Honor Thy Mother

By Mike Mazzalongo Topic: Marriage and Family Posted: Sun. May 12th
In this lesson, Mike explains the various ways a person can fulfill the command to honor one's mother.

This Sunday and next Sunday are special days for two sets of individuals in the church. Today is Mother's Day, a day we set aside to honor our mother's for their contribution to our lives, for giving us our lives, and their contribution thereafter to our lives. And next Sunday will be graduation Sunday, the time when we honor our graduating seniors for their good work and success. It is interesting to note that these two events fall on subsequent Sundays most years because there's a definite connection between the two and here it is.

On this special day, there's nothing that brings greater honor upon mothers of these graduates than the success they have achieved at this point in their lives. And so graduates and future and past graduates, your mothers can receive no better gift, no better honor, than observing you as you successfully navigate the various mile markers of life as maturing adults and graduation from school, technical school, college, high school, whatever. It's certainly an important marker point in life.

You see when the Bible talks about children and their parents, the basic command is to honor, not love. You ever notice that? The command is not love your mother, love your father. It's honor your mother. Honor your father. Honor your father and your mother and I suppose God knew that it would not always be possible to love our mothers for one reason or another. I know that's a kind of a little negative thing but not everybody is able to full out love their mothers for a lot of different reasons and I think that God knew that. That's why he said we should honor our mothers and honor our fathers.

And obedience is for children because there comes a time when we're not under our mother's authority anymore. So therefore honor is the word.

Honor is a life time attitude towards our parents, regardless of age, circumstances or the type of relationship we have with them. We may have arrived at a point in our lives where there is little hero worship attitude left in our hearts for our parents. It's always nice. Little kids they think their dad is just the strongest, the best and they think their moms are just wow. Nobody's mom is like my mom, that's hero worship. But there comes a time when we begin to see our parent's weaknesses and failings. We begin to see their limits. We begin to see them as human beings.

Even if our education and success has eclipsed our parent's education and success, we still owe them honor because honor is the default setting when it comes to our attitude concerning our parents. Maybe you can't love your mother but you can always honor your mother.

What does it mean actually to honor your mother? Well, basically it means that you live your life in such a way that it brings honor to her. What you do, how you live makes her receive honor because of you. This is whether she deserves it or not. Honoring your mother is not based on what kind of person or mother she was. It's based on what kind of person you are. Big difference.

When you honor your mother in this way, you transcend the kind of upbringing you have had and you place parental relationships on a spiritual level. It's a command of God and our obedience is based on our faith in God not the character of our parents. To honor one's mother not only blesses her and blesses you, it is also a way of honoring God who provided your mother as the giver of your life. No matter what else she has done, good or bad, she is your mother. She and no one else gave you life and for that, for that alone, she deserves your honor for a lifetime. Now living in such a way that honors your mother is a general principle to guide you in obeying this command of the Lord.

In our modern society, there are some practical ways that this can be accomplished. So aside from the success that you've obtained in school or career, here are some ways that sons and daughters can honor their mother. Just a few things that I wish to share with you.

How to Honor your Mother

1. Grow Up

There is no honor to mother if she has to support grown children who are capable of doing so themselves. There is no honor to mother if she has to continually clean up after her children because they refuse to take on their own responsibilities. You honor your mother when you develop the maturity and responsibility to care for yourself and your own family.

Now, of course, sometimes it's necessary for her to step in. There's emergencies. The baby's being born and all. Of course, we get that. We get that. But taking your place as a useful adult in society is the basic number one way of honoring your mother.

2. Focus on Her

They say parenting is forever because it seems that you always worry about your children no matter how old they are. But there comes a time however, when children have to begin considering their mothers as a person with needs and feelings and not simply their personal caregivers. We honor our mothers when the feelings and attention and consideration shown on Mother's Day becomes our natural response and approach to our mothers every day, every day. We know we're honoring our mother's when we are serving her as much as she is serving us.

3. Develop an Independent Faith

The happiest day of a Christian mother's life is when her children follow Jesus Christ because it's important to them not just important to her. You know a good example of this is Samson, the Old Testament. Samson, a typical child who had great potential but never wanted to live up to it. He was constantly encouraged by his mother to live up to his calling that God had given him, but he refused and he lived a wild life.

Finally, when he was captured and blinded and chained, did he call out sincerely to God for one last surge of strength that he used to defeat God's enemies and he was killed doing it. There was no prouder day for Samson's mother than on the day that he died because on that day he finally submitted his whole life to God without his mother's encouragement.

Whether parents are faithful or not, is not the issue. When children are faithful and fruitful servants of God, moms and dads receive the reflected honor from the Godly lives of their children. Nothing brings greater joy and a purer sense of satisfaction to a Christian mother, than seeing her son or daughter devote themselves willingly and wholeheartedly to the same Lord she has served all of her life.

So next Sunday we will call out the names of our high school or college graduates and we'll honor them for their achievements. But on this day, we know that this action will also bestow on the mothers of these young people the rightful honor that is due to them and due to them because of their suffering, because of their patience, because of their forgiveness, because of their hard work, because of never giving up hope for their children, because they love their children no matter what.

The Bible says, "Give honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7). And on this wonderful day we're happy to honor those women who are in many ways, the heart and the soul of this congregation. As we contemplate these things, we also want to provide the opportunity for anyone, anyone who needs the ministry of the church, to receive it at this time. And so on Mother's Day, believe it or not, if you're ready to come to Christ in repentance and baptism, we encourage you to respond now and not only will the angels in heaven be rejoicing, but your mother will be rejoicing as well.

And if you have fallen in to sin and need the prayers of the church before God for forgiveness and strength, then we also encourage you to come now and believe it or not the prayers of your mother are probably a large reason why you are here and maybe deciding to come forward this morning and if you need help to be a better mom, or a better father or to be better towards your mothers and fathers, we encourage you to come now.

And if you need the prayers of the church for your own spiritual or physical health or for someone else, then we encourage you to come. And if you desire to identify with this congregation, then also please come as we will be standing and singing a song of encouragement.

I wish certainly a happy and a blessed Mother's Day to everyone. My prayers are for the many here who's mothers have passed on and like me, will never say again, Happy Mother's Day Mom. My prayers are for you if you belong to that club.

"We are a small congregation with no full-time minister. We have depended on video material from BibleTalk.tv for quality scriptural lessons that would have otherwise been unavailable to us. While we do supplement this with visiting preachers, Mike's work has been the cornerstone of our Sunday morning sermons."


Bill Schlarb, Bruce Veinot
for the Ottawa West Church of Christ