Honoring Our Parents Honors God
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12 (KJV)
This commandment comes with a promise if we obey it. Long life is our reward if we honor our parents. Since God attached a promise to this commandment, He must see it as especially important. What does it mean to honor someone, and why is it important to honor our parents?
To understand what the Lord means by honor, let’s look at that verse in another translation.
Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12 (Amplified Bible, AMP)
God expects us to respect, obey, and care for our fathers and mothers. Respect is something that has nearly vanished from our culture. If we fail to respect our parents, we disregard the command of the Lord. We are to obey them, especially during the years that we are living under their roof and they are providing for us. However, even in adulthood, our parents’ advice should not be overlooked since they have experience that we do not. Finally, we are to care for our parents. This means we love them and, as they age, we do what is necessary to help meet their needs. When was the last time you called or visited them? Yes, life is busy, but some things are more important than the busyness of daily life. Granted, some would argue that their parents abused them or did not provide for them or abandoned them. However, God does not list exceptions to this commandment. There are no loopholes. He expects us to give them honor. Why?
We are to honor them for the same reason we honor anyone in a place of authority; they represent the Ultimate Authority: God. Most parents have done the best they knew how to do and we are to give them respect because of their position as our parents. Your parents could have made every mistake in the world but they did one thing right- they did their part in bringing you into the world. No matter whether we agree with everything they have done, we owe them respect because they are our parents. It is the same as honoring a person in governmental authority. We may not agree with every president our country has had, but God expects us to honor the office they hold and pray for them. It is the same for parents. On the other hand, your parents may have been as close to perfect as they get- yet you are to honor them not just because of their performance, but because of their position.
God in His infinite wisdom chose who our parents would be. His ways are higher than our ways, and we know that His decisions are always good and right. We were born to the people God intended. Let’s value and honor them. As we honor them, we honor God.