12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12, NIV)
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”– which is the first commandment with a promise– 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4, NIV)
Have you ever wondered “why” the 10 Commandments are in the order that they are? I have!
In fact, the 5th Commandment – “Honor your father and your mother – seems rather strange to me. You have the 1st four commandments on Honoring and Loving God before it, and 5 commandments after it about Honoring and Loving our Neighbors. Yet this seems to be the only commandment about Loving and Honoring our Family. Parents seem to be the “bridge” between “Loving and Honoring God” and “Loving and Honoring Our Neighbor”.
Here are some reflections on “why” I think that God put the 5th Commandment right in between:
- We cannot truly love and honor our neighbors until we truly learn to love and honor God.
- “Loving and Honoring God” and “Loving and Honoring Our Neighbor” is an activity of faith.
- “Faith”, in the bible, is an activity of “community” as much as it is for the individual.
- God expected parents to be the primary “faith-instructors” for children within the community of faith for Israel (e.g. Deuteronomy 6:1-7).
- God wanted to ensure, through the 5th commandment, that the primary faith-instructors for the people of Israel – our parents – were loved and honored in a similar fashion as He is.
- Families are meant to be smaller models and representations of the “community of faith”.
Therefore, “the family” is God’s Primary Small Group for each one of us where we are to learn what it means to live a life of faith.
If nothing else, this becomes one of the many significant reasons why the church should be “family-friendly” and “parent-friendly” – we need to be a place where we can support parents in leading the “community of faith” of your family.
Maybe a small group in your church can give you both the resources and the perspective of what a parent can bring back to their homes.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor, CPC