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Honor Your Parents in the Backwards Kingdom

Sometimes the instructions God gives us to live in the Backwards Kingdom are not ones that we like, and by definition, seem counter to our culture. I get the privilege of discipling three high school students and we recently were discussing what it means to “Honor Your Father and Mother” (Exodus 20:12). Each of these guys comes from a different home-life, including myself, whether that’s divorce, infidelity, or faithfulness. So the “fleshing out” of that commandment looks different for each of us.

Satan is good at what he does. He just is. He’s been at it a lot longer than you and I have been fighting against him and our flesh. I’m convinced one of his main tactics in attacking young Christians is to sway them into thinking their parents are idiots. And, again, he’s good at it. Think of most popular shows on television. How many shows have smart, normal, parameter-setting parents/authority figures? None? Just run down the list. Family Guy. Peter’s a moron. The Simpsons. Homer, enough said. Modern Family, Phil. Let’s go Disney. Good Luck Charlie, Bob Duncan is brawn but no brains. iCarly, she lives with her dopey brother. Drake and Josh, Phineas and Ferb, The Suite Life…the parents are non-existent and the kids do whatever they want. Heaven forbid you take your understanding of authority from South Park. Better yet, Heaven forbid you WATCH South Park.

Here’s what I’m getting at. Our culture wants you to dishonor your parents. Satan wants you to dishonor your parents. God COMMANDS you to honor them. So much so, that it’s in the Top 10 list. You know what the punishment for consistent dishonor and disobedient children was? Stoning to death (Leviticus 19:3). Now, I’m not suggesting that be the case. Jesus is the complete fulfillment of all the Levitical law, but can we at least agree that God takes this super seriously?

So how do you honor them? Look at Jesus. How did Jesus respond to His Heavenly Father as His authority? In John 5:19, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees His Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” In other words, Jesus says, “I only do what the Father tells me to do. I honor Him with obedience, because He loves me and I can trust Him.” Jesus is God, and He obeyed His Heavenly father. That’s honor.

But Jesus also had an earthly father named Joseph. Joseph was just like you and me. He wasn’t deity. He isn’t God. He’s not holy, in that sense. Joseph, like all mankind before, was a wicked sinner who trusted in God for salvation. Think about this. Jesus is God, and He obeyed His sinner earthly father. That’s honor.

So students, whether you have parents that love and pursue Jesus passionately, and they saturate your household with the Gospel (PRAISE!), or you have parents that are not as spiritually mature as you are, or they aren’t Christians at all, honor your father and your mother. It’s commanded by God, so that it will go well with you in the life that the LORD your God gives you. That’s MODGNIK.