Many of us are familiar with the 10 commandments, and even if you’re not a believer, you can probably agree the world would be a better place if everyone put these into practice. Exodus 20 breaks them down for us, and verse 12 tells us to “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Did you know this is the first commandment tied to a promise?
It is repeated in Exodus 6:2-4…."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."
I think it’s important to note that it does not provide any stipulations or conditions. It simply says to “Honor them.”
I cannot sit here and tell you I have always done that. There have been times I have disobeyed, been disrespectful, dishonest, and downright defiant (particularly during my teenage years). However, I have since asked for forgiveness. Of course my precious parents were gracious and quick to forgive and forget. I am so beyond THANKFUL for both my mom and dad and know that I am truly blessed to be their daughter. I pray both of them are around for many, many years as they bring so much light, love, generosity, and wisdom to everyone who knows them. The truth is, it’s EASY to love them and honor them.
I know that is not always the case. However, the Bible does not say to “only honor your parents if they are Christians” or any other conditional statements following that commandment.
Once you are an adult, you no longer ‘answer to’ them and must make prayerful decisions for your family, but there is still a respect factor. You may not always agree with everything they say, do, etc., but you treat them with respect regardless. As an adult, I believe it is important to take care of our parents if they need it. (Truly NEED help. Galatians discusses two different types of burdens, and we are to take care of our parents when their burdens are so crushing they can no longer carry their own ‘baggage.’ Really interesting word study in those two verses.)
That is one things many other cultures got right and we can definitely take a lesson from them regarding that issue. Jesus even corrected the Pharisees for not taking care of their parents. They were too busy being “religious.” I(n today’s society, I believe many of us are too selfish to take care of our parents.) Check out Matthew 15:1-9.
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came
to Jesus, saying,“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For
they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”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.’”
Parents obviously have standards as well, and the Bible addresses that too but that’s a whole different post. This one for children, and obviously ALL of us fall into that category and are commanded to honor mom & dad. Can you honestly say you are HONORING your parents? And if you are blessed enough to be a parent, as you modeling a good example for your children in how you treat your own parents??
I pray our children honor us, and I pray we are the type of parents who make that an easy task.
Mom & Dad- Thank you for who you are. For the example you are to all of us. For loving all of us even through our little terd years (and moments that still happen). Thankful to have you both as mentors, as friends, and as grandparents. Love you both more than words!