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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

July 17, 2015

Love toward God and the fifth commandment

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

When Jesus was asked about the great commandment in the law, His answer was:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39).

We know that love toward God and love toward our neighbor are expressed via the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments talk about love toward God, and the last six involve love toward neighbor.

The fifth commandment is interesting as a transition from the one love to the other:

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12).

In God's eyes – and in a small child's – a parent stands in the place of God Himself. In the physical sense, parents are the child's creator, provider, lawgiver, teacher, and protector – and sometimes even savior. The parent-child relationship is therefore very important in a child's life. How parents treat their children and how children respond will greatly determine their later response to larger relationships in society.

The parent-child relationship will most certainly affect a child's relationship with God. Thus, since parents represent God in the first years of their children's life, it becomes their obligation to live lives worthy of that honor. Ultimately, the responsibility for keeping this commandment falls on the child, but it begins with the parents through child training and example. If parents neither provide the correct example nor teach the correct way, they can hardly expect their children to honor them.

In such unfortunate cases the more important question is: How will those children see God when they grow up, since God is supposed to be in their lives what their own parents were not?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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