Thursday, July 20, 2017

Leviticus 20:9 -- On Honor and Curses

"For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him."
Leviticus 20:9

Sometimes the commandment to honor our parents doesn't really get the respect it deserves.  This version specifically forbids cursing, and has the penalty as death.  Why so harsh, we ask.  Parents can be mean, and they are definitely not perfect, and sometimes they curse *us,* right?  So what's the deal?

I think, above and beyond the learn to love people part of it, which is amazingly important by itself, there is also the aspect of symbolism and the fact that God is our Heavenly Father.  If we can't respect the role of an Earthly parent, we're not going to be able to build on that and understand the role of a Heavenly Parent.

Parents represent a lot of selflessness and sacrifice.  And if we blow that off and think that it doesn't matter, then we're not on the same page with God.  Its such an important commandment because it is teaching us the basics of understanding love, sacrifice, selflessness, and obedience.  I would submit that, in a lot of cases the respect and honor that we show our parents mirrors the respect and honor that we show to God.  That's a scary, but also hopeful thought.  Scary because we *need* to do better, but also hopeful because we have someplace to practice, and to check to see how we're doing with the whole honor and respect (and not curse) idea.

For those of us who have lost parents, I think we can also learn from this... not just in a "kids these days..." way, but perhaps in comparing what we do for our own children to what God does for us, or remembering things that we wish we would have said or done... and still having a place to work out those desires.

Luckily, cursing our parents doesn't carry the death penalty these days, and so we have the chance to repent and do better.  ... But let's remember that some of this is symbolic.  Cursing God might not bring insta-death either, but if we don't repent for it, spiritual death (of our own choosing) is not far behind.

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