Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (HCSB)
I had a somewhat complicated relationship with my parents. I wasn’t an easy, compliant child. I asked a lot of questions. Leaving home and establishing my own home was very important to me. Ten years or so after I left home, my father was diagnosed with cancer. I am very grateful that God healed me and showed me many truths about my childhood and about my own parental shortcomings. As I freely received mercy from God so I found I was able to freely give mercy to others, including my parents. My father and I were able to ask forgiveness from each other. That is still a precious memory to me. Unfortunately my mother and I did not have the same opportunity.
I have many friends who are caring for their elderly parents. It can be a very difficult season.
Timing. Most children who find themselves with parents who can no longer stay in their own homes alone and/or require some medical care, may still have responsibilities to their own children. They are working full time; need to work full time. The parents and children may live in different cities which demands someone to move.
Relationships. Human relationships are ‘funny’ things. They require work and wise choices. Adult children may have memories which makes caring for their elderly parents a joy – or not. As I said, God is faithful and wants us to be healed from wounds to our hearts. God has enough love and forgiveness to give us if we ask for it.
Expense. Unfortunately, long-term care is very expensive and can last for years.
I say all of this to look again at God’s command to honor our parents. It is the only command that comes with a promise.
I believe the key to giving “honor” to our parents is our heart. Whether we care for our parents in their home, our home or we make sure they are cared for in a long-term care home, the decisions we make must be with wisdom and with unconditional love. And why should we do that? Sometimes “because God said so” maybe all we have to answer. But most can say it is because our parents gave us so much, unconditionally, as we were growing up. And now, in their weakening years, we have an opportunity to care for them unconditionally. It can be a precious season that brings healing and memories that will last.
Some biblical translations say “respect” instead of honor. Both words in God’s command imply to me that I give this to my parents by choice. Whatever our relationship with our parents, when God opens this door to allow us to honor and respect our parents, may we be found faithful just as our LORD is faithful. I believe whatever we do to bless our parents will come back to us as blessings, by God’s promise.
I chose this song to share today because it speaks about not always understanding God’s timing. But we can reach out and know God’s love. Hold on to that and peace, if not understanding, will come.
Sissy’s Song written & sung by Alan Jackson