Honor Your Parents

“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

There is a two-fold promise with the commandment to honor your parents – that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. When our children were young, we taught them the importance of honoring their parents, and we taught them the promise that goes with it. We would ask them, “What’s the first commandment with a promise?” And they would answer, “Honor your father and mother.” Then we would ask, “And what’s the promise?” And they would answer, “That it would be well with us and that we would live long on the earth.”

When you honor your parents, you give them your respect, not just your obedience. We taught our girls that you can obey without honor, but you cannot honor without obedience. For example, they could obey us and clean their room when we told them to, but it didn’t mean they had the right attitude while they did it. God is more interested in the yielding of the heart than He is in the execution of works. God always gave consequences for disobedience and rewards for obedience. If you want your children to obey you, remind them of the rewards. Encourage them to make life-giving choices.

Isaiah 1:9 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” The willing part is the honor part; it’s the heart part. If you will honor and obey, then you will receive from His life. If you are willing to honor and obey God, you will experience the blessings of His life.

In Matthew 15:1-9 Jesus compares the lack of honor the religious leaders had for God to the lack of honor they had for their parents. The religious leaders said that giving their parents monetary assistance fulfilled that commandment. Jesus disagreed with them. Honor is the love you should have for your parents in a relationship with them. Honor is not just about the works or the obedience; it’s about a genuine love and value given to the people you love. Jesus compared their lack of love for their parents to the lack of love they had in their worship to their heavenly Father. He said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” This is why they missed their Messiah when He was right in front of them. When we honor our Heavenly Father, from our heart, we will experience His presence. This is what God wants to have with us.

Application: If your parents are living and if you know who they are, do something for them, but do it from your heart of love and respect.

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