Honor your father and mother
One of the main reasons the world is not on the right track today is because believers are not following the commandments as they should, especially the fifth commandment found in Exodus 20: 12 which reads: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you,” says a number of ministers of religion.
Pastor Dave Burrows, youth ministries pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries’ Total Youth Church, says if more people followed the fifth law, many of the social ills faced in the country today could be avoided.
“Every commandment that God gives He gives for a reason,” says the youth pastor. “He knows how things work and He gave us simple instructions on how to cooperate with nature. He may not have given us all the details, but if we just listen to His word, trust Him and do as He says, we will live the lives He had planned for us.”
Pastor Burrows says the reason God gave the Fifth Commandment was because He knew the way He created the world was so it would function optimally out of the family structure, as the family is really the key to the entire well-being of all mankind. Pastor Burrows says when the family breaks down the negativity from it trickles down to other parts of society, so honoring parents, listening to them, respecting, learning from them as children is important, not only in terms of pleasing God but in surviving in this dangerous world.
“This is the first commandment that has a promise and it is rightly so. If you obey your parents you will indeed have a longer life because you will be blessed by God and stay out of the way of everyday harm. When young people do not honor or respect their parents they tend to not respect any other forms of authority which leads to major problems in society. They end up in prison, in trouble … dead even, simply by ignoring God’s commandment.”
The youth pastor believes straying from the fifth commandment is at the heart of the social problems in the country and the world. He says if the country wants to heal itself it needs to get families back together where fathers are the head, mothers the comforter and support and children are in their place — learning all they can so they can make good choices and live good lives when they are older.
The 10 commandments are not just ancient laws given to man by God through Moses as optional rules on how to honor and respect God and each other. They are also practical advice that if applied as instructed will improve the quality of life that men can lead and help man to avoid social situations that they are not supposed to experience. Learning to honor God whom we do not see is one thing, but learning to honor your fellow man whom you see and interact with daily is another, say ministers of the Word. For this reason, more than half of the commandments focus on the day to day relationships between men. With the way society is deteriorating today due to a lack of spiritual guidance and a sense of godliness ministers say it is more essential than ever that all believers know the commandments and keep them as closely as possible. The 10 commandments are as follows:
• I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; do not have any other gods before Me.
• You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
• You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
• Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
• Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
• You shall not murder.
• You shall not commit adultery.
• You shall not steal.
• You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
• You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Following the 10 commandments is a must for Christians not only because God has instructed us to do so but because man’s very existence depends upon it.
Pastor Genius Wells, senior pastor at Chapel on the Hill, says that honoring your parents is just as much about respecting God as it is about securing your own longevity through applying the wisdom of the elderly to your own life.
“The purpose of God’s commandments was to give mankind guidelines that he ought to follow in order to experience the blessings of God upon his life. In other words, the Lord is saying if you obey His guidelines then good will happen. In the case of the fifth commandment it is a true thing. For the most part I have seen good children who honor their parents live long and prosperous lives and then children who disregarded the advice of their parents be cut down. If you don’t listen to your parents and follow their advice you simply get in more problems than you need to be in and your life is significantly shortened due to stress or bad choices. So in order to experience the goodness of God we need to be reminded to honor and respect our parents as much as we can.”
Pastor Wells says honoring your parents is not just about listening to them and showing respect, but also about caring for them when they are ill, being there when they are in need, making them feel wanted in their golden years and still seeking their advice although you are grown. Ensuring your life is a reflection of their teachings and a show of honor to God are also ways to honor your parents, says the minister.
“An example I remember is growing up with [parents] always taking their children to church and Sunday School. Whether you went to church multiple times a day or a week, it was something you had to do. We gave our reverence to the house of God and we respected our parents. These traditions are handed down to us from generation to generation to help us live godly and sober lives. So how do we respect our parents? We honor them by not straying from the things they taught us from the Word of God. Unfortunately, we live in a different culture where this is not done as it used to be. You would find now in this generation that there is little honor of mother and father and even worse do not know God. Consequently, we are producing a decadent society filled with crime because honor is being given to the wrong things in life. We really need to return to the days when more people followed the commandments,” he said.
Father Andrew Toppin, assistant priest at St. George’s Anglican Church, says the fifth commandment is one that is more relevant today than it has probably ever been.
“The idea of the fifth commandment is to give honor and reverence to his or her parents. Once one achieves that required respect, God promises you longevity as a blessing. This was what God meant for His people when He gave this commandment to Moses many, many years ago. Although times have changed and time has passed, this commandment is definitely still relevant. It will never get old or stale. In fact, it may be even more relevant today due to so many changes we are experiencing in the family structure today. Nowdays, children, after their parents age and get feeble no longer have that same respect and reverence for them. In honoring your parents you do this by listening to them and do as they say. When they are older — aim to spend quality time with them. Make phone calls, take them out, do all you can to make them feel as though they are still part of the family even when you get older and have your own family.”
The priest says from what he has seen many people do not respect their parents enough, even thought he says it may not be done intentionally. He says they let themselves get so caught up in their own lives that they do not find time for their parents.
“It is important not to get so absorbed in your own affairs because the wisdom of the older generation can be lost and the longevity they were able to achieve will be lost if we don’t cherish them now. Honoring thy parents is more than just about honoring God, but is pivotal in the preservation of our own existence.”
Over the next five weeks, The Nassau Guardian will engage a number of ministers of religion on the topic of the 10 Commandments, as they dissect each one and talk about the relevance of the commandments to the twenty-first century society.