Honoring Mothers

Honoring Mothers

The apostle Paul wrote that we are to honor our mothers and fathers (Eph. 6:1-3). Yet, he does not provide any age limit; in fact, Paul wrote this to adults. We honor our mothers in many ways. We honor them with gifts; we honor them by listening to them, and some honor them by attending worship with them on special occasions, such as on Mother’s Day. In the aforementioned text, I believe we may see some things that we as children and fathers could do to honor our mothers (and the mothers of our children).

mothers watch over their family

Mothers watch over their family.

We honor our mothers by understanding the principle of submission (Eph. 6:1). God has never changed His mind about the lesson of obedience. We cannot be right with God and wrong with our parents. The older brother of Luke 15 learned this. When he came in from the field, he was very disrespectful to his father. His relationship with his father was strained because of his strained relationship with his brother (Luke 15:28-32). Thus, the principle is this—if our relationship with our parents is strained, we are going to have difficulty with our relationship with our Father in heaven! We must submit to our parents. It is a sin to disobey them. When we break a rule with our parents, we are sinning against God. Many times, parents are contributing to their children’s lack of submission by not teaching and reinforcing their children to obey from a very young age, because if they do not start when they are toddlers, when they grow older, they learn to disrespect all forms of authority. Some parents say of their disobedient children, “Well, he is just full of mischief,” but trust me, parents, there is a difference between a child be – ing mischievous and being disobedient! In Romans 1, Paul described a group of the most wicked people written in the Bible, and among these are those who are disobedient to their parents (Rom. 1:30).

We honor our mothers by understanding the principle of sufficiency (Eph. 6:1-2). Many people have a hard time with the principle of submission, but it is understandable in view of American culture—a culture that renounces submission and declares independence. The reason we have a hard time with submission is this principle of sufficiency. For example, if we have a hard time submitting to parents, God, elders or others in authority, then it may be that we need to ask God to help us. Are we allowing the Lord to help us, or are we resisting the Lord’s help? We all have thought, “My parents are way behind the times; they are twenty years out of step with what is ongoing today.” If so, maybe we need to pray. Notice the phrase, “…in the Lord” (Eph. 6:1). Some people think that this command ap – plies to parents who are Christians, but it does not! The point is that if we want to be right with the Lord, then we have to obey and honor our parents. Thus, we are to honor them because of the help they provide for us: Paul asks, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). The answer is in the next chapter: “…but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5). In fact, Paul records Jesus saying to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9).

We honor our mothers by understanding the principle of survival (Eph. 6:3). The reason that we are to submit to them and to have our sufficiency in God is so that we might have a long life. No one knows how much longer our nation will stand if our homes keep crumbling the way that they are. “Except the Lord builds the house…except the Lord keeps the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain” (Ps. 127:1). Indeed, we live in a nation that is rotting and decaying from the inside. I am afraid one day that God is going to become tired of looking on our sin and his longsuffering will cease (2 Pet. 3:9).

Moreover, since God made Eve to be a helper to Adam, and fathers are foolish if we do not listen to the mother of our children, especially when it comes to child-rearing, then we can honor the mothers of our children by being devoted to the family (Eph. 6:4a). If we took the negative out, it would read, “Fathers, love your children,” because the opposite of provoke is to devote. The mothers of our children want us fathers to carry out the responsibilities of being the Christian father in the home. Many men are devoted to many things—work, hobbies and other interests, but how many men are truly devoted to their families? Dr. James Dobson said, “The greatest threat to the American home is the passive father.” This is the father who is not devoted and who lets the mother do everything that the father should be doing. Fathers, you may be working many, many hours per week, and you may feel as if you are too tired, but do not be pas – sive! If so, it will destroy the home, the nation and the church of our Lord. Why did Paul address this only to fathers? I believe it is because Paul knew the tendency of fathers to become passive, and that mothers would do their jobs without question. The burden of rearing and training the children is not anywhere placed upon the mothers, but the fathers are the spiritual leaders of the home.

Fathers can honor the mothers of their children by understanding the necessity of discipline (Eph. 6:4b). The inspired sage stated, “He that spareth his rod, spoileth the child” (Prov. 13:24), and “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). Naturally, we are not talking about child abuse. I grew up in a time and home where my mother and father spanked me if I did something wrong, but they did not abuse me. We have become so afraid of child abuse today that we have often become non-disciplined, and we are suffering because of it (cf. Heb. 12:6-11).

Fathers can honor the mothers of their children by understanding the principle of direction (Eph. 6:4c). In which direction are we fathers leading our families? People often blame the church when they need to be looking inwardly. Jesus can make our families what they ought to be! Jesus can make the family of God what it ought to be! The only gift that we have from God to take with us to heaven is our children. If we understood the impact of this, it might make a difference with us!

While many children are honoring their mothers, let us not turn a blind eye to those who are hurting or struggling. Many children are celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time without their mother. Many females are struggling with Mother’s Day because they cannot be mothers. Let us be sure to pray for them. If God has still blessed us with our mothers, then let us honor them, just as Paul declared!

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