Its number five on the Ten Commandments and it’s not just a rule for children. If you check out the context in Exodus 19 and 20 you will see that God spoke this and all of the commandments directly to the Children of Israel unlike the scene from Cecil B. DeMille. Christ later confirmed it as a commandment for adults in Matt. 15. But how do we as adults honor our parents? Our society has moved us out of extended families so it becomes harder for us to demonstrate this to our parents.
I will first say that visiting the folks twice a year hardly counts towards honor as much as it relieves guilt. Think of the decisions that we have to make in which we could use some good advice. Instead of asking advice of people our own age is it possible that our parents with their greater life experience might be a better choice?
Are you a new parent? Do you think your mother might know something about babies or event teen agers? Our pride often keeps us from going to a great source of child rearing knowledge. Ever have a tough parenting issue? I think your parents have lived through tough times and could help you.
We can honor our parents by keeping communication lines open. When was the last call, card or email that wasn’t related to a special day? Developing a good relationship depends on communication. If your relationship has been stormy, it’s time for you to make a move in the right direction. Don’t wait for them to make the first move. I have never heard anyone say they wished they had talked less to their parents at a funeral.
The biggest way I believe to honor our parents is to keep forgiveness flowing. Some of you have held a grudge against your parents for years. The Bible tells us to forgive as Christ forgave us. I think that means completely. No parent is perfect and they made mistakes. No child is perfect and you made mistakes too. Here is a great exercise to set you free from unforgiveness. Spend time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember wrongs that you have done toward your parents. Step two is to ask mom and dad to forgive you. If it is impossible to do this, write a letter of forgiveness and mail it. If your parents are deceased then read this letter to God and ask Him to forgive you.
Honoring our parents isn’t always easy but it is always right. There is a reward for doing this “So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”