What does honor look like to you? I saw a picture not long ago that communicated this concept to me. It was a picture of a young woman bowing low before an older woman. The caption read that the younger woman had been crowned Miss Thailand (not sure about that) and she had come home after her crowning to her mother’s house. The picture was their first reunion. The contrast was startling, for here was this young woman, full of life, well-dressed, and beautiful, her whole life ahead of her. But she was choosing to honor her mother, a shabbily-dressed woman for whom it seemed life had passed by. It was as if to say, everything I am, everything I have accomplished, I owe it all to my mother. I think that is honoring your mother.
It’s strange, considering our world today, how many forget this. Consider that our very existence depended on a chance. We were not guaranteed, but that the person you are today depended on the chance encounter between an ovum and a sperm. It could have been any one of a million sperm. But God knew. And you were conceived. Your mother carried you for nine uncomfortable months. Your father, hopefully, worked hard to raise you for 18 years. They put in a great deal of effort to make sure you would not only survive, but succeed. That’s big.
Today we honor our father’s particularly. These are the men who gave up their dreams and rights to make sure their own children would be able to achieve their own. Do you think your father wanted to watch Barney or Blue’s Clues? Do you think he wanted to go to work everyday? We don’t often account for the sacrifices our fathers make for us, but they did. And there should always be a place in your to honor them.
That being said, I’ve have had too many tell me horror stories about their parents, especially those that took advantage of their children, abused their children, and made their children sacrifice for them. You know, even if you grew up in that kind of household, that that wasn’t right. The shame and wrongness of it violated your inner sense of justice and rightness about what a father (and a mother) really are. But Your heavenly Father has not forgotten. I know it was hard, and part of you may blame God for letting it happen, remember that God has let you sin too. But may I appeal to all of you who know what a father ought to be and hasn’t found him yet. God is the One you’ve been looking for. He is the One who has loved you since the beginning. His love is pure, undefiled, and holy. He wants the best for you, and has offered the very best sacrifice for you to show His love. He sent His own Son, who was maligned and mistreated, and was killed, having all of his personal rights violated and taken away. But God in Christ loves you, paid for your sins, and offers you today a way back, a way forward. He wants you back. He wants to show you what love is supposed to feel like. It’s not about abuse or fulfilling His own “needs”. It’s not about shame and violation. It’s about real, honest love. He loves you, not for what you can offer Him. He loves you, regardless of how broken you are. For you deserve this love, love which has been denied you by men who were supposed to give it to you. For this is the real love of the Father who made you.
Some of us had good fathers, and we celebrate them today. Others did not. And may I invite you then to know the Good, Good Father. He longs to wrap you up in the shelter of His arms, where you will be safe, and no one will hurt you anymore. You are precious to Him. And though you may have run from Him all your life, He considers none of that. He loves in a way that no man could ever do.
Dear Father, though my own father has been a good man, I know you excel him. There’s no competition. I am glad that you blessed me with a great Dad, but my prayer is for all those who didn’t have it so good, whose fathers abused them and molested them, used them and made them ashamed to live. My prayer is for their peace, that they may know you as Father. Father please heal their heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.