Be Heavy on Family
The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me”, serves as the spine for the next three (it holds it all together). If God is your god your house will be clean of idols, you will take His name seriously, and you will do what He did by taking a Sabbath. Most scholars refer to these first four commandments as book or tablet 1. Book, or tablet 2, begins with the family. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Like commandment 1, commandment 5 serves as a spine for what is to follow. Rightly relating to God requires uncontested allegiance. Rightly relating to other people begins at home.
The word translated “honor” is a word commonly translated “heavy.” If we want stability in our society we must be heavy on the family. To honor one's father and mother is to value or glorify their place in society above all else. In the fifth commandment, community is connected to family, “that your days may be long in the land.” When the family unit is lost, one can calculate the inevitable fate of the community, “it will not be long.” A common symptom for at risk communities is a lack of honorable men and women who are devoted to being fathers and mothers; there is a lack of emphasis on the importance of family. Where the family unit is on the decrease immorality, crime, and chaos will be on the increase (murder, adultery, theft, lies, and social discontent).
Educators, law enforcement, churches, and community centers may benefit a community, but they cannot compensate for what is lost when society is no longer heavy on family. How many times have you heard a teacher or a coach say, “This child gets no support at home?” Lawful, respectful children are not raised on the streets, they are raised by honorable fathers. Stable marriages begin with stable childhoods. Contentment and consistency are kindred spirits.
God is heavy on family. He teaches us about Himself by relating to us as Father. He teaches us the gospel by pointing to the marriage. Ultimate sacrifice becomes apparent through the giving of the Son. Family is not only the fabric of society, it is the metaphor for salvation. When people no longer trust in family, they find it difficult to trust in God.
The message of the fifth commandment is simple, go heavy on family. Emphasize it, honor it, teach it, and protect it. Healthy communities are built on honorable families. Social reform begins with the recovery of the family. The key to a long lasting legacy and community is to go heavy on family.