RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

Parents are partners with God

The fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments, to honor one’s father and mother, appears twice in the Torah, in Exodus and in Deuteronomy, while a separate commandment to revere one’s parents occurs in Leviticus. Each commandment has its own motivation.

If you honor your parents, your life will be lengthened and your link to the land of Israel will be continued. However, if you revere your parents, there is not a promise of a future reward, but rather as being a participant in God’s divine plan.

Viewed collectively, then, loving your parents grants you a fulfilling life, a connection to the Promised Land and honors God.

More than that, the spiritual bond between parent and child is very important. The Talmud suggests that there are three partners in the creation of a person — the mother, the father and God. Parents are partners in the holy work of God’s creation.

If one is good, kind, and respectful to one’s parents, then one is deemed to be good, kind and respectful to God.

On Friday nights, after the blessing of the candles, wine and bread, parents bless their children with the priestly benediction: May God bless you and keep you; May God deal kindly with you and graciously with you; May God bestow divine favor upon you and bring you peace.

— Rabbi Lauren Cohn, Temple Beth El of Anniston

God is a picture of fatherhood

Fatherhood is the state or responsibility of being a father. Interestingly enough, the word “fatherhood” is not even in the Bible, however, I believe that it is surely implied. The terms “father,” “fatherless,” “father’s,” “fathers” and “fathers’” are cited in the Bible more than 1,900 times, so it would appear that fatherhood, or responsibility, as the scriptures describe it, is vitally important.

The Most High God is called the “Father of the fatherless, and protector of widows” (Psalms 68:5). Unlike many earthly fathers, He will never leave or forsake His children.

The most obvious feature of our Heavenly Father is His generous nature. He is love, and His love can be seen in His giving. He gave His Son, His glory, His spirit and Himself.

He is the Father (pater) from whom every family (patria) in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14-15).

His fatherhood is a picture of what human fatherhood is supposed to look like. What that means for us fathers today is that we take our cues on fatherhood from the Father of Fatherhood — which is a great relief for any father today who was fathered by an absent or sinful father, which of course includes every one of us (Hebrews 12:7-10).

Lastly, our Father has made sure that we have all we need to make it in this life. “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

— Bob McClain, Living by Faith Ministry, Oxford

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