“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
Did you know this is the ONLY commandment with a promise? How awesome it is to be guaranteed a blessing of living in God’s land for being obedient? Simply.Amazing.
We honor our parents in three ways:
1. Children must accept their parents’ authority while living under their roof and understand they have more life experience and knowledge. The parent-child relationship is a God-given hierarchy that was made specifically for the benefit of the child. Parents must assume loving authority over their children by being Godly examples of Christ. Likewise, children must submit to parental authority at all times, even when the child doesn’t believe the parent is right.
2. Adult children must affirm their parents’ faithfulness. As adults, but still children to our parents, we should offer them gratitude toward their parenting efforts. Tell them you appreciate them, even if you have to FIND something good to say.
3. Adult children should meet their parents’ needs. Our parents will need care as they get older. We need to be meeting their physical needs such as moving them into our home, getting them established in a retirement or nursing home, cooking meals, providing transportation to and from appointments. But we must also meet their emotional needs including phone calls, visits, physical contact, and prayer. Sometimes meeting these needs can be costly and inconvenient, but so is raising children. We must remember there is ALWAYS a way to honor our parents, even if prayer and forgiveness is all you have to offer.
It’s important to remember that sometimes parents fail:
1. We fail from pure laziness. We set rules but are too tired to enforce them. That is of course, until they break something that belongs to us! Parenting is hard work but we must persevere.
2. Insecurity causes us to become soft for fear of upsetting the child. We should never lower our standards just to please our children. Children need boundaries and guidance as well as parents with their best interests at heart.
3. Sin in our own lives causes us to fail. This sin will eventually take up our time, our energy, and our own thoughts that will ultimately take these things away from our children.
The balance to the parent-child relationship is authority and responsibility. There should always be an equal balance between the amount of authority our children have and the amount of responsibility that they have. When children are little, they have no authority and we do everything for them – bathe them, cook their meals, dress their tiny bodies. At the same time, they have absolutely zero responsibility. As our children grow and become more mature, their authority over themselves increases as do their responsibilities (such as chores). Eventually, our children move out and have full authority over their lives as well as full responsibility. We must prepare them for this!
Parents, pray that your children fail while still living at home. Pray they make mistakes so that YOU as their parents can correct them and speak God’s truth into their lives. Remind your children (and yourself) that their worth comes from God alone, not other people, wealth, or possessions.
And remember…. There is a blessing when we honor our parents!