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Fathers Day

"Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." Exodus 20.12

It seems fitting that this commandment should concern both fathers and mothers because it is as men and women that human-beings most adequately reflect the image of God - according to the account of creation in Genesis. So it is in honouring both human parents that we best please our heavenly Father, who loves us and blesses us.

The promise that accompanies this commandment "that you may live long in the land..." should not be misinterpreted as a reward for good behaviour. God's love is unconditional and we can do nothing to deserve it. It is simply stating that the key to abundant living is to conform our lives according to our Maker's instructions.

Human parents are flawed (I should know as I am one!) and if our respect was conditional on performance there would be even more family strife than currently exists. But we are to cherish our parents, as we are to cherish our children, not because they deserve it but in reflection of the perfect love of God, who loves us unconditionally and despite our failures.

Such might be our negative feelings towards those who have hurt us that we find it impossible to conceive of forgiving them, far less honouring them. Here is where we need both perspective (our struggle to respect others, alongside God's amazing and undeserved love towards us) and grace (his power to work in us what we cannot manage ourselves).

May God so bathe you in his love today as to transform your feelings towards those he calls you to cherish and may you receive the grace he his giving you, through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, to love them generously and unconditionally...



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