“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
Showing honor to one’s parents was a given in the Old Testament times as adult children would often take care of their aging parents both financially and practically.
But in today’s culture, not only do young children disrespect their parents, but even adult children fail to show reverence and give honor to their aging parents.
From speaking ill of them to others, to talking back to them with unkind words, often our sinful hearts spew out resentment or bitterness towards the ones who raised us.
To go back to the basics, remember God uniquely chose your parents specifically for you.
It’s not a mistake that He entrusted your mom and dad to care for you – it was by His sovereign design.
And in learning to honor one’s parents, so our hearts are positioned to honor God as the ultimate authority over our lives.
As children, we learn how to submit to authority by obeying our parents.
And although this dynamic changes when we become adults, we must still honor our parents and show reverence to them.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean they get to tell us what to do or how to live. As adults we are not required to obey our parents – however, we still must honor them.
And while it’s always prudent and wise to accept Godly counsel from Christian parents, once we have our own households and families, we are to carve our own paths in obedience to God’s will.
So what does honoring one’s parents look like?
It starts with a heart of gratitude and giving thanks for all they’ve done (and likely continue to do) for you as their child.
Words can either build up or destroy one’s spirit. As their precious child, you have the power to encourage their spirit as they grow old.
If they are Christians, you can pray with them and encourage their walk with the Lord.
But what about those of us who grew up in dysfunctional homes with abusive or addicts as parents? Does this give us a pass to show contempt or dishonor them?
No, it doesn’t.
It may mean setting appropriate boundaries such as not allowing your alcoholic mother to see her granddaughter if she’s been drinking.
But we are still called to honor our parents.
If your parents are unbelievers, you should continue to pray for their salvation.
You can also demonstrate the ultimate power of forgiveness by learning to forgive them for the wrong they may have done to you.
And finally, there are practical ways to honor our aging parents – whether it’s taking them to doctor’s appointments or helping them manage their finances.
In honoring your parents, you are honoring God.
As your parents enter their final days on this earth, consider it a blessing to be able to give back to the ones who raised and cared for you.
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