In this sermon, Youth Director Mike Bittenbender preaches on the 5th Commandment– Honor your father and your mother. Here are some excerpts:
So this now begs the question of how do we honor our parents. This first gets tough to answer when you think of everyone who grows up in houses of abuse and neglect. Make no mistake, Jesus Himself takes child abuse, neglect, all of the harm that can be done to a child –particularly by parents – very seriously.
In Matthew 18:6, it says: “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in Me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” …God detests the harm done. God takes notice of when that happens. He doesn’t turn a blind eye or ignore the pain. Nowhere in the Bible does it say honor your father’s and your mother’s actions. We do not honor their weaknesses, their imperfections. We do not honor their actions but the Bible is very clear, we honor them.
Honoring them takes forgiveness, humility, and faith. Ron Mehl, author of the book Tender Commandments, says we honor, therefore forgive our parents that we may not be weighed down or taken captive by bitterness… Living a bitter life is not an example of “that it may go well with you.” The bitter life is not it going well with you.Here is an example from my life of bitterness that I held against my parents for the better part of a decade. This may seem awkward because my parents are sitting right here but they arevery familiar with this story and I know that I hung it over their heads for a long time. I’d like to think I no longer do that.
Honoring our parents takes faith. Honoring our parents means accepting that God has orchestrated the events that these people would be your parents. This spans biological and adopted parents alike. If you are adopted, God orchestrated the events that would allow you to go from the biological parents who birthed you to your adopted parents, and it is these people God has put over you to be your parents. It takes faith to accept that. It takes faith to accept the authorities that God has put in your life. Part of honoring is accepting authority.
It takes faith to accept that God would have a hand in who our parents are. Particularly if the parents are abusive, or neglectful. That God would use you, would use your situation, to go with you through that, that you may be used in a unique way to possibly minister to others who have suffered similar experiences and through all of it, you may find God. And have a relationship with the heavenly Father who loves you, cares for you, sacrifices for you, and wants a relationship with you. He desires for you to come to Him. He is not stand-offish and He does not ignore you. God is never too busy for you. He doesn’t have bigger priorities. You are His biggest priority…