Honor Thy Father

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”- Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”- Ephesians 6:1-3 (ESV)

The Bible emphasizes honoring our fathers and mothers.

To honor parents who are loving, gentle, kind, generous and amazing is easy and expected. But how about fathers and/or mothers who are absent, abusive, hurtful? Are they still worth honoring?

What does ‘honor’ mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, to honor is to regard with great respect, and to demonstrate great esteem.

It is easier said than done. We live in a broken world. We are part of imperfect families.

Some of us have parents–mothers or fathers or both–who have failed us, hurt us or wounded us in different ways. But despite all these, we are still called to respect and esteem them, give value to their insights and be generous with them.

This cuts my heart big time. I find myself doing this toward my mother, but I find it challenging when it comes to dealing with my father.

My relationship with my father is quite complicated. We are similar in some ways, but we clash in more ways than one.

I love him from the bottom of my heart. I listen to him when he speaks. I pray for him every single day. I try my best to generously support him. But it’s not easy for me to communicate with him.

My father, in the past, has spoken words that have broken my heart. I know he didn’t mean to, but it has caused me pain. Because of this, I have erected an invisible wall to protect myself from getting hurt again.

I have forgiven my father, but I have become more careful in communicating with him. But little by little, by God’s grace, my heart is healing. I am being taught each day to cherish the relationship that I have with my father.

This month is special, not just because it’s Father’s Day, but also because it’s his 68th birthday. I want to take this time and grab this opportunity to write him a letter I hope I have the courage to let him read.

I hope that as you read this, it will encourage you to forgive, love, and honor your father no matter what kind of relationship you have with him.Here it goes.

To my Papa Rey,

I am sorry
for the many times I ignored you, disregarded you and dishonored you. I apologize for not valuing your thoughts and for withholding things that you deserve, like time and kind words. I am sorry for not always being there for you when you need me to listen and just be present. I am deeply sorry.

I forgive you
for the things that you’ve done and failed to do, the words you have spoken and failed to speak. I trust that your intentions were good, and your actions were out of love. I know you didn’t mean to, but your words have wounded my heart. I forgive you for your shortcomings and failures as a father to us, your children. I know that you tried to be the best father, and for this I thank you.

Thank you
for the wealth of wisdom you generously give, for your presence in different seasons of our lives, for loving us the best way you can, and for being a friend. Thank you for the discipline that molded us into who we are now, for the prayers you have sown into our lives and for the many valuable lessons we’ve gained from your experiences. Thank you for not giving up on our family when the world tells you otherwise.

I honor you
simply because you are my father, my flesh and blood. I will forever carry your name. Our destinies are eternally intertwined. God chose you to be my Papa and for this, I honor you. I will forever be grateful to be called your daughter.

I love you
for all that you are and all that you do. I love you because you are God’s precious gift. I will forever love you, even if many times I fail to express it in words and actions. I love you, Papa.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Your beloved daughter,

It is my prayer that we would choose to honor our fathers and mothers that it may go well with us, and we may live long in the land. His grace is sufficient, and He is faithful to keep His promise.

And to all the fathers in the world, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! What a wonderful privilege you’ve been given to be called a Dad! We honor you.

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