The first four Commandments are about our relationship with God (vertical) and the last six Commandments are about our relationship with others (horitzontal). Why God chose the relationship between children and parents as the next commandment is not surprising. It is the first relationship we encounter in this world. Whether the person who parents us is our biological parent or someone else, it is the beginning of relationships for each of us. Cultural influence continues to have a detrimental effect on how we respect our parents. Movies, sitcoms, songs and media discount the role and intelligence of parenting and authority in general. Yet God commands that we honor our parents. This means respecting them and taking them seriously by our attitude and actions. Blessings are in store when we obey this command.

Scriptures
Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16; Eph 4:26-27, 6:1; Col 3:20; Jn 15:10; Lk 17:2

Verse
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Ex 20:12).

Thought
The Fifth Commandment is another rock solid building block set on the first four. If you are obeying the first four, then the fifth and following should come naturally. However, for some, the parent-child relationship may be damaged. This is painful to overcome, and yet God doesn’t give anyone a pass on obedience to his commands. Honoring your mother and father means to love them even when that means you must take the initiative. Honoring your parents means forgiving them. Parents are not perfect or infallible. If there was abuse in your home and you had horrible parents, you still must forgive. Jesus understands your hurt and your heartache. He wants to free you from the toxic effect of unforgiveness. Honoring your parents means cooperating with them. God places parents, coaches, teachers, pastors and bosses in our lives for a reason. Learn to flow with the chain of command. God commands you to honor your parents because of who they are. Honoring your parents means valuing them at every age and stage of life. When you are young don’t talk to them flippantly or roll your eyes in disrespect. Don’t bad-mouth them to your friends. As you get older and they have needs, be there for them. Even as Jesus was dying on the cross, he asked John to take care of his mother. That certainly establishes how deeply God feels about this command.

Questions
Were you respectful of your parents as you were growing up? If so or if not, explain? How did you feel about friends who were disrespectful to their parents or bad-mouthed them? If you are a parent, what do you expect from your children as far as respecting you and their other elders? As an adult, how are you honoring your mother and father? Are you setting a good example for your children by displaying respect for authority figures in your life? What blessings does God promise for obedience?

Response
If you need to ask forgiveness of your parents do so. If you need to forgive them for past wrongs and hurts, ask God to help you and let it go. Make sure your parents’ needs are met. Include them in special days, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. Do thoughtful things to appreciate them (cards, calls, visits, and time).

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for bringing me to this place in life. Thank you for my parents, grandparents and all those who have influenced and guided me along the way. Help me to honor my parents and show them the respect you require. Forgive me when I fall short of your will. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.