Proverbs 23:22 (NLT)
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
The trouble usually starts in your teen years. You see how “out of touch” your parents are with your life and with kids your age and so you just stop listening…or you listen, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Disrespect usually goes along with the increasing tension and by the time you are a junior or senior in high school, you can hardly wait “to get out.” College isn’t just about getting an education but about getting out on your own…out from underneath your parent’s authority and ignorance.
For many of us, that tension and disrespect fades by the time we hit 30 as our maturity serves to open our eyes to the reality that our parents weren’t as dumb or as disconnected as we thought. It turns out there actually are some timeless truths that every young person would be wise to know, accept, and follow. Hopefully, our relationship with our parents takes a turn for the better, but every once in a while, or perhaps more regularly for some of us, our parents try to reassert themselves into our lives via parenting advice or just comments here and there about how we are choosing to live. Perhaps you became a Believer while your parents are still without Christ and that causes a different kind of tension.
Enter today’s verse.
I learned several years ago that one of the best ways to honor my parents was simply to stop being so argumentative…and trust me, that wasn’t very easy to do. To take the time to listen and realize that they still had some wisdom that I could benefit from. Most of the time I didn’t agree with them, but I tried hard not to be disagreeable. We also had to be smart about how much time we were spending together as to not make that loving balance too hard to maintain. Honoring your father and mother is the only one of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise, and that should tell us a lot about the heart of our Heavenly Father on this subject. God does not call us to remain under our parent’s authority, nor does He call us to agree with all of their opinions nor remain subject to any abusive behavior they may exhibit. But He does call us to at least listen…and He certainly calls us to not despise. Is that too much to ask?