the skinbag

December 24, 2015

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Ok, here’s the presupposition; since we are not (Me not anyone else) politically correct or in the ‘tolerant zone’ here’s the theory, some bum walks into your church, he’s a total loser, a walking skin bag, an air breather gone bad; and he tells you he’s tired of being a loser and wants a new start.

 

What do you tell him and where do you start?

Here’s the theory, every person you meet that has gone to loserville, has probably started the journey with a first step, and the step is, at some early part of his life he dishonored his parents.

 

After 40+ years of counseling this group falls into one of two categories; they are either unredeemable or they are grossly guilty of dishonoring their parents.

 

So let’s start there;

 

The subject of honoring our parents is one of great import. One reason for its importance is that both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures command us to honor our parents.19 The Fifth Commandment states, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment must be taken seriously, not only because it is a matter of Old Testament revelation, but because the obligation to honor parents is one that is reiterated and reinforced by the New Testament:

 

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 be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3).

 

Thus, honoring our parents is a command, which we dare not ignore. But there is a second reason for carefully studying the Fifth Commandment. Honoring our parents is one of the highest callings and the greatest tasks we face in life. There are two great tasks in life to which most of us are called. The first is the bearing and raising of children, to bring them from the absolute dependence of the womb, to the independence of adolescence, to the maturity of adulthood. The second is the caring for our own parents in their declining years. Often this involves the deterioration of the physical body, and frequently of the mind. The raising of children has its pains, but it usually is accompanied by the joy of seeing our children grow up, become mature and responsible, and independent. The caring for our parents is seldom as rewarding. The culmination of this process is the grave.

 

Honoring parents confronts the Christian with numerous problems, most of which are the source of great agony, and frequently of much guilt. We may have to decide whether or not to have an elderly parent live in our homes with us, or to place them in a rest home. We may even be called upon to decide whether or not to “pull the plug” on machines that artificially preserve life (or prolong death). We may have to make decisions which our parents disagree with and for which they (or others) may accuse us of being unloving.

 

With all of these problems related to honoring our parents, one would expect a great deal of help from Christian literature, but this is not so. Much has been written and said to help Christians raise their children. While I have heard a great deal (sometimes, too much) about the responsibility of parents to their children, I have not seen anything definitive on the responsibility of children to their parents. At best, such teaching pertains almost entirely to the obligation of young children to obey their parents. At worst, the teaching on honoring parents is distorted. Some have taught that parental authority should always be exercised, if not in the form of directive statements, in a poorly defined form of “chain of counsel.” Some would have us think that placing a parent in a rest home is an unpardonable sin.

 

The third reason for a thorough study of the Fifth Commandment is that our culture most often hinders and opposes our efforts to honor our parents. In the culture of the ancient Near East, there was a much higher regard for those in positions of authority (in general) and for parents in particular. Even today, the Chinese, for example, undergird honoring parents through the unbiblical practice of ancestor worship. This is, needless to say, not a practice I would advocate. It does, however, encourage a deep respect for parents and the elderly which is not present in our country.

several factors tend to undermine honoring parents.

 

(1) There is the impact of technology. In previous generations fathers were often craftsmen, who had learned their trade from their fathers. It took a son years to match his own father in skills, and he would only gradually pass him up. By this time, the father was advanced in years. Fathers died earlier, and did not have the life support systems available in today’s hospitals. Now, a child in elementary school may be learning things that parents never heard of. Who of us, for example, would want to try to explain some of the math our kids are being taught in school? Thus, each new generation quickly surpasses the preceding generation in the knowledge it possesses. There is much temptation for the younger generation to think of its parents as out of date, antiquated in thinking. In a society where knowledge is prized more than wisdom, the older generation is fortunate to be respected, let alone honored, by the younger generation.

 

(2) Because of the rapid increase of divorce, children are often called upon to honor one parent and to despise the other. Neither parent can seem to tolerate the thought of the former mate having the respect of their child. If this were not bad enough, Freudian Psychology has provided each generation with an excuse to blame all of its problems on its forebearers. Countless expeditions into the parental past has provided many individuals with an expensive excursion into past history in order to pin the blame for their sins on someone else, often one or both parents.

 

(3) If it is possible to pin the blame for our problems on someone else, it is also easy to pin the responsibility of caring for aging parents on someone else. Perhaps more than any other time in history, we are looking to the government to carry much of the burden families have borne in providing for the needs of their aging parents. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs are viewed as the means for handling our obligation as children to our parents.

The term “honor” is one that has a kind of archaic ring to it, one that is seldom used in everyday speech. It is therefore necessary for us to come to terms with what is meant by “honor” as it is used in the Bible. We will first look at honor in its broader usage, and then narrow its use down to the honoring of parents as commanded in the Old Testament.

 

(1) Giving honor is personal. In the Bible, only persons are honored, not things. We do not honor paintings or great works of art, or things of value, we honor only people. We would also say that honor is rendered by people to people. More specifically, honor is bestowed by a person to a person. Honor cannot be self-designated, but must come from another: “And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (Hebrews 5:4).

 

(2) Giving honor is preferential. When we honor someone, we distinguish them above someone else. Honoring someone sets them above others. “… give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10). Honoring parents means to think highly of them, in contrast to esteeming them lightly: “Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the Lord declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed’” (1 Samuel 2:30).

 

(3) Honor is positional. When people are honored in the Bible, they are honored largely because of the position they hold. Those whom we are commanded to honor in the Bible are most often those who hold a certain position of distinction. God is honored because He is the Sovereign God of the Universe. Kings, rulers, elders, and masters are all to be given honor. Parents, too, are to be honored for their position in the family. Thus honor has to do with the position, power, and dignity that a person has above and beyond others.

 

(4) Giving honor is practical. Honoring another requires more than mere lip service: “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote’” (Isaiah 29:13). That honor which God requires of man is an honor which translates into very practical terms, whether it be directed Godward or manward.

 

(5) Honor is public. The act of honoring parents begins with an attitude of respect for them. Thus we read in the Law, “Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My Sabbaths; I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:3). The outflow of the attitude of reverence is the action of honoring, and action which is generally public. Thus, both husband and children are exhorted to give the godly woman praise in a public place:

 

Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:28-31).

 

The evidences of a “dishonorable” child were public, and thus the persistently and willfully rebellious child was to be disciplined (executed) in a public ceremony:

 

“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear” (Deut. 21:18-21).

Well we are going to stop there and do the rest of this tomorrow.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

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