Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 60:1-22; Luke 1:39-56

The Fourth Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” What does this mean? “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them.” (The Small Catechism)

The word for “honor” has to it something of the idea of “heavy,” or “weighty.” That’s what your parents used to say back in the 60’s, when they thought they were so cool: “Heavy, man; that’s heavy!” To honor someone means you see them as “heavy,” or “weighty.”

This commandment is instructing you to cherish your parents, to look past what you consider to be their faults, to forgive their sins, and to love them as you love yourself.

To emphasize this, God places them right next to Himself. He uses Commandments 1, 2 and 3 to refer to how we should love and honor Him. But right there next to Himself, in Commandment 4, He places your mom and dad. That’s how weighty, or significant, He deems them. He commands you: Do the same.

The problem is our hearts so hard, so far away from the things of God, that we always want to justify our sins against the Fourth Commandment, rather than confess them. “My parents don’t understand me; that’s why I treat them the way I do. My parents don’t realize how busy and stressed out I am; that’s why I don’t always obey them. My parents don’t seem to care; that’s why I hate them.” For all that, you and I have earned the anger and wrath of God.

We’ve earned the same when it comes to other authorities. “My teacher is so mean; that’s why I misbehave in class. My boss doesn’t get me; that’s why I treat him like I do. My president doesn’t stand for the things I stand for; that is why I say such bad things about him, and don’t pray for his good.”

Confess your sins. Ask for God’s help in turning you from them. Then, rejoice that the kingdom of God is yours because all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, Who has washed your sins away in Holy Baptism. That’s not just “heavy,” it’s salvation.

‘You are to honor and obey Your father, mother, ev’ry day, Serve them each way that comes to hand; You’ll then live long in the land.’ Have mercy, Lord!” (LSB #581 st.5)

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