Pastor’s Corner: Mimicking Filial Love

Pastor Kim
Pastor Kimas

Happy Mother’s Day! This weekend is the Mother’s Day weekend. So, in this week’s Pastor’s Corner, I would like to think about the filial love for parents. To begin this post, I will introduce the episode of King Hyojong (1619~1659), who was the 17th king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korean history.

Episode of King Hyojong

One day, King Hyojong was doing a royal walkabout. While he was marching, he saw a man standing on the street carrying an elderly woman over 80 years old.

The king asked, “What brings you here to carry such an old woman on your back?”

“I’ve walked 16 kilometers with my mother on my back,” he replied, “as my mother’s lifelong wish is to see the king.”

The king took the heart of the man, loving and honoring his mother very seriously, and gave him a generous reward.

As the rumor spread, another young man who was not a good son in the neighborhood came and stood beside the king’s path as well, carrying his old mother on his back. The king saw him and asked him the same question.

“Why are you here, carrying an old woman?”

Then he gave the same answer as the person who won the prize first.

“My mother wanted to see you so much that I walked a long way and came here.”

Just then, a local man ran out of nowhere and said, “This man is a very bad son. He is here not for his mother but only for receiving the king’s prize.”

If you were the king, what would you do? If I were a king, I would punish a bad son. However, the king’s response was not like that. Rather, he said, “Isn’t it beautiful to mimic filial love (honoring parents)? Give him a generous reward.”

What is beautiful in mimicking filial love? The act of honoring parents.

Perfect Example of Filial Love

People of Asian countries affected by Confucianism consider filial love very important. When Christianity was first introduced in Korea, in particular, many criticized that Christians did not honor their parents because they did not offer sacrifices to their ancestors. However, Christianity is the religion of filial love because we can find the best example of filial love on the cross of Jesus. As we know, Jesus only spoke seven sayings on the cross. We can read his third saying on the cross in John 19:26-27.

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27, NIV).

Jesus remembered his mother even while he was dying on the cross in extreme suffering. Although He is the Creator and Mary is a created being, Jesus treated her as His own mother and honored her in a high manner. Furthermore, it was Jesus Himself who gave the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments to Moses, engraving “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). He is truly the giver and doer of the commandment and the perfect model of filial love. Ellen G. White beautifully states this:

“The perfect example of Christ’s filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now, even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing, widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy” (The Desire of Ages, 752).

It is Mother’s Day weekend, and Father’s Day is coming next month. It is a great time to express our love, respect, and gratitude to our parents. If it is beautiful to even just mimic filial love like King Hyojong said, then how much better is it for us to truly love, honor, and express our gratitude to our parents according to the example of Jesus?

Pastor Dae-Eun Kim


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