Elul Day 8--”House Rules”--Want to live a long, prosperous life?
Welcome to Day 8 of thoughts to ponder concerning areas of our lives that might need sanctification. Before we tackle this commandment, I want you to know that I am very sensitive to the fact that many reading this may have a less-than-ideal childhood. There may have been drugs, alcohol or abuse. There may have been one or more parents who abandoned you...you may have been raised by a family member...so we are going to try and examine this subject a bit gingerly. If you are still harboring negative feelings, I pray you will forgive. For your sake. I pray you will be able to work through trauma and leave your past behind so that you aren’t just surviving but thriving.
In Exodus, we are called to “honor our parents” and later in Leviticus it adds “fear our parents.” The New testament calls us to “obey” our parents. It is interesting to note that we are not called to “love” them any differently than our other fellow men. I believe this is because in the Christian faith our emotions/feelings are secondary to our actions and behaviors. We are called to behave in certain ways and then to allow God to transform our minds so that our thoughts are from God’s perspective and we can cheerfully give what He has called to share.
Honor in Hebrew means dignity and uses the exact same letters in Hebrew as the word meaning weighty or heavy. And the antonym means to curse or make light of. With that said, let’s examine the role of our parents. Our parents were called by God to birth us and raise us. He gave them great responsibility to function as our primary caregivers and teachers until the age of maturity when we would transfer those roles over to the primary care of God/Holy Spirit. They are responsible for shaping our identity. When we reach the age of accountability or accept our salvation (whenever that is) we then go to God to let Him to finish the job...so it is of little consequence how far they got or what “level” we are at when we turn the reins over to God.
I find it fascinating that the Jewish rabbis state honor means to feed, clothe and help our parents come and go. These are the very things they helped us with when we were to vulnerable to do it for ourselves. As our parents age or have diseases they may become unable to carry these functions out for themselves and these are the very things God may expect us to repay them with.
Have you been able to get to the point where you can let go of any negative feelings you might associate with your upbringing? What are you doing to honor your parents/mentors/caregivers? What areas do you feel God is calling you to improve in?
Follow the season of Teshuvah during this Month of Elul with Guest blogger Denise Dee Lytle Gibbs who originally posted these blogs on her Facebook page Fall Feast Prayer Initiative.