By Georgia (Jo) Kent
“…Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
Parents… They give us the gift of life, love us, and care for us. Loving us when we are unlovable; faithfully, unconditionally, never asking for anything in return. Today, we see less and less respect and honor shown towards our elders in families everywhere.
God included the responsibility for honoring one’s parents in the Ten Commandments. There were no exceptions listed, even if your parents were terrible, this is still God’s Word to you. As long as one’s parents are alive, the responsibility to honor them remains. Think about this: God himself promises that if you will honor your parents you will have a long and blessed life. What a promise! Regardless of your age, consider your responsibility to honor your parents. We need to learn from Scripture what God means by “honoring” our parents, so we can honor our parents and be blessed with a long and fruitful life.
“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
The temptation in life, especially in young and middle adulthood, is to get so busy with life that we take our parents for granted. But instead of taking them for granted the scriptures teach us its time to begin investing our time in them just as they invested their time in us. There are a lot of acts of kindness you can perform but just spending time with them is first on the list. Honoring your parents is not just speaking politely to them, or telling others that they are great parents. If your parents have needs, you should help them. In this way, according to Jesus, you are showing them honor.
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9
Take a moment to look at the way you are treating your parents. This means in thoughts and deeds. Not just how you act towards them when you are around them, but also examine your thoughts, how it is you think and feel about your parents in your heart. Examine yourself closely and see if there are any changes that need to be made to line your life up with God’s word. If changes in attitude are needed, then ask God to help and begin to make those changes today. Reality for many of you is that you have parents that do not treat you very well; nonetheless, you are still called by God to respect your parents. By respecting your parents even when you do not feel they deserve your respect, allows God to work on your behalf because you have been obedient to his word.
Remember that if you sacrifice one thing for them, they will sacrifice another million for you. Keep that in mind and you’ll love them even more. Call/text/email things to them often, make them a part of your world. Show them that you value them and care. Parents love nothing more than talking to you. One way to start following the command is to pray for them daily. Finally, just love them a little bit more every day! You too will stand in their shoes one day.
Father, thank you for the gift of children. I pray that as my children grow older they will also grow in their desire to seek after You and obey your commandments. Keep a humble heart in all parents toward their children, and children towards their parents. In your name Lord, Amen.