“Honor your Father and Mother as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and so that you may prosper in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16 CSB
This is one of the 10 Commandments, the only one that comes with a promise attached to it. Life, specifically in this verse means to “prolong one’s days.” It’s important to understand this is a conditional promise. We have to fulfill our part of the equation: honoring our father and mother. No matter what age you are, you’re to honor your parents; whether young or old they deserve your respect. It has always been a challenge to me. I never appreciated them when I was younger, always thinking I knew better. I had the privilege of helping take care of both of my parents at the end of their lives. The requirements then are completely different, often unpleasant, and can be frustrating to say the least.
How does God command us to Honor our parents?
Forgive them for not being perfect. No one’s parents are perfect, they are human beings doing the best they can with whatever they were given. Be kind and compassionate to them, forgiving them as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 NIV). That means forgiving them for not letting you go to the concert in highschool. Forgive them for not allowing you to date whoever you wanted or go wherever you wanted. Forgive them for needing your help to work the remote control as they get older. Forgive them for the role reversal that happens as they age. Forgive them for not being exactly who you thought they should or could be.
Speak well of them, whether in private or public, your words should be respectful (Matthew 15:4 NIV). Paul tells us in his 1st letter to the Thessalonians we are to speak encouraging words to one another, building them up in hope (5:11 NIV). Doing that for our parents should be first and foremost in our language. God used them to give you the greatest gift of all, life itself. They diapered your bottom, fed and clothed you to the best of their ability. It is not an exaggeration that one day, you may be diapering theirs, even then, respect them with your words.
Seek their wisdom. They have lived longer than you, they have gone before you in the struggles of life. They know more than you know, whether you believe it or not. Solomon tells us in Proverbs, those who walk with the wise will be wise (13:20 NIV). You will be surprised what you learn if you listen to what they have to say. I can attest, my mother’s words ring in my ears more often than not since she passed. I wish I would have paid more attention to her when I had the chance. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. She always said I would miss her, she was right.
Honor your parents, God promises long and prosperous life if you do. But more than that, honor them because they deserve to be honored