Let My People Think

Honor your parents

Some Biblical ideas have implied links in the causal chain of reasoning that you have to explicitly reconstruct in order to properly understand the meaning. For instance, this teaching (elaborating on Exodus 20:12):

Ephesians 6:2-3
2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Notice that there is a gap of reasoning between honoring father and mother (cause) and “that it may be well with you …” (effect).

Some will try to place God into it as an active agent, sort of putting him into a micromanagement mode and seeing him produce the cause directly. I don’t see anything in the text supporting God as an active agent of that causality.

Instead, my proposal is this. God designed humankind in such a way that subsequent generations garner character, wisdom, and experience from prior generations, most of that coming directly through their parent. Honoring your parents gives you the most direct access to that pathway. Also notice how it additionally benefits not only children, but parents also, thus preserving the hereditary chain of wisdom and caring for every link of it along the way.

Here’s are two passages from the book of Proverbs (there are several more in it) that provide that missing causal link to help explain the above passage:

Proverbs 6
20 My son, keep your father’s command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you roam, they[b] will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,

Proverbs 4
3 When I was my father’s son,
Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 He also taught me, and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.
5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

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