There has been certain times in life that my whole body contorted and began to cry because of a hidden memory or sentiment that hit me like a freight train. Sometimes I understand why, sometimes i have no clue. One of those of times was in the back seat of my best friends car with my heart being torn apart. I yelled at God for the first time in my life with wet eyes. We were better friends afterwards.
One of these times, to a lesser extent, happens when I smell Nivea moisturizer, or books and a pot of tea. I haven’t lived with my parents since I was 19, but I miss their familiarity, their smells, their laugh.
It happened again this week. My parents love music. They have always had records playing since I was born. We would all sing along, we would know every word to some albums. And I realised this week that I didn’t have a computer copy of Paul Simons ‘Graceland’ which I have always held up as one of the perfect albums. I hadn’t heard it all for a long time. So i got a computer copy and pressed play and, it happened.
My heart was arrested by all the incredible memories of my childhood wrapped up in 5 seconds of music.
I love my parents. And they have never made a secret of their love of me. In fact, I love them so much that I still get chills down my spine every time my Dad tells me he’s proud of what I’m doing, even tho he says it often.
They are my heroes, the greatest backers.
I think that a lot of the security I have in who i am is because of how they brought me up. Always encouraging, always speaking life. And our relationship has never been all that sour because I respect them, and attempt honouring them as much as I can.
Which has meant, that their house has always been a safe space and their presence is like a transportable safe space.
As if, even as a 29 year old,
my Dad could still rescue me from anything, cape and all.
They also had three other children and other pseudo children who feel the same way. I have many friends who try to get invited over just so they can sit with my parents.
In the bible there is this line:
‘Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.’
We aren’t walking into the promise land as the worlds biggest refugee camp. But the principle still stands. And as Paul Simon reminded me, I am living proof of this principle.
The Israelites knew about evil. It wasn’t a foreign concept to them. They had just lived under 400 years of oppression. Oppression does some interesting things to a person. I once met a man who explained that to relieve pressure and discomfort we will sometimes put ourselves or others in different stressful positions to relieve the former stress, then we change back to relieve the stress from the second position. We go back and forth from these two and end up in a place of confusion and disillusionment. In that environment, why not sell your kids? Why not beat your mother? Why not run away? Why not do things that in any other situation is almost insane, as long as it gives you comfort for a moment?
Out of this, God proclaims some interesting absolutes. One of them being – honour your mother and father. Put effort in to making your household feel comfortable. Work hard at loving, serving, submitting, fighting for the relationship between you and those that gave you life.
What happens when followers in any shape of an organisation, support their leadership?
Flip that, what happens to leadership, when they have to hold up the followers?
Their arms get tired, they get easily stressed and flustered trying to think about a billion things at once.
We will always be following someone, and we will always be leading someone. This is how God has designed us. So why not learn how to act in that environment in the safest place?
God was calling the people of Israel to love and honour from the bottom up. Don’t wait to be loved, just love. As we love our parents, and honour their place in our lives, we will automatically begin to love and enjoy our kids and show that honour to them. Beginning an amazing system and cycle of love and honour, that builds into society at large a safety, that permeates into neighbourhoods, education systems, governance, economics etc.
My Dad spent a good amount of time and effort making sure that i knew that I was loved, that i could do anything i set out to do in life. Some people won’t treat us right, but they need to be treated with love and respect.
His words became like an armour for me during high school. My mothers blunt truth combined with overwhelming comforting love, made sure their words went deep. I lived with huge conviction on my life that certain things shouldn’t even be thought about. They protected me from darkness and a large amount of rebellion.
If we get our armour and our convictions in family, even less-than-perfect families, we can model that same honour to our leaders at all levels.
God is a genius. He called the people to HONOUR.
Honour goes way past blind obedience. Honour gets to know a person, gives unique and specific gifts, relationally responds in times of need and of want.
We are to honour our parents, because then we will live long in the lands God gives us.
So what does that mean for nations?
What does a whole nation of parent honourers look like?