Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
There are innumerable books on marriage and just as many on parenting. But how many books have you seen on the responsibility of children to their parents? Yet when God chooses one aspect of the family to include in the Ten Commandments, he does not choose marriage or parenting. Instead, God speaks to children about their parents: “Honor your father and your mother.”
Why is this so important to God? At least three reasons.
First, a stable society needs stable families and there are no stable families unless children honor their parents.
Second, children must learn respect for authority or they will not make it in life, and respect for authority begins in the home, with their parents.
Third, it is only right that children honor their parents, for all normal parents sacrifice endlessly for their kids. Most parents would die for their kids. In a heartbeat. It is only right that the children respect their parents.
How do we practically obey the fifth commandment and honor our parents? When we are young, it’s pretty simple: We obey. We obey right away, preferably with a good attitude.
But as we grow older and leave the home, we no longer obey our parents, but we do honor them. We express respect, appreciation and love. We call or write. We help them if they need it. We care for them if they need to be cared for. We treasure them and affirm them.
In all these ways we honor our parents. In doing so, we honor God as well.