“and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20b
My birth mother and father were both married, just not to each other. Had they been true to their spouses, I would not have been born. A woman and her husband who couldn’t have children found out and wanted to adopt me. They blessed me with love and belonging, and became my true Mother and Dad. Extended family accepted me as a real part of the family. My mom died seven years ago this coming June. As her health was declining, on the Mother’s Day before she passed away, I delivered a sermon entitled, “Things My Mother Taught Me.” I summarize it here:
1. “Always tell the truth.” Mom drilled this into me. I remember her saying that if I tell the truth, even if it gets me in trouble, it will go better for me than if I lied and then was found out later. To this day, lying is to me the worst of sins. If someone lies about one thing, they’ll lie about anything, and you can’t trust them. We live in a world which blurs the line between truth and lie. God desires truth in our innermost being (Ps. 51:6). My mom instilled that in me.
2. “No one is better than you, and you are no better than anyone else.” Again, my mom drilled this into me. In adult life, it has served me well. I look directly into the eyes of anyone with whom I’m talking. I don’t look down on anyone, nor do I avert my eyes from fear. Communication is direct, and usually successful. On the one hand, I see through pretense, and on the other, try to lift up those who do not believe in themselves. The advice of Scripture in Philippians 2:3-4 applies beautifully to the view my mom instilled in me on this point.
3. “Always leave something better than you found it.” No matter where or what the situation, this universally applied mother’s advice is the key to a better future. There is no use in getting caught up in past pettiness (Rom. 12:17). Trying to follow this advice will keep you positive and looking toward a better future! I have never forsaken my Mom’s teaching, and never will.
–Jeff Lovitt, Morganton church of Christ, Morganton, NC