The Gift of Honor
Anyone who has lived a few years has perhaps experienced dishonor in one form or another. Some are born into a family that does not know how to honor family members. Others may experience dishonor in the culture or the workplace. Some are dishonored by a spouse or a close friend. No matter how dishonor has occurred, when one has lived over 90 years there is a good chance he or she has experienced dishonor. After many months of just working through the challenges of our new life together and dealing with a myriad of family of origin issues, the Lord began to show us that one of the chief reasons He had asked us to walk these last miles with Mom and Dad was to shower them with honor.
God tells us many times in scripture to honor our mother and father. In Deuteronomy 5:16 He says, "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." To be honest we always saw that scripture as a promise of good things happening to us more than to our parents. Until my parents moved in with us we had one idea of what honor meant. Since they moved in, we have discovered that we understood little of what God had in mind when He spoke of honor. He has shown us that as part of their preparation to go home to Him, they are to be given the gift of honor.
We are learning, sometimes a bit slowly, that how our parents did or did not treat us has little to do with how God wants us to treat them. We have learned that when anger is returned for anger or when we react to their words that hurt us, an unhealthy cycle is perpetuated. Time and again the Lord has spoken to our hearts to repent to them for our attitude or our words to them and to show them love and honor no matter what. Have we done a great job? I would say we are learning and are reacting more and more the way the Lord wants, but it has been a process. Far too many times our own emotions reacted and we responded in the flesh, not God's way. Too many times we felt sorry for ourselves for giving up so much and getting back so little. That sounds so terrible in writing, but it truly is what we experienced.
Before Mom and Dad came to live here it was easier to honor them. We saw them occasionally and if they upset us or we upset them, we could just go home. Now we must resolve issues because none of us can escape the situation . I think that is by God's design as well. In family we are to learn to resolve issues. If we don't, then relationships break and wounding just grows deeper. Just as in marriage God intends for covenant to keep us together through the tough times, so also a commitment to parents has motivated us to work through interpersonal challenges.
Dishonor causes people to become defensive and often motivates them to dishonor others in order to feel better about themselves. We are learning that the only way to break the cycle of dishonor is to honor. Honor is God's gift to us when we feel unworthy, when we act dishonorably, or when we believe we do not diserve it. So, since He lives in us, His gift of honor should flow through us to others around us. We are beginning to understand that God commands us to honor our parents because honor is transmitted generationally. That is why He gives us such wonderful promises for honoring our parents. Honoring them blesses them and changes how they see themselves. It also blesses us and our children and our children's children. Honor is a legacy that we want to leave to the generations.