The Bible distinguishes between obeying and honoring. Honoring goes beyond mere obedience. For example, an adolescent who obeys his parents’ requests while ridiculing them with such comments as “My old man’s a real jerk!” or “My parents are really out of it!” is certainly not honoring them. While adults are not told to “obey” their parents, God’s command to “honor your father and mother” is not addressed only to children. His command is for adults too! And how do we adults honor our parents? Honoring them means more than merely providing for their bodily needs. For example, a son felt that he was honoring his elderly and eccentric mother by providing her with medical care, food, clothing, and a room in his home. But, then he forbade her to be in the living room with his family, and instead of rebuking his children he laughed with them when they made fun of her. Was he really honoring his mother? We honor our parents when we treat them with respect and make them feel wanted and important in our lives. For example, a daughter telephones her mother weekly to keep her informed of the details of her family’s life and visits several times a year. She also arranges some vacation time for family visits, and encourages her children to include grandma in their activities. Honoring parents shows them they are still an important part of the family.
We often feed our parents the scraps of our attention, not realizing how starved they are for participation in our lives. God tells us to honor them because He knows how much they need our honor!
By Alan H. Crosby
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org