Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Recently, I mean literally moments ago God revealed something to me about respect. First let me give you the background at how I arrived at this revelation.
I was scrolling through some pictures when I came across a photo of my dad who passes away in 2010. My dad was not an easy man to deal with; his choices in life made things very difficult on others causing them both physical and emotional pain, now before we go any further it’s not my intentions to talk badly about my dad, but rather to bring my point out. You see I was always taught to respect my parents no matter what and one thing that really gets me upset is when I see a child being disrespectful to their parent(s). In all my life I never once even joking around told my parents to shut up or I hate you. As a school bus driver, I’ve heard many excuses as to why a parent didn’t deserve a child’s respect and some of them have been heartbreaking, which leads me to my point.
Here’s the problem with deserving respect. I was under the misconception that respect was something that was earned and that’s not always true. Respect is like the grace that God gives us. It’s not earned or deserved it’s just given out of love. I learned a very valuable lesson from my dad. In no way did he “earn” my respect, but I gave it to him anyway, not because of the things he had or hadn’t done, not because he loved me because that too was questionable, but because I loved him. He was my father, a part of him is who I am and although I’m not like him in many ways there are parts of me that are like him. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I get a glimpse of his eyes or that Nelson nose or chin. When I hear my sons talk, I hear his voice. You see I have life, I have children and grandchildren because of my parents. I had every reason to disrespect my dad and be filled with anger and hate, but what good would that have done? Would it have changed what he did or who he was? No, but by showing him respect I had freedom. Freedom from the burden of hate, freedom from anger, freedom from guilt and mostly freedom to love. Because of respect I was able to bring my dad into my then new home and hold his hand while he passed. My dad didn’t leave this world alone as many would think he deserved.
I thank God for the respect that He put in me for my dad. It has helped me understand grace better. When I see what Jesus went through on his way to and on the cross my mind tells me that God should be angry with me, hate me and leave me alone to die, but He doesn’t because he loves me. He has hopes of me achieving so much more through that grace and love.
This Father’s Day let us have respect in our hearts for our earthly parents and for our Heavenly Father.