One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Home Improvement. One of the classic episodes had one of the guys give a Mother’s Day poem. He stands up, takes off his hard hat and recites all the things that his mother did for him. His last line was about his severed thumb. “But who sewed it back on, when the doctor was gone? Mother, Mother.” He then gives a thumbs up to her, smiling, and showing his crooked thumb. Most of us burst out laughing the first time we saw this.
While the poem was a joke about all things that a mother does, the reality is that mothers really do a plethora of things for their children. “A mother’s work is never done” is one of the truest sayings ever. When I think of the two women in my life who are mothers, my mom and my wife, I realize that they may never feel perfect accomplishment. There may be stages when a child uses the toilet for the first time, graduates from high school, gets married, or completes other parts of life, but there is always more work to do.
Several times in Scripture we are told to honor our parents, which of course has the idea of honoring our mothers. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” (Luke 18:20) “’Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise).” (Ephesians 6:2)
How can we honor our mothers? Is it making them breakfast in bed once every spring? Is it taking them out so they don’t have to do the dishes or cook one time? Is it making them a card out of construction paper?
First, let’s look at what the word “honor” means. It could be defined as having high respect, esteeming someone, recognizing someone, or showing distinction about someone. The word honor really is multifaceted.
So when it comes to the idea of honoring I believe that we get several things correct. When it comes to recognizing or showing distinction, I believe that we do well in this area. The problem is that while we do these things, we often reserve them to once a year.
How can we practically recognize our mothers all year? To recognize someone is to declare their value to others. Maybe share a picture on Facebook of your mother or wife and talk about some of the great things they do. Speak about them to your friends or coworkers concerning these things. Make it a practice, not something we stumble upon once a year.
What about respecting them? This is probably the harder task. If you are a child, the first way that you can respect your mother is to obey her. A child who is constantly ignoring his mother or directly disobeying her is not respecting her. The second way is that you speak to her respectfully, even when you feel that she is being unfair. There are times when we let our children discuss an issue that they would like to see have a different outcome. While we allow this, I never allow my children to speak disrespectfully to my wife when they disagree with her.They must have a pleasant tone and use kind words when making their argument.
The big question is, what if you don’t have a respectful mother (or father). Note that the verses above are not conditional. While they don’t say to let yourself be trampled by parents, or lie about who they are not, showing respect to a dishonorable parent is a Christian ethic. Several young adults I have talked to struggle with this. While your mother might act juvenile with her actions, spending, dress, language, or cause problems among other people, attempt to find something to respect her for.
First, do it because it is right. Second, maybe your mother will appreciate it so much that it could push her toward other good behaviors so that they are praised as well. Don’t lie about what your mother is like, but find what is good in her, this is a good practice.
I am blessed to have had such a great mother growing up (and still). She has a great work ethic, honors God, and serves many people in her church, family, and community. I also can say the same of my wife. She has pushed through many hard times, raised our children well, and been a constant great companion to me. I hope that you enjoy your mother, and will continue to recognize, praise, and encourage her all through the year.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.