Honor thy father and mother:
“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” -Deuteronomy 5:16 (KJV)
If you have been in church any length of time, I am hopeful you have heard the ten commandments, the law given to Moses from God for God’s people. One of those laws is to honor your father and mother. This command came with a promise that it would go well for God’s people in the land God gave them (Canaan). As a new Christian, I wanted to make sure I was doing this new changed life thing right, but not quite sure what to do with this particular scripture. I mean don’t kill-okay. Don’t steal-okay. Don’t commit adultery-okay, but this one I just wasn’t sure.
I remember reading this as a new Christian and thinking yeah maybe if you had parents that were honorable, but what if they were/are not honorable. What if you had parents that abused you, neglected you, or abandoned you? What if you haven’t spoken to your father or mother for 5, 10, 15, or 20 years because they refuse to speak to you? What if your father or mother are incarcerated or not safe to talk to? What if you have no idea where your father or mother are? Y’all this is real life and there are some broken families that can make walking out this command a little more difficult. The more I pondered this commandment the more it troubled me. How can one honor those that are not honorable? What does that even look like? What I learned as a result of searching the scriptures and praying is summarized below.
God does not say honor your parents IF they are honorable. There is no loophole to do otherwise.
Honor is given to whom honor is due and God said they are to be honored
1 Peter 2:17 says to honor every one. No loophole here either
Proverbs 3:27 says “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Again, God says they are due honor.
1 Timothy 5:8 takes it a step further by stating “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This doesn’t apply ONLY to relatives we like or the ones that are easy to love. It means everyone.
The desire to question and resist this command came from a place of un-forgiveness (for me)
For some honoring your parents will require forgiveness FIRST and it is a process that takes time and work.
Because God forgave me of all my sins against Him, I am able to forgive others including those that have caused me the most pain.
It’s hard!!! I and you can do hard things because Christ strengthens us to fulfill the commandments.
There are different ways to honor your parents and you have to find what is right for your situation.
Sometimes we have to honor from behind the scenes and from a distance. They may never know you are blessing them and that is okay because it is known to the Lord.
Do regular self check-ins. Are my behaviors and attitudes towards my father and mother honoring?
“Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.” -Leviticus 19:3 (KJV)
“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)
“Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” -Ephesians 6:2 (KJV)