Holiness can be summed up in one verse: (Leviticus 19:3) “Ye shall fear (honor and respect) every man his mother and father, and keep my sabbaths: I AM the LORD your God.” To honor your mother and father and worship the LORD only each day regardless of how we “feel” is to be holy-totally devoted to God.
Today, we lack this in our society as a whole. We are all children of a mother and a father be they natural, adoptive, foster, or all of three. The LORD does not say honor them if they were perfect parents; He says “fear” them. This fear is one of honor and respect not fear based on how we were treated. Grace is believing that our parents were doing the best they could. Yes, some parents are abusive, neglectful, absent, not engaged, or have problems rendering them unable to make good choices for themselves or us. There is no exception in this command from God. He simply says, honor thy mother and thy father. (Exodus 20:12 which is a commandment with a promise: So your life may be long upon the earth.)
The second part of this holiness is to keep the sabbaths-days of worship.
This is also a commandment: (Exodus 20:8-11). We can come up with a million reasons to not be a part of corporate or personal worship.
Do you see the correlation between honoring mother and father and worship of Almighty God? It is through our honor and respect of our parents/caregivers that we learn to worship the LORD with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love of mother and father and the LORD is much like a prism. It has many sides and it takes the light of love and radiates all the beauty and refracts the light into rainbows of color. (Revelation 4:3) It is a choice. Rick Warren wrote: “God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. The Bible says, From one man he made every nation and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (Acts 17:26* NIV).”
Leviticus 19:14, 32 further admonishes us to be very careful how we treat the deaf, the blind, and the elderly. I believe these two verses are both literal and figurative of our spiritual life. Have we not all been spiritually deaf and blind until we come to the place where we “fear God?” We who are in Christ must be very careful to not cause those who are seeking Him to stumble or speak evil against them. In other words, don’t be a bully on His playground. We must remember who we were before Christ forgave us!
I have a special place in my heart for the hearing and visually impaired. I have seen first hand the challenges they face to navigate this life: to ambulate even on level ground, to communicate receptively and expressively. Theirs can be a dark, cold, lonely world. They too are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) for His glory and He has issued a “thou shalt not” when it comes to how we interact with His children. He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of Heaven,” and He told us that to enter His kingdom we must do so as a child. (Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16)
In verse 32 the “hoary head and the face of an old man” are the pictures of our elderly and those in old before their time bodies and minds. Some treat these as children and this is an insult. These beautiful people have fought our wars, taught in our schools, farmed our food, ministered in our hospitals, doctors offices, and churches, served us in banks, retail shops, and gas stations, drove our buses, our goods to market, protected our country and communities, flew our planes, and washed our windows. Blue collars, white collars, dirty collars. God’s Word says that gray hair is a crown (Proverbs 16:31) These have taught us lessons in life and been our examples of both good and bad and the Lord has used each of them to lead us toward His throne of grace.
The LORD looks after “little people:” the deaf, the blind, the elderly, widows and orphans, (James 1:27) as a Father. Is there any wrath incurred more intense than a father whose son or daughter is being treated without dignity and respect?
Leviticus 25:17 sums it up in this way: “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I AM the LORD your God.” (KJV)
Plato once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
II Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 12:36, and Romans 14:12 all remind us we will each have to give an account of our every word and deed. Sobering thought! By God’s grace we can treat others as we desire to be treated.
My friends Josh, Camilla, Rhae, Jerry, Rachael, Wanda, Sarah, Nora, Tommy, Marilyn, and hundreds of others I have witnessed all have special needs. But one thing they do not lack is spiritual beauty! Neither do their caregivers. They are blessed with faith, hope, love, courage, contentment, and acceptance of others. May we give them the gift of our inclusion and see them with spiritual eyes. This is what the LORD commands.