by Pastor Terry Gurno
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
Family is so precious. It’s absolutely priceless.
God knows that, and that’s why he places such high value on the family. Relationship with God, then relationship with family. That’s not by accident, that’s by design.
For those of you we prayed for (In the Introduction), I pray God has been able to speak to you. Really what I am praying for is this would be a freeing message. God is not asking you to live in denial. He is not asking you to deny your feelings. He is asking you to be honest with them, and face them, so that you are not holding on to bitterness or unforgiveness and just passing them on.
Then you can be the training center within your homes that God intended you to be. I want to challenge you, if you struggle with this, find one thing to honor your parents for.
I came from a broken home, an abusive home, and my Dad left. As an adult, I had to find a reason to love my Dad because I knew that God had called me to love him.
Well, I love going to the beach. I love people, I love to talk, I love to learn, I drive around this area and I think we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I love life, despite of how I was raised. And you know what? My dad gave me my life.
So I want to challenge you, find one thing that you can honor your parents for.
Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, taught a class and there was a couple in there by the name of Bill and Kathy Piel.
It was the first day of class and Howard said, “I want you to take out a piece of paper and I want you to divide it down the middle. On one side, I want you to write down all the positive things your parents have invested in your life. On the other side, I want you to write all the negative things.
So the class began to do this and Kathy, who did not have a great childhood or great parents began to list all the negatives. She could not think of one thing positive, not one good influence. A little bit of bitterness and a little bit of resentment mingled with a little bit of pride and she said, “Isn’t it amazing how well I turned out considering all the things they didn’t invest in my life.”
Howard asked the class to put their pencils down and said, “If you cant think of anything to put on the positive side, anything that they did right, then you are living your life from a base of extreme immaturity.”
For those of you who have had some real pain, that can be pretty tough to hear. But it’s the truth. I determined as a young man that I am not going to use anybody else as an excuse for the way I live my life or my emotional well being. I refuse to do it.
God is calling us to grow up. God is calling us to maturity, God is calling us to honesty. This Commandment is not impossible, but in order for it to work we must experience God’s grace in our lives. We need to work out these issues, to resolve them, we need to ask for and receive forgiveness.
It is possible and it is worth it.
Kathy then found a poem that fit right along with this:
“As you travel, my brother, whatever be your goal,
keep your eye on the doughnut, and not on the hole.”
God’s Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit changes lives. If you don’t see your life changing, let me suggest two things.
One: You are not in his Word enough. Two: You are not giving the Holy Spirit the freedom to move in your life.
I challenge you because that is the only way this commandment can be lived out.
Jesus, thank you for loving me. I come to you today just as I am and I am receiving your gift. I am sorry for my sin. I have broken your heart and I am separated from you. I acknowledge that, I confess my sin. Please forgive me and I am receiving your love, Jesus.
Thank you for not giving up on me and I ask you teach me how to live for you day by day. Jesus, you know me, my heart, my family dynamics, you know I need you. You know I need this lived out in my life and through my life. I cannot do it on my own, I need your help and I need your Holy Spirit. Jesus, help me work through the issues in my family. Thank you Jesus, thank you for wholeness, in your name, Amen.