Honor Your Mother and Your Father

By Don Wilton   •   June 3, 2013   •   Topics: ,


When God issued this commandment to Moses on Mount Sinai, He demonstrated His sovereign plan for real relationships. How grand to be reminded of the wonderful truth concerning His invitation for all people to have a personal relationship with Him. Herein lies the hallmark of our Christian faith. In response to the love of the Father, Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross so that all sinners might believe in Him. This relationship comes when we repent of our sin before a holy and righteous God, confess that sin to the Lord Jesus Christ, and then trust in Him by faith.

What God demands of all those who have been brought into this personal relationship with Him is simple and clear: We are to honor Him. And just as we are to honor the One who created us, so we are to honor those who were chosen to carry out God’s plan for our creation—our fathers and mothers!

Before we unpack this beautiful command, allow me to say a word to those who have not had the joy of being reared by godly parents. This kind of pain is severe because the relationship between parents and their offspring is meant to be positive, nurturing and wholesome. Nonetheless, there are many who hurt deeply because of various kinds of parental abuse. How does a believer carry out God’s commandment here, and what would God have to say about this? May I suggest six things to consider?

1) Pray for your parents.

2) Keep on trying to help them, even though that may be difficult at times.

3) Model Jesus for them.

4) Exercise restraint in front of them.

5) Weep for them before the Lord, pouring your heart out to Him on their behalf.

6) Forgive them. The Lord can help you do this!

God designed parent-child relationships to be among the most vital of all human relationships. This may be why He spoke not only of honor, but also attached the promise of “long life” to His command in Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

In Proverbs 6:20-23, God’s Word tells us to pay attention to our fathers and to listen to our mothers. We are to hold their instructions in our hearts and tie them around our necks. In return, we receive guidance, protection, teaching and discipline—four ingredients no one can afford to live without. This command is certainly not a simple suggestion from God! It is a very serious exhortation to all of us.

This is especially true in our world today. We are living in a time when God is being humanized, genders are being neutralized, marriage is being ostracized and children are being victimized. The family is being trivialized, fathers are being demonized, mothers are being marginalized, roles are being disenfranchised and God’s order is being vandalized! Phew! As God “looked down” on the children of Israel in the valley below, He certainly had all people of all nations and all generations in mind.

God’s command to honor our parents is consistent with His divine order. He knows what is best for us. He loves us. He made us. That is why He issues this command and connects this promise into His basic plan for mankind. Just as we will live forever because we honor the Lord our God, so it is that we are given the promise of a well-lived, fruitful and happy life when we honor our parents.

The promise of a long life is the promise of God’s lifelong protection, guidance, deliverance and provision. Surely, there is hardly anything more precious than living in a loving relationship with your parents. In fact, you did not choose your parents. God did. And His design is for you to live your entire life in a continual state of honor and blessing.

Just as all believers give honor to almighty God and receive bountiful joy in return, so it is that children who give honor to their parents receive “boatloads” of joy in return. It is the law of God! Both my wife and I can bear testimony to this divine fact.

So, permit me to give you what I call the “Seven Keys to Honoring Parents.”

1) Value your parents’ world. No matter how old they are, they are living in a world that is highly relevant and valuable to them.

2) Respect your parents’ age. Don’t mock their limitations and inabilities. Love them in it.

3) Model your parents’ godly attributes. You know the many things they said and did that simply blessed your life, so go and do likewise! It honors them and the Lord. Besides, if it blessed you, just think how much it will bless their grandchildren.

4) Protect your parents’ individual dignity. The older they become, the more they will cherish your hedge of protection. Remember, they protected you when you were just starting out!

5) Fulfill your parents’ essential joy. Make it your business to find out what gives them joy. Sometimes it is as simple as a regular phone call—and please answer their calls. It makes their day.

6) Provide for your parents’ basic needs. Make certain you are not feasting at the king’s table while your precious parents are living on cans of baked beans! And, by the way, make sure they are eating right.

7) Just do it: Honor your God-given responsibility. Just do it. God said it. You will be so glad you did.

© 2013 Don Wilton

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.

Billy Graham’s book “Nearing Home” talks about life, faith and finishing well. It may help you better relate to your parents. To order a copy, visit www.BillyGrahamBookstore.org. You may wish to get a copy for Mom and Dad, too!

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  1. CLH says:

    Pray. Family dynamics can break hearts, but Jesus restores them. HE knows pain and wants to heal everything that is wrong. Love your parents. Do not let them seem unloveable and do not seem unloveable to them. Pray for them. Pray for the family relationship and relationship with God. God knows all about the hurt. Let him heal you. Come to him. He is THE FATHER. Respect your parents and continue to show them the love of Jesus even if it seems difficult. Be the example. Just pour the love out upon them. You need each other and you need to invite Jesus into your family. Intercession and prayer are powerful.

  2. Laura slayton says:

    I have a question. What do you do, when you have done all you could to take care of your parents and they trow you out of their life for it. Or its as if the relationship is one sided, from the child. I love my parents, I respect and honor them. But its as though if I don’t call PR go see them, then we will not see each other. What should I do?

  3. Chris Chan says:

    My nephew is a very young believer, his parents are non-believers. His mother forbid him to attend church!
    My nephew is bound by “honor your parents” in the bible. He asked me – How do I suggest he honor his mother decision and go to church?”
    I do not know how to answer him. Please help.

    1. Annette says:

      I believe we are to honor God first and then honor our parents. Don’t let anyone keep you from church. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your parents. Just keep loving and honoring your parents as you continue to honor God. Remember when Jesus left his parents to go to the temple. He was only 12 but he knew he had to honor and be with his heavenly father first. I will be praying for you.

  4. E stephens says:

    These words are very true.I will always honor mother and father because I love them so much thay showed me the way. My mother is 88 years old I am thankful. Thanks, Eddie

  5. Linda says:

    I am the mother of a 36yr old daughter. She is my only child and she seems to be cutting me out of her life. I am heartbroken because she doesn’t want to be close to me. I am also very lonely because my marriage has not been that close either.. Please pray for me.

    1. Danyelle C. says:

      Mrs. Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your situation. When we are faithless he remains faithful. I know you may feel lonely or alone but God is with you. I have prayed for reconciliation, forgiveness and connection for you, you daughter and husband. God bless you all.

  6. Karen Olson says:

    Our youngest adult daughter (43) has thrown us out of her life and our granddaughter’s life (as well as her husband’s). It’s a long story but my husband and i have been married 54 years. We have been followers of Christ ever since we were young – I fell away in my 20’s but THANK GOD He called me back and I returned to love him. We are parents w/a developmentally disabled daughter also. She has given us so much strength and love through this. She, of course, loves her sister but cannot understand why, if they feel hurt/offended, they won’t let us make amends. On my 74th birthday I got a letter stating our daughter no longer wanted us in their lives. This was in Sept. Our hearts are broken. Please pray for our family-thank you

    1. Dee Schussler says:

      May God give you strength thru this difficult time and change your daughters heart. I feel your pain because I am in a similar situation with my daughter. She claims to be a Christian and has decided to exclude me from her life and turned my grandchildren against me also. She has judged me wrongly because of a misunderstanding 5 years ago. Hurt, miss them, pray for them. What else can we do? I wrote many letters and was screamed at not to write anymore. I will pray for you. Please pray for me. Thank you. Sister in Christ, Dee

    2. Danyelle C. says:

      May God bless your family with forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. I decree that God will speak to your daughter’s heart and the heart of her husband to make peace with God with casting their burdens on Him and seek forgiveness from Him from holding bitterness and resentment. I declare that they forgive anyone they feel that has caused harm in their live. May God bring you all back closer than before in Jesus Name.