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I enjoy that word “begotten,” the past participle of “beget.” It means to bring into existence through the process of reproduction. There are a whole lot of begets in the Bible. In Genesis 5 we really hit the motherlode of all begets, all that lineage carefully preserved and documented for us.

Does anyone else have a really difficult mother? I know the struggle well. At one point in my faith the whole notion of “honor your mother” was a complete deal breaker. If God didn’t understand the reality of the situation I was in, than what else didn’t He understand?

It took me years to discover that commandment was not just an arbitrary notion, like mandating everyone wear green on Fridays. It actually has a vital purpose, a deeper meaning, and some far reaching implications for us as a culture.

There’s an old Jewish saying that says, “honor your mother or the land will spit you out.”

I recently stumbled into some yahoos who are are even bigger lunkheads than I once was, busy proclaiming that churches who celebrate Mother’s Day in sermons are worshiping mothers before Jesus. Allegedly they are elevating mothers to a god-like status. Then they proceeded to say some uncharitable things about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how she was a complete non participant who served no real purpose. Having actually had four kids myself, I nearly choked on that one. My point being, these poor guys just had “mommy issues” stapled right to their foreheads.

One reason why you don’t want to get stuck there forever in unforgiveness and motherhood bitterness is obvious, it is corrosive to our souls, it is an unhealed wound, it blinds us to some of the goodness that God offers on the other side of all that pain. Unforgiveness really is, “a state of emotional and mental distress.” It is not about the other person. But there is another problem, failing to honor our mother separates us from the fact that we are created beings. It denies a truth and reality of our own existence. We are the creature, not the Creator. We are begotten ourselves!

In the world today we are so busy reinventing ourselves, creating ourselves, identifying ourselves, picking our pronouns, engaging in behaviors that seem to indicate we don’t really realize we are actually created beings, the begotten. Add in some artificial intelligence and the urge to meld man with machine and you start to see how we not only seem to believe we created ourselves, we seem to believe we now hold the patent and own the intellectual property rights to it all. What could possibly go wrong there…?

1 John 5:1 says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” I prefer the KJV or even the Berean version, because interestingly, it is a more accurate translation. When we get to the NIV or the ESV, they’ve gone and changed it all, and added the word “father” in there. The reason this bothers me is that I think it often serves to detract from the meaning of the text and create confusion. We get all tangled up in the gender and miss the whole point. Just the same here is how it has been translated, “everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”

Everyone who loves God, loves whoever has been born of him. That would be you. Or, everyone who loves their mother, loves who has been born of her. That would also be you. We cannot reject our parents without rejecting a significant part of ourselves. We cannot reject God without rejecting ourselves. It is absolutely vital that we seek healing from all those parental wounds, fractures, and estrangements that can rule over us today and cloud our vision.

“…every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”

We know we are the begotten being spoken of here because the next verse says, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” This is not just a reference to Jesus, it is also addressed to us, to “the children of God,” and it is a wide open plural, “whoever has been born of him.”

Honor is a complicated word, but one definition I like in this context is to “accept and make good,” like when we honor a check. Honoring your mother is like cashing a spiritual check the Lord has given you.