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Filial Blessing

Filial Blessing

            Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Ex 20:12)

We look at rosy-cheeked, giggly babies and our hearts overflow with a loving urge to care for them. But when it comes to elderly people, that natural urge to ensure their well-being is significantly diminished. Whereas we see hope in our children’s sparking eyes, we often find only a wistful melancholy in our parents’ hazy ones. In this context, it does not seem odd that we would need a commandment to remind us to honor our parents.

This commandment is reiterated in Deuteronomy 5:16 and Ephesians 6:1-3. Even the Lord Jesus quotes this commandment as one of the prerequisites to inherit eternal life (Mt 19:16-19; Lk 18:18-20).

Why do we need to be told to honor our parents? Because it is a course of action which must be chosen consciously again and again. It requires us to go out of our way to do something for our parents, to show them proper respect and loving care. And, this service to our parents should be sincere and willing. No excuses, not just going through the motions.

Why is it so challenging for us to honor the very ones who brought us up and sacrificed for us over so many years?

It is easy to forget the love our parents have devoted to us and only see their current weaknesses and demands. They may be completely clueless when it comes to technological advances such as the cell phone, the e-mail, or the iPod. They may be adamant about sharing advice unsolicited. They may have a fragile health that requires constant attention and financial expenses.

Our parents’ needs may be exhausting on many levels. But they have given up half their lives for us before. Even more amazingly, God has attached a reward for us to do what is only reasonable. Few commandments come attached with a promised blessing. Surely God has a reason for providing the incentive. If we fulfill our filial duty to our parents, we will receive longevity and prosperity in this world and in God’s kingdom.


            Questions for Reflection:

1. What is your definition of honoring your parents?

2. What is your biggest obstacle to spending time with your parents and honoring them?

Author: Liliana Chan