Honor Your Parents

man and woman carrying toddler

Do we set our children up to succeed in life? Paul told the children in the Ephesian church to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1 ESV). Paul is obviously not talking about abusive parents because he qualifies that it should be “in the Lord.” Paul goes on to say, “This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go will with you and that you may live long in the land” (vs. 2, 3).

One word comes to mind in the family that Paul describes: stability. Remember that Jesus said all the law and the prophets hinge on the two greatest commandments to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. When we learn love, we obey. When we obey God people take care of each other because that’s what love is.

We set our kids up for blessing and success when we teach them to do what is right, to follow God’s commandments. Our children have all the potential in the world to grow into highly loving, successful kingdom-builders! The best way to help them succeed is to teach them to honor God.

When Children Suffer

Crying woman

Nobody knows the pain of watching a child suffer better than a mother. With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is a time to honor mothers. We never want to forget the mothers who struggle on this day. In fact, for me it’s always a special day both to honor mothers and to lament with others who find this day to be a struggle. Some mothers have lost children. Others longed for children and could not get pregnant. Still others are watching their children battle horrific diseases. Whatever the case, we lament with those who suffer.

There’s a poignant story in the Bible where Hagar is thrown out like yesterday’s trash with her son Ishmael. She was a slave of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah, in her jealousy and to the disagreement of Abraham, did not want her son Isaac to grow up with his brother Ishmael. “Get rid of that slave woman and her son!,” Sarah barked. God told Abraham to let them go. They were sent into the brutal desert, where the drinking water would soon run out.

After the water ran out, Hagar put her only son under a shade tree and left him to die. Genesis 21:16 NLT paints the grim story well: “Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob.” It’s painful to even read. She knew in her heart that her son would die that day. It was too painful for her to watch. Every failure began to creep into Hagar’s mind. She was just the slave woman. She was broke. She was homeless. And now she couldn’t even provide enough water for her son to live.

God showed up that day and spared Hagar and Ishmael. But this story captures the immense pain a mother feels when she is abandoned and when her child is suffering. We need to look on others with the same compassion that God has for people who suffer. We need to extend a helping hand to those in need and lament with those who weep.

Photo by Beniamin Şinca on Unsplash