“Honor Your Father & Mother”
“Honor you father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
This is the first of a series of six commandments that show us how to love others.
Did you notice that this is the first commandment with a promise in it? That if we honor and respect the authority of our parents we could live long in a peaceful land. If we cannot honor our own parents, we will struggle to offer grace, honor and respect to others. It literally begins at home.
Honoring our parents includes listening and obeying them, but also speaking well about them and to them. It also means to act in a way that shows respect and that their teachings are being learned and acted upon. Even people who do not “get along” with their parents are commanded to honor them.
What about parents that are not believers or are acting against the will of God? We are NEVER to live in disobedience to God. Further, the Lord would never ask His people to obey parents who abuse or violate their children. In fact, God gives a commandment to parents in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and later uses Paul to command parents to honor their children in Ephesians 6:4. Honoring your parent does NOT excuse their bad behavior. Remember that NO evil will escape God’s eyes or go unpunished. (Romans 12:19) We must honor our parents, NOT BECAUSE THEY DERSEVE IT BUT BECAUSE GOD ASKED US TO. We cannot do this alone. It takes supernatural love. Only thru Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit can we choose to love the unlovable.
Instead of dwelling on bad memories, we should choose to talk to our children about how God used our parent to make us the person we are today. We do not have to say much, just make sure that our words are kind. “I loved my Dad”. “My Mom made the best spaghetti”. Learn from their mistakes and show mercy and grace. Remember, that our children will be raising our grandchildren and will be pointing out all OUR mistakes!
Jesus on the 5th Commandment:
- Jesus wants our honor to extend throughout our parents’ lives. (Matt 15:3-6)
- Jesus told the Pharisees to Honor their parents. (Mark 7:10-13)
- As He was dying on the Cross, bearing the weight of the world’s sins on His shoulders, Jesus takes the time to make sure His Mother was taken care of after He died. (John 19:26-27)