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Honor Your Father

Honor. Morality. Virtue. Loyalty. Patriotism. Kindness. Diligence. Humility.

July 19, 2021


NOTE: I had planned to publish a Father's Day article on - Father's Day. But I don't need to tell you about all the important news that has competed for our attention in the past few weeks. I guess it's never too late to honor our fathers….


Honor. Morality. Virtue. Loyalty. Patriotism. Kindness. Diligence. Humility.

These are words we seldom hear today. If someone uses any of these words they sound – sort of old-fashioned. They are not. They are the foundation of a civil society. They just sound old-fashioned because the only time we come across them is in old movies and books.

Liberals openly mock anyone who utters these words. And it is no surprise, since their heroes are foul-mouthed “comedians,” spoiled multi-millionaire sports figures who complain they don’t get paid enough, ignorant entertainers who think popularity gives them wisdom, corrupt public officials like fired FBI Director James Comey and Andrew McCabe (acting attorney general) who used secret courts to persecute their political enemies, people like Obama and Hillary who allowed diplomats to die for political gain, or the other Clinton who had state troopers in Arkansas and secret service agents at the White House sneak women in so he could bed them.

It is no wonder that children of liberals grow up with a distorted worldview. They think that those of us who actually work should support them while they do drugs and get drunk. They think the world revolves around them. These are the people who think they have the right to take over an American city and hold hundreds of people hostage while they rape, murder, and extort.

Children brought up by fathers who understand these words honor their fathers. They do so because God’s Word commands them to, but also because these fathers deserve to be honored.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." 

‘Honor your father and mother’ -  which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on the earth.’” ~ Ephesians 6:1-3

When these words were written, they weren’t addressing only little children. As I said in my ode to mothers a few weeks ago, “You will always be your parents’ child no matter how old you grow.” And you should honor them all the days of their lives. Don’t be one of the millions of people who bury their parents with regret that they hadn’t done all they could to honor and love them.

Those admonishments in Ephesians come from the Ten Commandments. There are many other commandments in the Word, but Paul goes out of his way to point out that this “is the first commandment with a promise.” He doesn’t say. “This is the only commandment with a promise,” because there are many. “You do this, and I’ll do that for you.” Sort of an ancient “quid pro quo.”

So why does he emphasize that this is the first commandment with a promise attached? It is because the family is more important than the Church, or our nation. It is even more important than God’s chosen people, Israel.

Neither the church nor the nation can function without the basic building block we call the family. For example, he admonishes children to “obey your parents.” If they don’t learn this at home, where will they learn it? Certainly not in the permissive atmospheres of our schools and colleges.

Remember that our educational system and its primarily liberal administrators and senior teachers are aging Hippies. They gave us “Free love” and “If it feels good, do it.” In other words, forget about marriage. If it feels good to get drunk or do drugs, forget about the fact that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and defile it. If you “love” (lust after) someone, go ahead and have sex with them. And by the way, we have hundreds of free condoms for you, so you can fornicate without consequences.

If children don’t learn obedience at home, they won’t submit to spiritual authority in the church. If they feel they don’t have to obey anyone, they will break laws and end up in jail.

Let me quote from my Mother’s Day article, because these lists I created apply equally to fathers and to mothers.

  • What does it mean to “honor” your father? Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean
  • For you young people, it doesn’t mean saying, “Yes, sir” and then disobeying him when he isn’t looking.
  • It doesn’t mean politely listening when he teaches or admonishes you, and then rolling your eyes or ridiculing him to your siblings or friends. He may not see this, but God is watching.
  • When you’re older, it doesn’t mean sending him a Father’s day card once a year and forgetting about him the rest of the time.
  • It doesn’t mean having breakfast or lunch with him once a week out of a sense of obligation or duty.

So then, what does it mean to “honor” your father?

We get a clue in Ephesians 6. Obedience is important. But “honor” goes much further than mere obedience - especially if your obedience is grudging or insincere. Remember the little boy who said, “All right I’ll sit down. But I’m standing up on the inside.”

Remember that God placed your parents in a role in which they represent God to you and your brothers and sisters. To honor and obey your parents is to honor and obey God.

Another way we must honor our fathers is to respect them. In fact, the same Hebrew word (Qal) is translated as “respect” or “honor” in both of the following verses:

"Every person must respect his mother and his father." ~ Leviticus 19:3)
"God your Lord you shall respect, Him you shall serve." ~ Deuteronomy 

Qal means “to fear, reverence, honor, respect.” So, just as we are admonished to fear, reverence, honor, respect God, we are told to give the very same respect and honor to our parents.

“But my dad doesn’t show me respect.” That doesn’t matter. God doesn’t say, “Respect your father if he gives you respect.” He simply says, “Respect him.” By obeying the Word, you may see the situation change. But whether it does or not, you must still obey the Word.

Here are some practical things you can do to honor your father – on Father’s Day and on every other day of the year. You may find them boring or tedious, but remember – this isn’t about you. It’s about honoring him.

  • Pray for him. It’s pretty hard to be rude or disrespectful to someone for whom you are earnestly praying.
  • Make him look good. Being a good person reflects on your father. What more could a parent ask?
  • Listen to his stories. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard them many times before. Parents feel responsible to share what God has taught them. Besides, you may learn something!
  • Tell him about your life. By the time many children reach their tweens, they have often stopped talking to their parents except with mumbles or one-word sentences. “How was school today?” “Fine.” Or “Did you enjoy visiting your grandparents?” “It was OK.” Believe it or not, your father hungers to know about and be part of your life. And this doesn’t change when you become an adult.
  • Show some interest in his life. So what if his work as an accountant isn’t exciting to you? Do you really think he found it exciting to sit in the hot sun at every one of your baseball games? Do you think he was enthralled to hear you play your violin out of tune at your music recital? But he was enthusiastic and praised your efforts. How about returning the favor?

A little kindness goes a long way. Give your father the gift of kindness. Not because you should, but because you genuinely want to honor him. If you have trouble with that at first, try a selfish reason: “That it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on the earth.”

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Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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