With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day just ahead, how would you rate yourself on honoring your father and mother? Do you treat it as a Hallmark holiday or a command? It is a command, the one command with a promise – “… that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Ex.20:12). Does that provide motivation or do you see honor as an Old Testament thing?
Dennis Rainey has written a wonderful book titled, The Forgotten Commandment, in which he shares his greatest regret as a son – that he failed to truly honor his father before he passed. Dennis lost his dad suddenly at the age of sixty-six. Subsequently, he wrote a tribute to his dad identifying several character traits, qualities and experiences he remembered as a boy and he read it to his kids. He did the same thing for his mom but got to read his tribute to her in person. In the book, Dennis talks about the importance of the tribute and how it has blessed his family.
“Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:2-3. Here, Paul provides a New Testament context to the 5th commandment. It is the bridge between the first four commands with how one is to relate to God, and last five commands on how one is to relate to others; It is a bridge between the spiritual realm and the physical realm; and it is a bridge across the generations calling each new generation to honor the father and mother that raised them. By God’s grace I was granted the opportunity 34 years ago to honor the dad that raised me by asking forgiveness for dishonoring him most of my life. That time of reconciliation closed the door on generational sin and opened the door to generational healing. And true to His promise, the Father has glorified Himself in my marriage and family relationships.
Here is a 3-Point charge to all dads:
- Make time to meet with your father - initiate discussion around what life experiences shaped him as a father and the challenges he faced ‘being Dad’ when you were a kid. (If your dad has passed or is not accessible, meet with another gentleman in the church close to the age of your father.)
- Write a letter of thanks to your dad citing a specific experience or two you remember as a kid. If you are convicted of taking him for granted or of passing judgment on him due to perceived shortfalls, acknowledge that, confess and ask for forgiveness. Keep the focus on honoring your father with full respect for the life journey that shaped his perspective on fathering. Present the letter to your dad and read it to him. (If your dad has passed or is not accessible, read the letter to your kids and include a story about your dad.)
- Commit to grow as a father – be a study of the Heavenly Father and of fathering. Commit to completing one study for dads with a small group or with at least one other dad across the summer. Click HERE to gain access to a downloadable pdf and video teaching of Faithful Fathering’s studies.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your Word and for being our Father. I confess that I have fallen well short of Your command to truly honor my father and mother. Forgive me. Thank You for guiding me through that valley of life and opening my heart to honor well. Soften hearts of fathers to truly honor well and glorify Yourself through generational healing in family. You are an awesome God and a faithful Father! Amen.
A faithful father accepts the 3-Point charge to honor well.