Family relationships are important to God. This is made clear all throughout His Word. I’ve always believed that our earthly relationships were put into place to demonstrate our spiritual relationships. For example, God is referred to as our Father. His role in our lives is very similar to that of parents and their children. He provides for us, protects us, guides us, nurtures us, etc. And as His children, we are called to obey Him for the same reason a child obeys their earthly father – He loves us enough to say ‘no’ when we need to hear it.
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God’s desire is that our earthly father would reflect His heart towards us. Unfortunately today, that’s not always the case; but that doesn’t change the fact that He is our good, good Father.
Because God cares so much about how we relate to one another, six of the Ten Commandments deal directly with relationships. That certainly says something about how God desires for us to treat one another!
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. – Exodus 20:12
This particular commandment took on a whole new meaning for me when I became a parent. My daughters are currently preschoolers, and needless to say, they can be a lot to handle sometimes. I have to say no… a lot. No, you can’t jump off the furniture. No, you can’t have cookies for dinner. No, you can’t drink the soapy water in the bath tub. (That last one is a daily battle with my youngest!) I never say no out of spite. I’m not on some sort of power trip. I say ‘no’ because I love them with everything I have. I want what’s best for them, and I want them to be safe and healthy.
As a child, I knew that I was supposed to obey my parents; but as a parent, I now fully understand why.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:1-4
But notice how the Bible says to “honor” our parents. In all honesty, obedience is one of many ways we can show them honor. It’s certainly the main way for a young child; but for an adult, honoring your parents looks a bit different.
Eight ways to honor our parents as adults:
- Respect and learn from their wisdom.
- Help to meet their needs.
- Spend time with them.
- Remember special events. (Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
- Love them unconditionally – being willing to forgive when necessary.
- Always speak highly of them.
- Understand their value in the eyes of God.
- Honor their legacy.
The word “honor” in the original Hebrew means to glorify or bring value to. When we bring honor to our earthly relationships, we are demonstrating a godly relationship to those around us.
Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God. – 1 Timothy 5:3-4 (NLT)
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
What are some other ways we can choose to honor our parents as adults? Feel free to leave ideas in the comment section below!