Sunday, August 10, 2014

More Keys to Right Living

Today we will attempt to deal with a couple of the truly difficult commandments in search for the keys to right living.  Again, scripture references are Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5.

"Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy."  I do not propose to discuss the issue of the meaning of the term "sabbath day."  Suffice it to say that I view the commandment as an admonition, nay demand, that we observe one day of the week in rest, for that is the crux of the matter.

It is not right and meet that anyone spend every day of his existence in labor.  The human spirit, mind and soul, and the human body are not designed to function perpetually like an automaton.  God made us, He knows us, so in our best interest He charged us to "take a day off."

Unfortunately, in this day of frenetic living, this commandment is observed more in the breach than in the practice, both within and outside the church.   In my opinion, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy," does not mean fill your day of rest with a different kind of frenetic activity.

"Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth."  This may be an even more difficult admonition to deal with.  If you were blessed with parents who modeled right living this commandment may be easier to fulfill than it would be were a parent, or parents, dissolute or cold, or were even abusive and treated the child in seriously ugly ways.  How to honor such parents?

We might start by noting that "honor" and "respect" are not synonymous terms.  Respect is earned, and where earned, respect will be given.  In the event, the parents gave us life. To honor the parent may require forgiveness, indeed we forgive whether or not the forgiveness is sought.  We forgive, not to benefit the unworthy, but we forgive to our own benefit, for to carry the luggage of unforgiveness is a burden too great to bear.  It will ultimately stifle any possibility for spiritual growth.

To follow faithfully these two admonitions, reflect again on Jesus's teaching that we looked at earlier, namely, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.  Master key to right living in all its aspects.

 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:13


Jim Grey said...

I've concluded that you can't honor that which is not honorable. This is not meant to be used as an easy excuse not to honor one's parents, but as a last resort when all other means have failed.

vanilla said...

Jim, perhaps it is the case that to be a credit to the human race is to show honor to the parent, even were he himself not honorable?

Vee said...

My "day of rest" now includes afternoons at a nursing home visiting a good friend and his wife (who stays with him every day for at least six hours). Tiring, but not frenetic, and very fulfilling! I think when I was growing up, the Sabbath was presented in my church as though we lived in Old Testament times and could actually observe as they were required to observe. When the rules had to be broken because of practicality, it caused confusion for the young. However, the way Christians ignore the Sabbath now disrespects their bodies and opportunities for physical and spiritual renewal. The Sabbath is not for punishment and self-denial, but rather for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

I recognize that no one is perfect, so it's easy for me to understand that my parents did the things they did for reasons that I sometimes did not understand. I feel blessed that neither of my parents were alcoholics or suffered from mental illness, and that they both worked hard to insure that that I lived in a warm, clean home and was never hungry. I can handle that they wanted me to be well-behaved and unselfish, therefore, I recognize that discipline and church-going requirements were because they loved me and wanted me to be a good person. I know adults who had alcoholic or mentally ill parents who are more forgiving toward their parents than some who weren't allowed to dance or got spankings for breaking the rules of the home. ("It's all about me" behavior that is unbecoming to any adult - in my opinion.)

vanilla said...

Vee, your comment is a well-stated and much appreciated addition to the reflections on the commandments. Blessings.

KC Bob said...

Like your perspective V.

I wonder how our day of rest ever morphed into one of religious activity?

Love the idea that we can honor our parents even when they are not living respectable lives. Perhaps this is the heart of what it means to love the unlovable?

Happy Sunday!

vanilla said...

KC Bob, it may well be that the commandment to love is the most difficult of them all. It is certainly the key to them all.

Sharkbytes said...

Love compels us to love the unlovely because love is not a feeling. Ditto with honor in this context. We treat someone honorably whether they deserve it or not. In neither case are we required to like those people in the sense that we would want them for close friends.