When I was 22 years old I was blessed to live in Thailand for 2 years and soak up Thai culture. Oh how I love experiencing different cultures! They stretch me, get me out of my comfort zone, and help me see life from a different world view. (Plus, let’s just be honest. Eating authentic food might just be my #1 love language.)
While I was there I was amazed at the level of honor and respect that was given to elders. Children don’t ask why they should honor their parents. Adults don’t question respecting their elders. They. Just. Do. This idea is ingrained in Thai culture.
Children are taught to speak politely, to “wai” (putting hands together and bowing) when greeting, and to help their parents in various ways. It’s normal to see parents living with their adult children or adults moving in with their parents to help take care of them.
I didn’t realize it then, but now I know that God was planting seeds in in my heart because just seven years later, I was going to be inviting my parents to live with me! What? Here? In America? Were they sick? Nope. Were they poor? Nope. They were two healthy, 60-year-old missionaries that were coming home from living in Africa, and we just wanted to be closer. And now, 18 years later, my parents are still living with us, and my father-in-law just moved in as well. (And let me tell you. We’re all now real close. 🙂 )
Honor. It is ingrained into Thai culture. But what about American culture? What about the culture of MY home? My life? What does it look like for ME to live out a culture of honor?
Romans 12:9-10 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Outdo one another in showing honor. Wow. What a way to view relationships! I mean, I think it’s natural to feel a sense of honor and respect when our lead pastors walk in the room, or when the head executive of the company asks to see us, or when our favorite speaker is talking on stage… but what about day to day?
God tells us to outdo one another in showing honor. That means when my mom wants to tell me something she’s already told me, I stop what I’m doing to give her my full attention. That means when I’m frustrated with my husband, I don’t post negative comments about him on facebook but ask my close prayer friends if they will hold me accountable with my attitude and pray for my marriage. That means when my kids are really having a strong opinion, I don’t brush them off but instead take into consideration what they are saying.
The beauty of honoring my parents by having them live with us is that I know my kids are watching. And I’ve heard the saying that “some things are better caught than taught.”
Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, this is the 1st commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
As we show honor, our kids will do what we do. And honoring our parents is Biblical! We ALL are to honor our parents. And even if our parents are living a lifestyle that doesn’t align with our values, we can still honor them by speaking well of them, praying for them, and even setting healthy and loving boundaries.
But regardless of who our parents are, the sweet part about it is that God built in a PROMISE that when we show honor, things will go well and we will live a long life! Now THAT is a promise that I want not only for me and my husband, but for our kids as well.
Journal / Reflection Questions:
1. What does a culture of honor look like in your home?
2. What are ways you could show your children that honor brings blessing to them?
3. How could you increase your honor towards your own parents?
4. Who are other people in your life that God wants you to increase honor towards and what does that look like?
Sarah Legband is a stay-at-home-mom who manages a multi-generational household (1 husband, 2 young kids, and 3 grandparents). She also leads Substance Moms and enjoys speaking and blogging through her site, sarahelizabeth.org. Some of her favorite things are salsa-dancing, physical touch (love language), and Thai food.