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Series: The Ten Commandments
The Fifth Commandment:
Honoring Father and Mother

Exodus 20:12, NRSV
Ephesians 6:1-4, NRSV

Reflections

In one sense the modern world began as Freud’s attempt to kill his father ended in the killing of God. Freud taught us to believe that we ought to hate the ones who produced us, to render ourselves into our own creators through therapy. We so want to be gods unto ourselves. Yet nothing is quite as ontologically revealing as our belly button. This is only one of the teachings of [this] commandment. By nothing that we are creatures, creations of mothers and fathers, the Decalogue tells us that we have life as a gift. We are begotten, not manufactured. Someone even changed our diapers, our first hint of what grace must be like. No wonder some of us despite our parents, for they are visible, ever-present reminder that we were created, that the significance of our lives is not exclusively self-derived.

— William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas
The Truth About God

  • The Commandments are Good News for people living with God
  • “Honor” as in being serious about the relationship with your parents
  • Don’t dishonor, don’t insult, don’t disrespect
  • C.S. Lewis’ wife, Joy Davidman, wrote in her book “Smoke on the Mountain”, about a story of mistreating elder parents
  • New Testament expands this commandment: Honor everyone
  • Not part of commandment:
    • affection and feeling
    • absolute obedience
  • “Obey your parents in the Lord”
  • We need to forgive our parents, to make things right with relationships of others

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