In Exodus, we are told that the LORD gave the Hebrew people (and us) the Ten Commandments by which to live.The fifth commandment says:
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV
Commandments five thru ten all state how we need to relate to our fellow man.It is no accident that the very first of these mandates tells us of our duty to our parents, because our relationship to our parents is our first human bond, and lies at the root of all our future social relations.
The LORD tells us to “honor” our parents.The Greek word for “honor” is “timao”, and it means “to revere, prize, and value.”God commands us also to honor Him as our Heavenly Father.The honor we have for our earthly parents reflects the honor we should also have for our Heavenly Father.
It interesting the commandment says “Honor your father and your mother,” but Leviticus 19:3 reverses the order of the names.
“Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.” (NIV, bold print added)
In this verse, the mother is named first.This tells me both parents are to be honored equally.The order of the names in the fifth commandment does not mean the father is to receive more honor than the mother.Both parents are due honor from their adult children.
As Christians, we are to imitate the way Jesus lived His life.The Bible tells us Jesus honored His earthly parents.For example, when He was on the cross, He told His disciple John to care for His mother.
“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)
Honoring ones parents is the only commandment that comes with a blessing. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”(bold print added)
This blessing is repeated in Ephesians 6:2
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (NIV, bold print added))
So, the Bible makes it clear that we are to honor our parents throughout our lives.When we were children, there was a large amount of obeying parents that was included in how we honored our mother and father.As adults, we continue to honor our parents.There are a number of ways that adult children can honor their parents.Let’s take a look at some of them.
1.You should value the world that they live in, No matter how old they are, their lifestyle and interests should be respected.
2.Your parents possess and taught you many godly attributes.Don’t reject these qualities.Make them a part of your life also.
3.Honor your parents age.Don’t mock their limitations.Help them with the issues brought on by old age.
4.Protect your parent’s dignity.Don’t force them to rely on strangers for help in their old age.They provided for you and protected you for many years.Now it’s your turn.
5.You are a large part of your parent’s joy in life.Don’t ignore them.
6.Elderly parents many times require help with the basic needs in life.Be there for them.
The LORD God commands that His children honor their adult parents, and it teaches that failure to do so is a serious sin.
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5-8 (NIV)
Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law.Here is what He said:
“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV, bold print added)
If loving our neighbor as much as we love ourselves is the second greatest commandment, certainly we should love our parents as much as ourselves also.