The Gift of Honor

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Community, Our Stories

This last Sunday, February 23, we had the opportunity to celebrate the older generations at WMBC
and congratulate Justina on reaching her 100th year!

This last Sunday, February 23, we had the opportunity to celebrate the older generations at WMBC and congratulate Justina on reaching her 100th year!

One of the ways we can give the gift of honor at WMBC is to live out the commandment to honor our father and mother.  Biblically, the word honor refers to weight or significance.  To honor our parents is to attach great worth to them and great value to our relationship with them.  Dennis Rainey says, “Honor is an attitude accompanied by actions that say to your parents, ‘You are worthy.  You have value.  You are the person God sovereignly placed in my life.” 

We honor our parents not because of an Old Testament law, but because the Gospel calls us to love others out of reverence for Jesus Christ, our motivation flows out of grace and divine love.  Here are five practical ways you can love your mom and dad as adult children.

offer forgiveness

There are no perfect parents.  Our parents have sinned against us.  They have made unwise decisions, they have laid unrealistic expectations on us, they have said and done things that have left us wounded.  I see many children who enter adulthood controlled by anger and bitterness.  As we follow a forgiving Saviour, so we too can forgive our parents and find much freedom.

seek their wisdom

The Bible consistently associates youth with recklessness and age with wisdom.  We would do well to lean on them for understanding, to seek their input when making bigger decisions.  It honours our parents to seek their help, even if in the end we decide against their advice.

tell them 'I love you'

There is a great viral video that came out a number of years ago of Asian parents reacting to their kids telling them “I love you”.  Many families coming from a Russian-Mennonite heritage have not been good at expressing emotion and communication.  If you haven’t told your parents you love them in the last couple of weeks, stop reading, go call mom and dad and tell them you just wanted to say “I love you.  Thank you for supporting me, I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”

give them credit

Tim Keller writes, “You don’t realize how important it is give your parents credit where you can.  You don’t realize how critical it is just to say, “You know, everything I really ever learned about saving money I learned from you.”  We can give them esteem both in private one-on-one conversations and we can do this publicly, perhaps at holiday gatherings.  I recently helped my parents move and there in dad’s safe was letters from us as kids that he had kept; letters in which we had formally attempted to bring tribute to their impact in our lives.  He kept them in his safe.  We can honor our parents by esteeming our parents.

Hands On Care

William Barcley writes, ”The raising of children requires tremendous sacrifice and it is only right that children make sacrifices for parents in return.”  On Sunday, we learned of Jesus’s harsh rebuke of the Pharisees for their refusal to care for their parents.  Many of our parents may need professional care or currently enjoy the community of others their same age in retirement communities, but loving care cannot by done by proxy.  As our elderly parents fear the combination of age and isolation, we have to show up and offer our presence.

Justina’s Girls Choir // Justina, at age 17, with her first music festival trophy // Justina’s Girls Choir went on to win the same trophy every year till eventually the choral festival decided it should stay with her choir permanently // Justina Wiebe, February 23, 2020

“Our family is so grateful for this celebration to honour mom…The timing couldn’t have been better!  About a week or two before Sunday, Justina had been feeling worthless, no longer of any use or importance.  As the day came closer, she became so excited, to the point where she could hardly sleep the night before.  She was very proud and happy at the Sunday service. Everything was so fitting: the tribute, the choir, the talk by Pastor Terry.  I love that the church is going to continue to honor the elderly in this way in the future.”

Doris Young

Justina's Daughter

Val and I have known Justina as long as we’ve been in Winkler – 42 years. She has been a gracious and classy friend. We’ve been closer the last several years. When she could no longer drive to church safely, especially in winter, I picked her up many Sundays and brought her back home. I got to know her much better on those rides. She has always been an encourager. She’s amazing. It’s reassuring that WMBC has not ignored, nor neglected to ask, some of us seniors for input, historical context, etc. Reviving the choir for Christmas Hallelujah, and for last Sunday is always appreciated. And I appreciate the response from the congregation – good strong support in all voice parts. And this last week we had singers from pre-teen thorough 70’s-80’s. Really enjoyable.”

Pete Wiebe

Friend of Justina & Choir Director

“I didn’t grow up at WMBC but I did grow up in a church environment with a strong choral culture. I remember participating with my mom and grandpa, and what a memorable experience it was to combine all those generations and make music together. There is a tangible sense of oneness when you raise your voices in song. There is a heightened awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence when hallelujahs are raised by a choir; an electricity in the air, and an added strength and richness to the sound. Participating in the choir for ‘Honor Sunday’ service was such a privilege. It was incredible to see the impact Justina Wiebe has had on Winkler’s choral society, and to be reminded of the rich musical history of our community and Mennonite heritage.”

Destiny Klassen

Choir Participant