Ephesians 6:2-3 (GW)
2 “Honor your father and mother 3 that everything may go well for you, and you may have a long life on earth.” This is an important commandment with a promise.
The Ten Commandments can be divided into two sections. The first section deals with our vertical relationship, that is, our relationship with God. It shows us how we are to live in relationship with God, our Creator, our heavenly Father.
The second section deals with our horizontal relationships. It shows how we are to live out our relationship with God among our fellow humans.
Put simply, how you live out the first section (vertical) will determine how well you live out the second section (horizontal). But also, how you live out the second section (horizontal) shows how you are doing living out the first section (horizontal).
Sound complicated? The Apostle John summarizes the vertical/ horizontal relationship this way in 1 John 4:20 (GW).20 Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen.
The very first commandment of how we live out our faith horizontally is Honor your father and mother. This is the very first earthly relationship that we encounter. How we treat our parents reflects how we think about God and how we treat God.
So, what does this mean for us today?
First, as children, we should obey our parents. Children who regularly and purposely disobey their parents will also regularly and purposely disobey other sources of authority in their lives. If you refuse to obey your parents, whom you owe your very existence to, it won’t be hard to disobey all other authorities that come into your life. This is one reason why our prisons and detention centers are full to overflowing.
Second, how we as children take care of our aging parents determines how our children will take care of us as we grow older. Galatians 6:7 (GW) 7 Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you'll harvest.
If as children, we willfully disobey our parents, it can shorten our life. Life in prison is rough. Rebelling against authorities can lead to other negative consequences on our health and wellbeing. This can then shorten our lives.
If we teach our children that people who have grown old do not matter, or are a nuisance, what do we expect from our children when we grow older? Shouldn’t we expect to be marginalized and ill-treated? This, too, will lead to a shorter life and often a less joyful life in our old age.
These are some of the natural consequences of not heeding Ephesians 6:2-3. Can you think of others?