Updated: Aug 7, 2020
It’s no where near Mother’s day, but I could not wait to write about this topic. Honor is something that most people would die for, give their life for, or even steal. Honor is a universal language that can be spoken about through families for generations. Outside of the family, honor is also necessary in the church, the workplace, in governmental organizations, and many other important environments. Honor is even given to those with destructive and unproductive motives. According to the Bible, Romans 13:7 states, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.(KJV)”. So when you hear people saying, “give honor where honor is due”, more than likely this is what they are paraphrasing. In today’s society, where honor is given to so many undeserving individuals, where do you place honor?
Many will ask this question, even though it seems like an obvious answer. Some individuals have a misconception of honor and when to apply it. When focusing on mother-daughter and even the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationships, it has been an “ancient” issue that mothers and daughters, and mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws sometimes do not get along and have been divided. When division occurs, honor seems like the last item on the mother-daughter agenda. For instance, Luke 12:53 states, “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Notice it doesn’t say anything about father-in-law against son-in-law, and son-in-law against father-in-law. So, it was very common that these female relationship dynamics can be an emotional roller coaster.
These kinds of relationships were also discussed in the book of Ruth. In the book of Ruth is a unique perspective that the Lord shares with us on how to have and maintain a healthy mother-daughter relationship. Here we can examine, Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in-law) who has lost both her children and only have two daughter-in-laws to assist her in fulfilling her purpose as the matriarch of the family, which is a huge honor. Naomi seems to be in a place in her life where she feels like her honor has been stripped away. The bible doesn’t mention any strife or division between Naomi and Ruth but there were many opportunities that could have arose. Ruth had a choice, like her sister-in-law Orpah, to leave Naomi and return to her native home. Instead, Ruth chose to honor (respect, obey, care for) Naomi. The next time you go to the bible, read how Ruth expresses her desperation to show Naomi honor.
Dishonor towards parents is similar to avoiding rendering a payment for a service which is considered STEALING. Exodus 20:21 states, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (KJV)”. In the modern day translation, it means, “Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.” So after reading this statement, I gather that if I do not honor, my days will be subtracted. But if I honor my folks I will live longer. The second part seems like a good place for honor and sounds like a pretty good deal to me. In all seriousness, Exodus 20:21 states the fifth commandment given to Moses by God in the Old Testament. It is the first commandment in the Bible associated with a promise. There are many promises in the Bible which God honors its fulfillment.
When we don’t honor a promise (covenant, vow, rendering of payment) to the Lord, we are cursed. But what if we did not live in a culture where we knew about honor? Ruth, like myself, was not born a Jew. She was actually a Moabite woman. She must have heard about this commandment when she learned the customs of the Jews. I will assume this was a principle she was taught and was careful to apply it at that time of her life. As the book of Ruth concludes, Ruth’s life prospered tremendously-not cursed. Once Orpah left, that was the last that you heard of her. I believe Ruth made it her business to incorporate this into her new culture.
As a daughter, honoring my mother has not always been easy. In fact, it has been a huge challenge. When I became a teenager, I became very rebellious towards my mother. I even made some life-changing choices that caused division between me and mother. It’s sad to admit how much stress I put on my mother as a teenager and young adult. I have seen where my mother endured pain, shame, and embarrassment, and cried tears because I refused to live a life that included honoring her. It was about five years ago that I made it my priority to devote myself to honoring my mother before I got older. Once, I realized I was in some much error, I began to work on integrating these biblical principles I mentioned earlier.
The rest of Malachi 4:6 states, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Even though this mentions fathers, this also applies to mothers too. I also knew that I didn’t want to be cursed. It was important to the assignment of my life, my purpose, my calling, and my destiny, that HONOR became an intricate part of my love language towards not only my mother but towards the Lord. I didn’t know what my story was going to look like and I even began to question God. It probably sounded something like this to Him: “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions (Malachi 3:7)”. There was a VERY BIG payment that was due, and it was time to clear up all my debts. President Donald Trump could not help me with this one. So, I began praying for days my mother’s heart would be healed from my mistakes, that one day our relationship would be reconciled, and that she would receive me as I honor her. Can I submit to you that God answers prayer?
Mastering honor is a spiritual concept. The bible says that you will reap what you sow. Since I began sowing honor back into my mother I have experienced the blessing of the Lord. I thought about my son and the other children that will be born after him, and how they will honor me as their mother. If they are an another generation of myself, then I pray that they will strive to honor me as I have towards to my mother. I am confident in Proverbs 10:22 that states, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
We must get back to re-establishing the honor we once had for our mothers. It breeds prosperity, wealth, and long life. Where do we place honor? Place it deep in your heart towards your mother. A mother’s honor is worth denying yourself for. Mother’s can have many children, but children can be birthed from one mother.