Good Morning and Happy Mother’s day everyone! My name is Phil Human and it’s my pleasure to speak with you today about honoring our mothers. Today is a day for everyone here. Out of curiosity, show of hands here – how many of you were given birth to by a woman? Yes, nearly 100% of you. Which means that Mothers Day is for all of us. The day we set aside to celebrate our moms.
I hope you have a great day celebrating it today. And I think it’s a good time to remind moms that when it comes to Mother’s Day it truly is the thought that counts. Not everyone is a great gift giver.
It’s the thought that counts – I found some fun examples of well intentioned mothers day gifts.
- Here’s a kid who has a heart of gold. Dumb as a rock but a heart of gold.
- Here’s a kid who is fond of his mother, not so much his mothers cooking.
- Here’s a sweet note- from Hallmarks “Mother’s Day Card from Prison” series.
- Here’s a person who just got Dad in trouble on Mother’s Day – poor guy.
- Here’s a young lady who writes one of the sweetest answers ever – Mom’s purse is full of love!
- But I get the feeling that she is making up for a previous answer. Laughs when I cry. (You didn’t think I’d end on a sweet one, did you?
- Well, I will end on a sweet one. This young child pretty much sums up mother’s day sentiments…
We celebrate Mothers Day today – and it’s a day worth celebrating.
3500 years ago Moses was given the Ten Commandments on top of Mount Sinai. It is the summation of the law. Smack in the middle of the ten commandments is this command:
12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
3500 years ago – in a time and culture that was extremely patriarchal – God makes sure, from the very beginning, that we understand that mother and father are positioned side by side in his org chart. God/Parents. Both Mother and Father are to be given honor by their children.
Why does God want us to honor our parents? For a variety of reasons, but the biggest is because your parents had the exact DNA that he wanted in order to create you exactly the way God wanted you to be. You are not an accident.
Your parents might not have planned for you, but God did. There might be parents who became parents by accident, but you are no accident, God wanted to create a you – a unique and beautiful work of art. And God decided that your parents had what he wanted to make it happen.
There might be illegitimate parents – but there are no illegitimate children. Not all parents are good parents. Not all moms were skilled mothers. But the deal is that God was more interested in creating you than in their parenting skills.
It’s God who created you, who has plans for you, who quite literally stitched your DNA together in order to make you, perfectly you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
God created you and it is God who delights in you and in the kind of human being you are in the process of becoming. But His plan started with your mother and your father. And it is his desire that we honor them.
So what I want to do today is talk about how to honor our parents through the different stages of our life. Because our relationship changes with our mother as we get older – and so what does the Bible have to say to us through these stages.
- As a child – I honor my mother by obeying her.
Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
There are three authority structures that are laid out to us in the bible. All three authorities are designed for our blessing and protection.
Biblically, we are to submit to the authority of our government. The government – a good government – will protect its citizens, and be a source of blessing.
Biblically, we are supposed to submit to the authority of the local church. A church leadership – a good one – will be a source of protection and blessing to you.
Biblically, we are supposed to submit to the authority of our parents. Parents – good parents – will be a source of blessing and protection to you.
Unfortunately, when people who are in authority, abuse their authority, then what was meant for blessing and protection, becomes instead a vehicle for pain and suffering. And there are plenty examples of abuses of authority in all three spheres.
But of the three spheres, there is none more hurtful than when a parent uses their authority in an abusive way towards their children. Mothers and Fathers are not supposed to hurt their children. It cuts the deepest and the pain lasts the longest of any type of abuse.
At the end of the sermon I’ll address those of you who have had to endure the horror of a parent who abused them. But for the time being allow me to direct my thoughts towards the larger percentage of people who grew up in a “normal” house.
By normal, I mean, with parents who are imperfect and flawed. And I will tell you, nothing will get you in touch with your flaws like becoming a parent. You have a child and you think – huh, I thought I was going to rock this deal, turns out I got issues. “Normal Parents are flawed and imperfect.
But ‘normal’ also means that mom and dad are trying their very best to make good decisions for their children. To protect and bless their kids.
So it is the job of a mother and father to teach her children to obey their parents. And it is the role of a child to learn to obey their Mom and Dad.
Children – Obey your mother. Your mom is a smart cookie. She’s probably saved your life about a dozen times when you were a toddler. On Friday I was driving by the park and here comes this little toddler running full on towards the street – “I’m going to go hug a moving truck!” But right behind is mom booking it after that kid to save that dumb little kids life.
So knock it off and do what she says, for crying out loud! She knows a lot more about life than you do. Children – honor your mom by obeying her.
Now God, in his grace, pretty much more or less – some better than others – programs children to understand that mom and Dad are the bosses. Generally speaking, God in his goodness gives you about 11 years of children who understand or acknowledge the org chart. And then, about year 12 – boom goes the dynamite!
You wake up one day and your child has left the building and you have a teen and you think, what happened? Remember when your child used to run to you when she saw you at elementary school! You can come on the field trip? So Cool!!!!
Then one day your daughter says – Mom- if you ever come by the school, please pretend that you don’t know me – and nothing personal, but I am going to pretend I don’t you. But it’s only because you are soooo embarrassing. Nothing personal.
Now teens – I’m going to speak about you with your mom. And I will speak in generalities. Generally these things are true. You might be an exception. I am not trying to offend you – and you can feel free to disagree with me. I’d say – maybe these things could be a good conversation over lunch – maybe not so much.
Anyway – Mom – what happens to your kid? Well, of all the changes going on in their bodies, the biggest change is going on in their brains. How they think – is changing.
Your dear child is now able to think about thinking. And it’s a good thing – this higher level thinking – but when they first start going through it it can lead to some difficult times.
What does this lead to? Three things. 1. They tend to become idealistic. Teens can imagine what they think the perfect parent might look like, and guess who it ain’t? It ain’t you. And in fact, you are probably not in the top half.
Compounding the problem? Teens become critical. They start picking out inconsistencies and flaws. Your kid will start to notice things about you they never noticed before. Their new found ability to think and compare means that they can start picking out faults in you that you are quite aware are there, but you don’t really want to hear your child tell you all the ways you are messed up. And so sometimes they can say very hurtful things, and I want to encourage you not to take it personally.
- They become more argumentative. They are able to think of valid reasons why you should give their request more consideration. Unfortunately, it is the rare teen who learns how to disagree with their parents respectfully – and, to be honest, it usually takes some seasoning for parents to learn that as their kids get older, they deserve an opportunity to be able to appeal your decision.
And so I encourage parents to give their kids a chance to calmly explain why you should let them do what they are asking, and then our job is to listen to them and give them a fair hearing. It’s okay to change your mind at times.
Teens are thinking at an entirely new level and sometimes it can be messy. I just want to encourage you mom. Your teen is not evil – just inexperienced.
Now that I’ve said all that – let me talk to teenagers specifically about how you can honor your mother as a teenager. And there are two words I want to leave with you that will help you honor your parents and make your relationship with them stronger than ever. What are these two words?
- Respect. You want your parents to start seeing you as an adult? It will not happen until you treat them respectfully. And every once in a while I hear someone try to say, “I will give them respect when they start showing me respect.” And I will tell you that you have it backwards.
Your parents love you and take seriously their role to protect you – and sometimes they might make decisions you disagree with, but you will never convince your parents to trust you if you are disrespectful.
Speak to them respectfully. Speak about them respectfully. And above all things – disagree with them respectfully. Learn how to make your case like an adult would. And don’t revert to child-like temper tantrums if you don’t get your way. It’s counter productive.
Second word: Accept your parents. They are not perfect. They will never try to convince you they are. How about you give them a break and accept that even their shortcomings are normal human shortcomings. Don’t hold them to impossible standards. Accept them as flawed human beings who have learned and are learning to put up with your flaws too.
And that means also accepting their efforts to parent you. They are truly trying their best and you honor them by accepting their decisions.
Honoring your parents is to Respect and Accept them.
And teen – one of the benefits of thinking at a higher level is the ability to bless your mom at a higher level. To be able to form words that express your love and appreciation to her. Put a little effort into blessing your mom today.
Now let’s talk about the last phase…
How do we honor our mothers as an adult? I see four ways.
Proverbs 23:25 So give your father and mother joy!
May she who gave you birth be happy.
As adults we get the privilege of being a source of joy to our parents. So how might we honor our parents as adults?
When we were kids, the word “please” went a long way with our parents. As adults, the words “Thank You” go even further. We adults honor our parents when we express our appreciation to them.
You know, there were probably times in your life when you were a real pain in the butt to your parents. Ever take the time to acknowledge that and thank your parents for sticking with you? For trying their level best?
We bring them joy when we are specific about the things we appreciate about how they raised us. Let’s be the grown up kind of children who express appreciation to our mothers for their efforts and for the sacrifices they made to raise us.
Our parents, as they get older – they need less stuff. They don’t need many things any more. But they have a powerful need in their soul to know they have made a difference in our lives. That they have shaped us in some positive way.
Our parents deserve to feel the honor that is due them for the job they did in raising us. Look them in the eyes and tell them how they have contributed to your life. What have they taught you that you are passing on, or planning to pass on, to the next generation?
Second word: Ask their advice.
As adults, we aren’t required to obey our parents anymore. But how kind to involve them in decisions of life. Parents understand that you might not take their opinion, but they will have appreciated the opportunity to be heard. Your parents are smart cookies, you know.
It’s a little easier to do this when you are a younger adult than it is when you get older. The older you get the more you think you know everything there is to know.
the result however might be, that the older you get, the less significant you feel. Older parents often feel sidelined – unimportant, insignificant. So let’s be the kind of adult children who honor our parents by inviting their wisdom into our lives.
Three: Spend Time with her.
My Mother – God bless her – every time she calls me she says – Am I bothering you? Are you busy? She also usually asks me if she woke me up – like at 11am she will ask me – Did I wake you? C’mon mom.
But you know, I don’t know why my mom says that – maybe your mom is the same way. She feels like my world is spinning at a thousand miles an hour and she is genuinely concerned that she is a burden to me. And I have to stop and ask – am I conveying that message to my mom somehow. That somehow my life is too busy to include her? That’s far from honoring.
I have concluded that my mom might just say that to hear me say, Mom, I love you and love talking with you, and I promise I will take your call anytime I can. I promise I’m not avoiding you. And the more I call her – she lives in Wisconsin – the more I am conveying to her that I love her and need her.
Last word: Take Care of her.
Can I read you a verse from the bible? Check out 1 Timothy 5:3-4
3 Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. 4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.
It is God’s plan that we make room in our life to care for our elderly parents. It pleases God when he sees us care for them. And I know that life is difficult. Jody and I are in the “Sandwich years” – Raising our children, and at the same time caring for our parents as well. It’s a different kind of stress than the stresses we faced with young children.
There are stresses involved, but it is above all things – a blessing to do it.
When Jesus was on the cross one of the last things he did on the cross was to call out to one of his best friends John – he looks at John and says – John – take care of my mom. Take care of my mom. He was a good son. He transfers care of his mother to his best friend, John. Look after my mother, John.
It’s that important, that we care for our aging parents. Jesus modeled it on the cross.
Now, in closing, a word to those in this room who have had to experience abuse from those who were supposed to love.
And I’ll start by reminding us that Jesus was abundantly clear that the person who injures or abuses a child is going to be dealt with most severely. Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone hang around your neck than to engage in harming children.
If you had a mother who hurt you, then today is very painful indeed. You are reminded once again of that fundamental need in a person’s life that was denied to you. And so may God pour out his compassion on you today and bless you.
Let me share two words with you today about how to honor even a dishonorable mom.
First, I think it is honoring to face the reality of what you went though, and how it affected you, and to seek ways to be healed from it. Don’t flee from your past, face it -with courage and dignity and strength. Run at it, not away from it.
Facing unfinished business of your past will break these generational sins and free future generations from the bondage and the hurt they cause.
There are moms in here who have children who will never understand what you had to face as a child yourself. And with God at your side they never will, because you, Mom, were willing to face those issues.
We at Journey will subsidize anyone here who would like to speak with a professional christian counselor. And information is in the bulletin and on our website about how to get that started.
The counseling will not cost you more than $25 a session with or without insurance. We foot the bill from our assistance fund – and do so with joy and gladness each month. You can even write it on your communication card and we will send you the info.
Face your past. Deal with unfinished business so you can push forward with your life and with your own children and family.
Secondly, And lastly, I want to remind you that it shows honor to someone when you make efforts to forgive them.
Forgiveness is not an acknowledgement that what happened is okay – it certainly isn’t. But forgiving someone cuts you free from them, and guards your hearts against bitterness.
Finally, be encouraged that Our heavenly Father is a parent, unlike any other.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
He will never desert us – never leave us, never forsake us. Never fail us. He is the parent we always wished our parents could have been. And he is with you always.
Lord, for many – mothers day is a difficult day – comfort them Lord.
- For those who have lost a child through miscarriage or death – comfort them.
- For those unable to conceive – Bless them.
- For those who have been hurt by their children – comfort them.
- For those who have lost a mom, or mom’s who have lost children – Be compassionate and bring comfort Dear Lord!
- Bless those who have given birth, or adopted children since last year.
- Bless the grandmothers in the room.
- For step moms, spiritual moms, foster moms – thank you Lord.
- We celebrate women carrying babies in their bodies right now. We thank you for our moms in every stage of life. We thank you for mothers and pray your blessing upon them today.