There was a popular news story last week about a 30 year old man who was still living with his parents. They felt it was time for him to leave home but he didn’t take the hint. They sued in order to get him out of the house. He fought it in court but lost. It’s tempting to make a commentary about individuals who need to grow up and mature but my thoughts moved in another direction.
The fifth commandment, the first with a promise, is this: Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12) In our concerns about ethical and moral conduct in our day we hear little about this commandment. As believers, committed to Scripture, we need to pay attention to this directive.
There are some parents who have done a poor job or been abusive and are thus not really deserving of honor. The Bible does not imply that we should tolerate abuse or obey parents mindlessly. We, as adults, are not commanded to subordinate our lives to the will and wishes of our parents. It doesn’t even say that we have to love our parents. But we do have to honor them.
As adult children how can we do that? There are cultural implications. My observation is that people from more traditional or conservative cultures place more value on this command than some people in the West. However, believers from all cultures wrestle with showing appropriate honor to parents.
Here are some possible ways to honor your parents: pray for them, forgive them for their mistakes, speak well of them (not derogatory) in public and private, seek out their wisdom, support and provide for them when needed.
I’ve been blessed with amazing parents and find it easy to honor them. Others will struggle with finding the right way to honor their parents while recognizing their parents didn’t always do a good job. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in this area. If you find it hard to honor your parents then spend some time praying about it. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on showing honor. If you have good parents then let them know you honor and appreciate them. Being a parent is a tough job.