Honor Your History

Our current events today will become tomorrow’s history – and afterwards they will become our heritage.

By: Neftali Lopez & Jake Hreha

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re welcoming Reverend Neftali Lopez as a guest writer today. Reverend Lopez is a Mexico native and retired Navy veteran who serves as a Spiritcare Chaplain for our N&G military students. These are his thoughts on the importance of honoring our heritage – regardless of our background – and how our heritage ties into the larger story of God’s grace.

You Are Part of His-Story

Our current events today will become tomorrow’s history – and afterwards they will become our heritage. The richness found in our heritage and our history cannot be overemphasized.

Our creative and powerful God has a plethora of avenues to bring us to life in this world, yet He has chosen to do it through a father and a mother. There is a deep, purposeful reason behind it. That is why God commands “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). You may not know how to honor your parents and family members so we will dive into what that looks like.

In our personal history we find inspiration, culture, context, lesson, errors made that needed to be avoided, and treasures of love from those before us who sacrificed to smooth the way for us.

Honoring Levels

The level on which we honor our history can be found in one of the four quadrants below.

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We want to move from level 4 to level 1. Consider these biblical representations of each quadrant:

  • Actively honoring our past (Prov. 1:8-9)
  • Passively honoring our past (Prov. 6:20)
  • Passively dishonoring our past (Prov. 15:20)
  • Actively dishonoring our past (Prov. 19:16; Prov. 20:20)

When it comes to honoring our history by respecting our father and mother, we can sometimes honor one more than the other. We practice different levels of honor when we consider our parents as separate individuals, even though we are commanded to honor both in similar manner.

God’s command includes each one of them by name. He did not combine them into one word, i.e., “Honor your parents.” He clearly says in the fifth commandment to: Honor your father and your mother.

What if your parents come from a different heritage and history than the one you currently live in? This requires you to go from a two-dimensional view of your heritage to a three-dimensional one. How does your parents’ heritage differ from your own? How can you honor both?

Additionally, not all parents come from the same heritage. How are we honoring parents who come from different places with different family heritages?

As your parents age, it can bring them joy to have a one on one conversation with you to share about their family history. Aging parents or elderly parents enjoy connecting with their adult children through stories of their childhood and family. This practice of taking time to talk with your family members shows them that they deserve honor and love.

Let’s focus on what God means by the word “honor,” and what He means by “honor your father and mother.”

Honor

The concept of honor in the Bible goes beyond the scope of father and mother. Husbands and wives are to honor each other (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1); the church must honor their leaders (Heb 13:17; 1 Timothy 5:17); and citizens are to honor their authorities and everyone else (Romans 12; 1 Peter 2:17).

Honor Father and Mother

As we zoom-in on the scope of our heritage, we should note that we were made in God’s image; this means we need to be in a harmonious relationship with others, just as God is within the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Honoring our parents is a crucial roadmap to maintaining a harmonious relationship within our family.

In this context, honoring means submission and obedience (as explained in Ephesians 6:1-2 and Colossians 3:20). As children, we look up to our parents to eventually see God behind them. There is a correlation between parents’ authority and God’s order and authority. Honoring our parents reflects our honor towards our Heavenly Father.

The seasonal authority over children ceases as we grow into adults and start our own households, often joining in marriage to create families of our own. As adults, we are to honor our parents in different ways than obeying them.

In a way, God chose for us the parents we were going to have. Some parents are easy to love; some are not. Some parents are emotionally and physically healthy; others need some help in those areas. Some are affluent; some live below the poverty line. Some live close to us; others live in a far land. Some parents are biological, and others are adoptive. In all circumstances, God’s commandment rings true. He does not make any exclusions or disclaimer clauses to excuse us from fulfilling it.

It is possible to disdain our parents (thereby our heritage and history) and blame them for everything that is wrong with us. That is a low level of honoring them and we must intentionally work within our hearts to move up to higher levels of honor for them.

It is important to remember as adults we can choose to extend mercy to our parents and speak kindly to them. We have the opportunity to show God's love in the way we treat our parents. Choosing not to repay evil with evil by understanding we all our undeserving sinners in need of God's grace.

At the end of everything, the intensity of our effort to honor our heritage and history is traced back to God: “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear?” (Malachi 1:6).

We are part of His-story. How intentionally active are you being in honoring your own heritage and history?

Thank you to Reverend Lopez for challenging us to examine our views of our heritage and honor the people who came before us – no matter where in the globe our roots are planted.

Neftali Lopez

Spiritcare Chaplain

Rev Neftalí López, a native from Mexico is a retired US Navy veteran and serves as a military chaplain with IWU National and Global. He and his wife Grace are ordained ministers of the Wesleyan Church and have served as pastor for 6 years, and now serve as a Circuit-rider for the Crossroads District to hispanic churches. "Chaplain Nef" is currently in the last stretch to complete his Doctorate of Education.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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