The "commandment with promise"

The fifth commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Ex. 20:12), was given to a primitive people emerging from a state of bondage and of undeveloped moral responsibility. But this commandment has never gone out of date. The love which fulfills it is needed today just as it was needed when Moses received it from God many centuries ago. It deals with the need for humane action on the part of children toward parents.

Agreement on moral measures is needed in any society for the welfare of the society. The humane care of those of advancing years must continue and improve until the time comes when each individual will prove man's complete dependence upon God so perfectly that there will be no period of declining powers in human experience. Through Christian Science this possibility is understood, for this Science reveals man to be the image and likeness of God, and it works out this truth in practical ways by healing conditions of deterioration and decrepitude.

Man in God's likeness is not only sinless but ageless. God is his Father-Mother, and he needs no human parentage. He coexists with his heavenly Parent and is eternally sustained by divine Love. Instead of canceling the moral or humane obligation of children to parents, these spiritual facts enhance that obligation. When Christ Jesus came with a more absolute sense of law than the moral, he declared (Matt. 5:17), "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." The scientific understanding of God as the Parent of man is fulfilled in the thoughtful care with which people look after their elderly parents.

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Gratitude Requires Action
November 21, 1964

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