adults we have the responsibility to keep children from harms way. We have very specific, clear-cut guidelines that the Lord put in place to show us how to do that. One of those is:
“No-one is to approach any close relative
to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.”
The verses continue on to specify mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparents, sisters, brothers, in-laws, step children, and so on. (See Lev. 18) You can’t get any clearer than that!
If you were abused by a relative, that sin is not only a sin against you but against God. If your abuser was not a relative he/she has still sinned against God and will also pay accordingly.
“Whoever welcomes a little child like
this in My name welcomes Me,
But if anyone causes one of these
little one’s who believe in Me to sin,
it will be better for him to have a
millstone hung around his neck
and to be drowned in the
depths of the sea.”
You will notice He does not specify “Dad welcomes…” or “Mother welcomes…,” or for that matter “Uncle welcomes…” He says, “Anyone causes…”
As adults Father God gives us the absolute responsibility to not harm; physically, sexually, emotionally, or spiritually the children in our society.
“…your Father in heaven is not
willing that ANY of these
little ones should be lost.”
As adults within our society our status is looked upon as authority to the child. It makes no difference if the child is ours or someone else’s. Tell a child that you have never met before to sit in the swing properly, for example. That child will more than likely not question your authority. He/she will promptly take the proper sitting position. (At least that’s how it was when I was growing up.)
Our responsibility as being older than the child is to look out for the well-being of those younger. Parents, neighbors, or strangers have this responsibility. Would you stand by as a child played on a railroad track, seeing the train approaching from the distance? Of course not! That is part of the responsibility that we carry. That the Lord Jesus gave to us.
“These commandments that I give you
(everyone) are to be put upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children…
tie them as symbols upon your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.”
Duet. 6: 6-9
In other words, the Lord is telling us that we are to eat, drink, walk, talk, speak, teach, and be as Christ-like as humanly possible. We are to be a Christ-like example to others. Especially children.
“Train a child in the way
he should go, and when
he is old he will not
turn from it.”
“Train a child…” We are all a part of the training of children. Even if we do not have children we are to be a Christ-like example to them.
What about honoring? “Honor your father and mother.” The Greek word for honor is TIUAW, which means, “acknowledge the status of.” Another form of the Greek word for honor is TIUN,NS, which means “respect, recognition.”
We show respect and recognize the status of our elders, be it parents or others. By the child, in the example used earlier, sitting properly in the swing, respect for that elder is being shown. By acknowledging that authority there was no argument. The child promptly sat properly.
By the very act of recognizing the older person’s position we are honoring that person. The Lord said, “honor your father and mother.” We do! by recognizing their position as our parents, by obeying their commands; right or wrong. If they demanded we do something, as a child, we obeyed because of their position and authority.
Throughout scripture we will find directives, to parents in particular.
“Fathers do not embitter your children,
or they will become discouraged.”
“For I have chosen him, so that he
will direct his children and his household
after him to keep the way of the Lord
by doing what is right and just…”
“Fathers, do not exasperate
(do not nag or arbitrarily assert authority)
your children; instead, bring them up
in training and instruction
of the Lord…”
“Husbands, love your wives
and do not be harsh to them.
Children, obey your parents
for this pleases the Lord…”
This last verse can show us, in my opinion, that by doing what we were told, (as though we had a choice!) we pleased the Lord as His command says. It was our abuser(s) who chose to break the commandments of our Lord.
“…choose for yourselves this day
whom you will serve…”
Obviously, our abuser(s) chose not to serve the Father in heaven. When we were told, “It’s our secret” or some derivative of that, our abuser was admitting his/her guilt. He/she was keeping us silent so that he/she would not be found guilty of the sin that he/she chose to commit against you and against Christ.
“…assemble the people before Me
to hear My words so that they
may learn to revere Me as long as
they live in the land and may teach
them to their children.”
The lessons that we were being taught through the abusive actions of others were not in keeping with what Christ said for people to do. If His truths and His commandments were being taught in a Christ-like manner, which means that we have the life of Christ within us and the power of the Holy Spirit, we would never have experienced the pain that was inflicted upon our innocent souls.
We would not now have a distortion within our inner being, a bad taste in our mouth, and there would be no hesitation to even speak the words, “Honor your father and mother.”
We must also keep in mind that another of His commandments tells us to love one another. We must learn to love one another as Christ loves us. Forgiveness is tough! But, through the Holy Spirit within us, we can forgive those who taught us the wrong connotation of “Honor your father and mother.”
“May my vindication comes from you;
May your eyes see what is right.”
Pray and write in your journal your thoughts about this topic. If it was a relative that abused you, do they deserve to be honored? Has it left a “bad taste” just thinking about it? Can you forgive them?
If you have children, how do they honor you?
If you have confidential questions/comments feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to you.