Strength & Dignity Her Clothing: What the Bible Says about Mother's Day
by Janice M. Fritsch
All over the world during Mother’s Day, multitudes will gather in churches, homes and restaurants to celebrate the mothers in their lives. Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Observed yearly on the 2nd Sunday in May.
Anna Marie Jarvis was the Founder of the Mother's Day Holiday in the United States. Anna Jarvis' mother, Ann Jarvis, had attempted to establish a version of Mother's Day during the Civil War as a time for remembrance. After the holiday failed to catch on, Anna recalled hearing her mother pray for a memorial day for mothers. When her mother died in May, 1905. Two years later, Jarvis held a memorial for her mother and her good deeds. The next year, she again held a service, and gave away carnations, her mother's favorite flower, to all that attended. Red and pink carnations were to be worn for living mothers, and white for those who had passed away. Jarvis wanted all to attend church and afterward, for children to spend time writing a note of appreciation to their mothers.
She formed a committee and in 1910, West Virginia became the first state to adopt the the holiday. Soon, Jarvis began to raise awareness and support, and in 1914, President Wilson declared the second Sunday in May "Mother's Day."
Like other holiday seasons millions will be spent on flowers, candy, and gifts as they sincerely want to bless their mothers. However, many out of obligation or to quench any feelings of guilt, will just send a card or perhaps give their mother a call on the telephone. Others will despise the thought of any such display toward their mother and go on with their day as any other day.
Mother’s Day is a time of recognizing and honoring the mothers in your life: birth mothers, step-mothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, spiritual mothers. Yet, how many people will simply stop there? How many people will take into consideration all that the Lord says about honoring our mothers? What does the Bible say about the consequences of not honoring our mothers?
The First Commandment With A Promise
Although the commandment in Exodus 20:12 begins with “Honour thy father and thy mother,” we may not realize there is a promise that comes from honoring them. In Ephesians 6:2 we are given the revelation that this is the first commandment given that comes with a promise of long life.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 21:12
This verse clearly teaches that there is a spiritual and physical consequence to honoring or dishonoring our mother or father. In addition, Exodus 21:12 does not say honor your mother only on a designated day, but we are to give honor to our mothers everyday.
The Role of Mothers
What are we honoring? Mothers are the child bearers and usually the primary caregivers, and because they have contact with their children over a long growing period, they have an extraordinary effect on their children. This is especially true if she is the solo parent. Fathers are usually not as available as mothers for many reasons; work, career, financial obligations, outside interests, lack of interest all together, to mention a few. So, mothers, have a tremendous impact on their children.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:25-30
We see in 2 Timothy 1:5 how with all the time a mother spends raising up her child, her faith is also passed down to her child. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Timothy gives us an example of the many godly mothers and grandmothers in our lives that have passed down blessings to us. All of us who have had godly mother figures need to thank God. One way to do this is to honor them on Mother’s Day.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Not only can we honor the grandmothers, mothers, and mother-in-laws, but it is important to also note the importance of spiritual mothers. In a day and age when so many adults yearn for a connection with their mothers due to some unhealthy relationships that left many of them feeling unloved and unimportant in childhood or some growing up as “motherless children,” spiritual mothers can often fill in the gaps and teach us the things we never learned in childhood. Our sense of self, as a person, evolves from our attachment and identification with our mothers; thus, the importance of spiritual mothers in our lives.
Distance In Motherly Relationships
Many times relationships between mothers and their children are fraught with anger, disappointment and bitterness. Maybe your mother was not there for you, did not protect you, made you feel like you could never be good enough or do enough, and this made you feel like you could not talk to her, because she always criticized you. You may have felt like you never lived up to what she wanted you to be. She may never have took the time to know you, or she may have left you through desertion, or was not present due to illness, preoccupation with self, or other ways. Perhaps you lost your mother through death and felt deserted as well. In some lives there may still be a very abusive and/or manipulative spirit working in her life today, in which case all you can do is pray for her and seek healthy spiritual mothers to fill in the gaps of your life. But in keeping God’s commandment to honor your mother, even through her faults it is sometimes helpful to look at the causes of her behavior. Due to the distance created in these relationships we may never know all the reasons for the way our mothers responded in our lives. We live in a fallen world and Satan uses division and isolation to destroy relationships and keep us from a strong relationship with our Father God. Keep in mind some of the ways Satan impacts our lives and the lives of our mothers stemming from his fallen world are:
- Some women are devalued, and/or abused, neglected, not respected, and seen as inferior by others, including the society at large.
- Some women’s voices are not heard because they are not in a position of authority, so their voices are non-existent or disregarded. No one is really interested in what they think, feel, want or need so they might as well not express it. This makes them feel “less-than.”
- Women who have been subjected to being belittled have internalized many of their negative beliefs and therefore feel unworthy, defective, and flawed.
- Women are looked upon by some men as sexual objects, ornaments, possessions, or even trophies. Many women are abused sexually and are expected to be sex symbols.
- Women who have been treated wrongly are also told how they should dress or look. They feel their bodies are not their own, as others influence them in regard to their appearance and public behavior.
We are told in scripture to honor our parents, and if we do this and come to God in prayer for any abusive situation, the Lord will lead us as to how to resolve our problems. We are to honor their position and not what they are doing or not doing. Once we seek God as to what we are to do, we can then trust Him to deal with our parent’s failures.
Dishonoring Our Mothers
It is important to remember that although a promise is attached to the commandment to honor our mothers, a curse can come upon us when we do not follow the commandment. God took the honor of mother and fathers so serious that he gave numerous commandments, “And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death” (Exodus 21:15).
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him. Leviticus 20:9
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. Proverbs 15:20
Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Proverbs 20:20
Some will say that we are now under a new covenant and do not have to adhere to the laws of the old covenant, but even Jesus In Matthew 15:4 emphasized God’s stand on the matter, For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. And He makes it very clear, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (Matthew 5:17).