Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 26 : Honor Your Parents | Day 181

Know the Basis of Honor!

King David's call for Mephibosheth to come before him struck fear in Mephibosheth’s heart because he was related to Saul, who had tried to kill David. But David did the unexpected and honored Mephibosheth, even having him sit at the King’s banquet table. David did this not because of who Mephibosheth was, but because of whom he represented. He was the son of Jonathan, whom David loved as his own soul. (See II Samuel 9.)

We honor a person based on our perception of his importance or the importance of those he represents.

In this command, the Greek word for honor is timao. It means, “to prize, i.e. fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere.” Reverence for others grows out of a proper fear of the Lord, since He is the One Who created all men and established structures of authority. Therefore, true honor is actually based on our perception of the power, majesty, and holiness of God.

Reverence for God should cause us to honor every person as a representative of God, because He created them in His own image and has placed them in our lives for our benefit. On this basis, God instructs us to “honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (I Peter 2:17).

Personal greed and pride destroy our ability to truly honor God or those who represent Him. In Mark 12, Jesus explains this truth in a parable about a wealthy master who sent one of his servants to a distant vineyard that he owned. The tenants who were caring for the vineyard beat the servant and drove him away rather than honoring him as the representative of the master and giving him the fruit of the land.

The master continued to send servants to the vineyard, but they experienced the same abusive disrespect. Finally, the master decided to send his beloved son, expecting that the son would surely be met with respect. However, the wicked tenants said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours” (Mark 12:7). Because of their failure to honor the authority that the servants and the son represented, the wicked tenants were put to death when the master returned.

We are not born with a natural tendency to honor God or others. We learn honor by learning to fear the Lord.

Giving honor does not depend on the worthiness of the recipient; rather, it is a voluntary decision to unconditionally place value upon a person because of who he is or whom he represents. There is no question that our parents are given to us by God. Not only were they created by God, but they were chosen to be the ones to bring us into the world and entrusted with the responsibility of training us in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Sometimes it is difficult to honor our parents because they make decisions that seem to be illogical. When this happens, we should ask ourselves, “What is God trying to tell us through them?”

Ask yourself, "If I were to view every person as a personal representative of God, how would my attitude and behavior toward them change?

“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death” (Matthew 15:4).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard