The command is to: Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12. This is the commandment with a promise. It bridges the first commandments to the last; it bridges the spiritual relationship with God to the physical relationships with others; and it bridges faith from one generation to the next.
I encourage you to accept a 3-point challenge to Honor Your Father:
- First, make time to meet with your dad. Do something he enjoys but make sure the time incorporates 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 man in the church close to the age of your father or a younger dad that could be a son and have the same generational discussion.) Click HERE to view Rick’s story.
- Secondly, write a letter of thanks to your dad citing a specific experience or two growing up. It can be as simple as a “Thanks for bringing me into this world” or as comprehensive as a tribute to your dad that acknowledges time committed through your childhood years and the support provided. 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.)
- Finally, commit to grow as a father – Seek out resources and training opportunities that will encourage & equip you as a father. One easy and accessible option is the Dads Becoming Heroes study that can be completed on your own or in a small group. This study can be downloaded as a .pdf file from http://www.faithfulfathering.org/educate.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for being my Father and for the earthly father You blessed me with. Forgive me for judging my father, a man I had no right to judge. And forgive me for allowing disconnect in our relationship for too many years, similar to what Adam allowed with You. Thank You for healing the relationship as only You can heal. Strengthen me to accept the challenge to Honor My Father today and commit to becoming the father God calls me to be, the father the next generation needs.
A faithful father honors his father and his mother.