This past week has been extremely tiresome, but it was for a very rewarding cause. My nephew and his family came over for a day, so I had to make sure my house was child-safe and clean. It wasn’t so bad except that the basement was leaking water from the 10 inches of rain we had last week (I’m so sorry California!). So, I had to try to fix the source of the leak which was bad grading under our front porch that sloped all the rainwater towards the house instead of away from it. Long story short, I had to rebuild a deck after piling a lot of rock and fill dirt next to the house, de-mold the basement before it actually molded, and power wash the concrete under the back deck where mold had already started to grow.
I had help! My daughter and her boyfriend were great, so don’t think I did all this work in the span of 36 hours all by myself!
Anyway, I had invited my nephew’s family over because I knew that he had been out training for his position in the Army. His wife was feeling a little isolated from our side of the family and I wanted to see their three boys before they got too old. So, they all drove up on Sunday, my nephew included since he had just returned. It was a lot of fun, although too short of a time to spend with everyone.
The one thing that stood out to me is the fact that my nephew and his wife both voiced a hint of a serious issue simmering between them and his mother. He did not go into any detail. As a matter of fact, he didn’t mention her at all, only that he would gladly go see his father. He completely left her out. Meanwhile, his wife explained that her mother-in-law had pretty much cut her off from any willful communication. She said that the children don’t get invited over to spend any special time with their grandparents, unless the other grandchildren are coming over as well.
She explained that her mother-in-law plays favorites and if her favorite children don’t like something about someone, then she decides not to like them either. It was really disturbing to hear. I guess what really disturbed me was the attitude of my nephew, even though it was a typical male reaction. The only relief I could find was that he stood by his wife no matter what. I was also disturbed to hear that my sister-in-law played favorites with her own grown children.
Now, having explained all that, I have to say that I cannot blame them for how they feel. They didn’t initiate the problem and they really don’t want it to continue, but right now, they have no choice but to completely avoid his mother. That is, if they want things to remain civil in the family. No, I have to question the decision making of my sister-in-law. Why would she treat one of her children’s family different from another? Why can she not see that she is completely disrespecting her child while demanding their complete respect? Her actions made me furious. I made judgments about her and almost let my feelings for her get in the way of having a great relationship with my brother.
As God’s timing is always perfect, He led me to 1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
I decided to break it down for myself. To explain it so that I will have a better grasp on how I treat others while trying to please the Lord. It’s something that I would like to type up and put it into a present to send to not just my brother and his family, but all of my in-laws.
I will start briefly on the first one. Honor all people.
The first thing I did was look up in Vine’s dictionary the meaning. Of course, I already knew what ‘honor’ means to me, but I wanted something official to back me up. Here’s what I got:
- A good name or public esteem, reputation
- A showing of usually merited respect: recognition
- a person of superior standing
- one whose worth brings respect: credit
- the center point of the upper Hal of an armorial escutcheon
- an evidence or symbol of distinction
- chastity, purity
- a keen sense of ethical conduct, integrity
Then, of course, I found several different scriptures that use honor in different ways. This was to prove the versatility of the word but also to show how powerful it can be.
Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and they mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord God is giving you.
1 Chronicles 16:25-27 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him. Strength and gladness are in His place.
There are many, many more, but I chose these two as simple examples of the power of honor. God will reward us if we honor our parents and He also demands honor Himself, as He is the most honorable of any living thing.
Peter told us to honor all people. All people, not just those we favor or those we want to impress. Everyone. All. No one excluded. Wow. Those three words pack a powerful punch and I knew I was in for some serious self-examination when I started this study.
Peter gave four simple commands in this scripture. Honor, Love, Fear and Honor. Are we doing any of them? As I studied each of these commands and looked at my own life, I can say that I have failed, and continue to fail, miserably. I look at my heart this past weekend and how I wanted to make my sister-in-law mad because she had treated her son’s family so poorly. What had I done? I had disrespected her and myself, just with my thoughts.
Next time, I will share what God taught me this week about honoring all people. You may already know, but I’m willing to bet you’re not always doing it. Honor is much more than doing something special for someone. It’s a way of life.