What does it really mean to “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother? In this excerpt from his talk “Charisma vs Character”, Justin Epstein takes a look.
Full Video Transcript (Transcript by Victoria Barkley):
When I was a freshman in college, I read the bible for the first time. Of course, I was raised Jewish, so I was familiar with the Torah, the Old Testament and so on…but to really begin to read the bible…and I came to the Ten Commandments, and in the Ten Commandments I read, “Honor your mother and father.” And I thought, “That’s a commandment. I should take that as important.” And I began to take a look at, “How am I honoring that? What am I doing with that?” And I decided that I wanted to embrace and to live that. “Honor your father and mother.” And I started to make different choices, started to be conscious of that value.
As many of you know, my mother and my step-father—who is like a dad to me—who IS a dad to me, are both in hospice. They are at the end of their lives. In one of my recent visits back home, I was talking to my mother and she said to me, “Justin, you are one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.” And she must have read my face as, “Well, you are my mother, of course you are going to say that.” She said, “No, Justin, you are one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.” And then, to hear my step-father say to me, “Justin, thank you for everything that you have done for me.”
And then to have my brother say to me, “Justin, thanks for stepping up to the plate for mom and Henry. I am so very proud of you.” I can’t think of anything more satisfying than to hear that from my family and my sibling…to feel so good about making the choices that I have made, based on that value of wanting to honor my father and my mother.
Character development is rooted in eternal principles that lead to lasting happiness and success.
Mother Mary is featured in the National Geographic. She is called the most powerful woman in the world…and she is now a “cover-girl.” (Laughter) She is on the cover. And she is loved in North America, South America, Mexico. She is loved in Islam…She is mentioned more in the Koran than she is in the Bible. And she is not a woman of particular charisma.
She only speaks four times in the New Testament—beginning with the Annunciation—when, according to Luke’s Gospel, the Angel Gabriel appears to her and says; she’ll bear the son of the most high. What does Mary say? “Here I am, a servant of the Lord.” Her extended speech, also in Luke, is The Magnificat, uttered in her early pregnancy, “My soul magnifies the Lord. And my spirit rejoices in God, my savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.”
She was not a woman of grand charisma, but she was a woman of character. She prayed daily, in the temple. She was a person of service. She was a vehicle of God.
And when you and I choose character, quality of our soul, then we too become worthy of the birth of the living Christ, in the manger of our soul. God bless you…