With Father’s Day just around the corner (I understand that different countries celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on different days, but in Malaysia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, and Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June), let’s pause for a moment and thank God for our fathers and for all that they have done for us. God had commanded us to “Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV). This commandment is the fifth one, and it is the first commandment regarding our relationship with others. The first four commandments are about our relationships to God.
The word “honour” (τίμα) is translated as: to determine the value of something. When we honour our parents, we are saying that they are so valuable in our eyes (as well as in God’s eyes).
How do we honour our parents? Here are 5 ways we can honour our parents (another 5 will be in the Part 2):
Treat them with respect
When we show frustrations and resentments to our parents by our actions and speech, it shows that we are not grateful for all that they had done for us. Also, we are not respectful of the authority God has ordained to them.
They are one of the most important people to us. They deserve our respect in our actions, speech and behavior.
List down all the things that you appreciate about them. It can be the things they have done for you throughout the years, or what you love about them. Read the list to them on special occasions such as Parent’s Day, on their birthdays or on their wedding anniversaries. This activity reminds us to be grateful for all that they have done for us, making us the people we are today.
“Honour 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).
Spend time with them and communicate with them
Visit your parents as often as you can. My dad still visits his mother once a week before the lockdown. If you are living in another town or country, calling them on the phone or video call them regularly. Sometimes life gets the better of us and we neglect spending time with our parents. But your visit or your call is definitely a highlight for them. They can’t wait to hear from you!
God had created us for relationships, and the first relationships we had were with our parents. Show them that we care by asking them about their day, ask them questions about their childhood or younger days, talk about the topics of their interest and listen to them. Such conversations will deepen the bonds with our parents.
Speak your parents’ love language
In his book, “The 5 Love Languages”, Gary Chapman listed five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. These love languages help to express and experience love between partners but I guess the same applies to our parents as well. Does your mother love to receive gifts? Does helping her with a chore bring her more delight? Does your father enjoy doing something together with you? Knowing your parents’ love languages will make them feel loved and appreciated.
Pray for them (and with them)
Praying for our parents is one of the best gifts we can give them. Commit them into the loving hands of God. Pray for wisdom of the Lord to guide them in every decision they have to make. Pray for God’s peace and love to surround them. Pray also for protection for our aging parents as they may slip and fall.
Honouring our parents is our duty. Let’s do so with much joy and love. I will see you in the Part 2!