Do you honor your parents? We are commanded to do so. Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’” To understand that it is the first commandment with promise, we need to go to the ten commandments and read the fifth commandment – Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Honoring your father and mother is the only one of the Ten Commandments that has a promise, and that promise is long life; if we honor our parents we will live long.
What does it mean to honor our parents? Let us look as several ways that we honor our parents. In Ephesians 6:1, children are told to obey their parents in the Lord. Children, whenever you cheerfully obey your parents without grumbling or talking back to them, you honor them. When you disobey, disrespect or speak ill about your parents, you are not honoring them.
Jesus addressed the honoring of father and mother in Matthew 15:3-9 “He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” — then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Here is the situation. The Jews of Jesus’ time had a tradition that if a man dedicated his property as a gift to God, then the property would not be available to provide profit, support or financial help to his parents. He had dedicated his property to God so he was not under obligation to support his parents and thus honor his parents. From this we learn that honoring of our father and mother includes providing for them. This would be especially important when they are unable to provide for themselves. I believe providing for parents is included in the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” It is important to God that we provide for our parents when they are unable to provide for themselves. This is one way that we honor them.
In my opinion, other ways of honoring your parents as adults are to communicate and visit with them frequently; include them in your life; tell them that you love them; remember their birthday or anniversary; see that their needs are being met; listen to them.
How do you treat your parents? Do you give them respect? Sure, they have their faults, but so do you. They are older than you; they have likely gained wisdom from their many years; they brought you into this world and provided for you while you were growing up. Obey them, if you are still in their household. Treat them with respect, whether you are at home with them or on your own. Provide for them when they are unable to provide for themselves. Honor them, for this pleases the Lord.