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Vantage point

Undeserving mothers?

A mother in one church I pastored refused to stand when we honored mothers each Mother’s Day in our morning services. “I don’t believe,” she would say, “that anyone should be honored for the simple biological fact that she has borne a child.”

Did she have a point? There have certainly been many women who were not good mothers. And the number of unwed mothers has exploded. We might think, Why should we honor them?

And yet, the Bible puts a premium on the role of being a parent. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV). Children must honor their parents regardless of how their parents live. This does not imply that children must condone the ungodliness of parents. Rather it indicates that, regardless of sins or even crimes, a child-parent bond remains.

How can a Christian honor an ungodly parent? One definition of honor is “a showing of usually merited respect” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). But how can you honor a parent who does not merit that respect?

When you honor someone, you show your desire that they receive what is best for them. All of us who know Christ have received more than we deserve. He honored us with His death, when there was nothing to recommend us for honor. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Instead of what we deserved, we received grace. In the fifth commandment, God instructs children to do the same with the parents who seem undeserving of honor.

How does one sincerely pay such honor to a mother who is far from God? By continuing to do what is best for her — doing anything possible to bring her into the Kingdom. By praying ceaselessly, being like Jesus in front of her, and trying to lead her to Christ.

There are many ways to honor a mother. What better way than to bring her into the Lord’s presence and introduce her to Jesus.

Ken Horn

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