This is the the fifth of God’s ten commandments. The first four commandments involve our relationship with God. But the last six help us in our interpersonal relationships. Our first and foundational earthly relationship is with our parents. So, God’s law enforces respect and honor to our parents.
“Honor” means to value highly, care for, show deep respect for. The Hebrew word for “Honor” is a verb that means ‘heavy.’ The person honored is someone who carries a lot of weight. To dishonor someone is to treat them as light or worthless.
Often we associate this command only with younger children. But there is no time limit or age limit on this. It just says honor your father and mother. It doesn’t say anything about children. Though you may be 80 years old and your parent is 100, you are still supposed to honor your father and mother.
“My heroes are and were my parents. It wasn’t that the rest of the world would necessarily think that they were heroic. But they were the adults I saw constantly, and I admired what I saw. If you’re lucky, you grow up in a house where you can learn what kind of person you should be from your parents. And on that count, I was very lucky. It may have been the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.” – Michael Jordan
So why does God give this command? I discovered three reasons we are commanded to honor our parents…
1.There are no perfect parents.
Let’s just face it… some parents are not honorable. It would be real easy to disregard and disrespect some parents because of their character, attitudes, and actions. But even good parents have flaws.
All of us have weaknesses and faults and inconsistencies, mistakes. Only God is the perfect parent. Even the best parents have made mistakes and sinned. The Bible says, “We’ve all sinned.” As a result we’re all warped. None of us have perfect parents and you’re not a perfect parent either (if you are a parent). But God has commanded us to honor our parents.
There are many parents who are abusive, manipulative, and neglectful. Am I supposed to ignore the pain, put on a happy face and pretend everything is great? No, you’re not. But God is saying I want you to honor the position of parenthood.
2. Respect for authority begins at home.
This is a critical lesson that every child must learn. This will determine how well you’re going to do at school, in your career, in relationships. The child who grow up saying, “Nobody tells me what to do!” is going to have a hard time keeping a job.
There are a lot of times you have to do what somebody tells you to do whether you want to or not. So God wants us to learn to respect authority. The first authority in life we encounter is our parents. And if we can learn to respond to authority correctly, it sets us up for success for the rest of our life.
When you go to a judge and you say, “Your honor”. You’re not making a value judgment about that guy’s character — he may be a jerk. You’re saying “Your honor” to show respect for the position. God puts parents in a position of authority over you in your early age. So we are to respect it.
3. How I relate to my parents will affect every other relationship?
The parent/child relationship is the major forming factor in your life. Your style of relating is set at home. Even today, as a grown up, when you act in ways you don’t understand and can’t figure out your behavior, many times it’s because you’re still reacting to your parents.
When I counsel couples ready to be married, I tell them to look their parental relationships. How does he treat his mom? How does she treat her dad? This will likely be how they treat you as you grow older.
Often many marriages have been ruined because a spouse has never resolved a relationship with a parent and they’re taking it out on their husband or wife or kids. They say things like “You’re just like my mom.” Surveys have shown that people who get along with their parents have far less stress in their lives.
Special blessings happen to those who obey this commandment. God promises a long and blessed life. Why? Our earthly father & mother are our first glimpses of God. The way we respond to them will dictate our response to our Eternal Father throughout our entire life. Obedience to God gives blessings. All things being equal, those who obey God live a more blessed life than those who do not.
Honor your parents today!
You can read some of my other articles about the parents and children: The Hardest Job in the World – Parent, Why Children of Christian Parents Abandon the Faith, Powerful Principle of Three Chairs.