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From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.).
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.
Pulling It Together
The commandment to love our neighbor begins at home. We are to love others as we love ourselves—not just loving those closest to us. Still, we cannot truly love our neighbor unless we love our own family. This, of course, begins with our parents. God has not given us parents only for the purposes of them feeding, clothing, sheltering, and protecting us. For these alone, we ought to respect and love them. Yet God does not command us to obey our parents (Col 3:20) because of the things they provide. We are to obey them as though they are his own representatives to us—as though it were God himself telling us to clean our rooms, take out the trash, do our homework, and so forth. It is God’s will and command that we do so.
Prayer: Help me to respect all those you have placed in authority over me, Lord. Amen.
Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.
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