Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
RESPECT FOR PARENTS AND SENIORS
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise.
St. Paul lays on the children that they should obey the commandment and honor their parents. He says this is the first commandment. He probably means that this was the first commandment, which the Christian child was taught to memorize. The honor Paul demands is not the honor of mere lip service. The way to honor parents is to obey them, to respect them, and never to cause them pain.
Honor Your Father and Mother – Commandment with a promise: If we turn to Exodus chapter 20 and look at the Ten Commandments, we can see that all of them are negative in form by saying “shall not” except the fifth commandment which is positive with a promise “Honor your father and mother, so that you live long in the God given land”. Verse 2 attaches a particular significance to this commandment, a promise of a prosperous life in the land. Both Jews and Gentiles were accustomed to the legal conventions, that gave the father of a family authority over the lives of all offspring, regardless of their age, even though married children lived in separate households. Fear of punishment only compels short – term obedience. So, Paul here shifts their attention from a covenantal curse to the idea of promise, the benefit of long life in the long run and the blessing of prosperity as a present experience. The best coaches know that even a small taste of success does more to motivate compliance with tough practice routine than threats or general promises.
Discipline in Love: In verse 4 Paul says, “Fathers, Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Many fathers, because of their confusion between harshness and leadership, through constant physical and emotional torturing have abused their children. The instruction of the Lord does not promote discipline through harshness but only through the love of God. Continuous criticism and constant rebuke will spoil the children. These instructions make concrete demands on Christian parents. It envisages a model life on the part of the parents. In order to bring them up in the instructions of the Lord, fathers must know the word of God and must be persons who live the word in their life. We must also understand the changing situations of our children and provide spiritual nurture accordingly.
Prayer: O Lord we thank you for our parents and the instructions and spiritual nurture that we received from them to mold our life. Help us to be models before our children to bring them up in Christian values and virtues. Amen
Chacko Mathew (Sunny) Long Island MTC, New York)