Meditations by John Dean

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dumbing Down

(Deuteronomy 5:16 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Even though I have read through the Bible many times over the years, I find it to be even more exciting each time I read it. The Bible has the ability to do what other books are incapable of doing. It has the ability to adjust its revelation to match the reader’s mental capabilities and understanding…yet be challenging enough to draw them back for another read and deeper revelation.

The reason the Bible is so exciting to read is because it is filled with hope for today, promise for tomorrow, revelation for understanding, instruction for success and ancestral history. All scripture is exciting, but our text seems to be different because it appears to have been purposely written on the emotional edge.

According to our text, God is so high on showing honor and respect toward one’s parents that He even promises a reward to those who fulfill this command. It may seem at first like God is trying to bribe one into respectful behavior, but that is not the case at all. Receiving a reward for showing honor and respect toward one’s parents is only a smaller version of what happens when one shows their love and respect towards the Lord. We are simply learning how to treat God by practicing on our parents.

If the result of honor is a reward, then obviously the opposite is true where there is dishonor. However, not all dishonor is intentional and therefore does not carry a penalty.

I have noticed over the years when some parents or grandparents grow older their children begin patronizing them by talking down to them in the same tone one would speak to a young child…this is dishonoring. When one treats their parents as if they are incapable of being part of the decision making process when they are capable…this is dishonoring. When one makes the parents feel as though they are in the way…this is dishonoring. When the parents know that the children cannot wait for them to die…this is dishonoring.

I realize in some cases that the role between the parents and children needs to be switched due to a parent’s physical or mental condition. However, when the roles are switched prematurely then that communicates to the parents that they have “dumbed down” and are incapable of contribution. When that happens, it is obviously devastating to the parents and there is nothing they can do about it.

I am also aware that the term “dumbed down” is not a term found in the most dictionaries but I am pretty sure that every reader knows exactly what I am talking about.

I suppose the most precious example of showing honor and respect to parents was with my dear friends in Illinois. They not only had their own family living with them, but also an aged parent and grandparent at the same time. Love, honor and respect was so evident that it was as if all of this had been orchestrated by the Lord. I have thought about this family many times over the years and am aware that the Lord allowed me to see this as an object lesson.

The point of this meditation is simply showing the importance of respect and honor.

Thank You for showing us the deeper revelation of our text. As a result, we clearly see that even though our text is about children and parents…it is also a pattern of living a life of respect and honor towards others.


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