Sunday, October 7, 2007
This post is a little personal, but it must be said. Much of my life, I have been taught things that are in direct conflict to what the Scriptures states by my Dad. Not all of it, but a lot of it has been. For example, he tells me often "God helps those who help themselves" which I used to think is either untrue or I wasn't helping myself enough. Of course, it is not in the Bible, but it was a quote made by the great "theologian" Benjamin Franklin who, himself, was a deist (one who admits the possibility of the existence of a God or gods, but claims to know nothing of either, and denies revelation... hence, an unbeliever in Jesus Christ.) If I were to disagree with him, even with providing ample Scripture, I was always met with the argument, "Well, what about 'honor your mother and father'?", and apparently this was the key phrase to end all debate. For years I just put down my head and went away defeated even while having the answer right there. Even if it was something that without a doubt was totally in conflict with what the Scripture teaches, one of God's commandments are "Honor your father and your mother" so I felt I would be sinning to question him anymore. Well, that all changed when I got further in the Scriptures and realized this: There is a difference in definition of the word "honor" and the word "worship".
For years, I couldn't understand why God would give me a commandment such as "honor your parents" and also say, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."(Mat 10:34-37) They seemed to contradict at first look so, unwisely, I sided with Dad rather than Christ on most everything. Well, silly me. What I had done is not take all of Scripture into account and fell into the the modern, relativistic, ignorant mentality of not taking the time to learn the true definitions of words, but instead, just going on "the way this word makes me feel" or how what it means to other people or the culture as a whole.
The greek word for "honor" is timaō and it means:
1) to estimate, fix the value
1a) for the value of something belonging to one’s self
2) to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate
The greek word for "worship" is proskuneō and it means:
1) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (an acknowledgment of allegiance to a superior) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
1a) used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
1a1) to the Jewish high priests
1a2) to God
1a3) to Christ
1a4) to heavenly beings
1a5) to demons
Already you can see there is a vast difference between the two because one has to do with admiration and esteeming and the other has to do with acknowledging one as superior and service.
Jesus Christ said (after being tempted by Satan), "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him ONLY shall you serve.'" (Mat 4:10) My parents, your parents, or anyone else's parents have not "created the heaven and the earth" nor did they "send their only begotten Son that everyone who believes on Him should be saved." No, that was actually God. NOWHERE in the Scriptures are you going to find the command to worship your parents. You are never going to find the command to forsake a commandment of God to, instead, pay homage and give supplication to your parents over Him. Instead, you are told that if your parents tell you things that are in conflict with what God says, if you "love them more than God, you are not worthy of him and you are not worthy to be His disciple."
You see, the modern, humanistic approach to parenting has tried to integrate the two in some kind of mish-mosh way. If you don't do as the parent says, even if it is in conflict with what God says, you are automatically "a bad kid" because you are supposed to "honor your parents". Well, you should honor your parents. There is no argument about that. You should "fix a value, revere, and esteem your parents highly". What you are not commanded to do is "kneel to give acknowledgment of them as a superior to God" or "give homage" to your parents over God. Worship which includes obeying the commandment to honor your parents is only to be reckoned to God. In that way, you really do "love God by keeping his commandments." If you obey your parent over something that God says, you are, in fact, not loving God and definitely not worshiping or obeying him. You are "exchanging the truth of God for a lie and worshiping and serving a creature rather than the creator who is to be praised forever, amen." (Rom 1:25) If God were to say, "Pick up the blue cup" and your parent were to say "Pick up red cup", if you picked up the red cup, who would you be "paying homage" (an acknowledgment of allegiance to a superior) to? Would you be regarding God or your parent as superior? ...Of, course.
In this humanistic society where man believes himself to be the center of everything regardless of what he professes, many parents esteem "honor" and "worship" to be synonymous even though the two words have completely different meanings. Many of them won't take the road of humility instead of pride and confess that, though. They think that if you somehow actually READ the Bible and DO what it says, then you could be acting "too legalistic" or maybe even "arrogant and a know it all". Don't fret if this is your case. God is sovereign over all including unbelievers regardless of what their title or relation to you may be.
Remember, God has never tempted you to do evil and he never will because it is impossible for him to even be tempted. (James 1:13) Idolatry is certainly evil and it is nothing that God wants any of his children to partake in. Run to him regardless of what the unbelieving world will tell you. If his Scripture contradicts what you've heard or learned, don't go away believing the lie that you've been defeated, go away believing and trusting in Him who can raise the dead. If you've experienced something similar to this, don't despair, but resist the devil, firm in your faith knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1Pe 5:9)