Jane Austin’s Emma is the story of a naïve young matchmaker who unwittingly caused many hurt feelings. Yet, when I look at her relationship with her father, I see an example of God’s command to honor our parents. Emma’s father was an elderly, sickly widower and a worrier beyond compare. Everything seemed to make him anxious and fearful. Emma had empathy for him and patiently soothed him, responding to his concerns and offering him companionship.
Emma’s generous heart puts me to shame. I wasn’t disrespectful to my parents, but neither was I loving and kind. When I was with them, I couldn’t wait to get back to my friends and my life. I shut my parents out. Was ignoring them, never offering the gift of myself or Christ-like behavior? Why didn’t I, like Emma, honor those who had cared for me since I was born?
Emma was like Christ to her father, offering hope and understanding. The respect and love she had for him showed in her dedication and in the way she eased his burdens. Fortunately, I realized that it wasn’t too late for me to change and to grow more like the one in whose image I am created.
ACT ON IT: Take time regularly to talk to your parents without distractions. If you don’t live with one or both of them, try calling or sending an email, asking how they are and catching them up on your life.