Whatever else you may feel about your parents, you are called by the fifth commandment, to honor your parents, who brought you into the world and are given to be your teachers and guides. The rule of honor is probably as universal as any human duty. No child, young or old, ought ever to dishonor his parents. Plato recognized that honor to parents is second only to piety toward God.
Although we all know honoring our parents is so important yet we know so little about it and sometimes find it so difficult to fulfil.
What does honoring our parents mean? The Hebrew word for honor refers to something like ‘weightiness’. Thus, the command means, literally, “to regard as heavy.” To honor means that you respect the person who carries a great deal of weight in your life. It is a willingness at least to listen to the voice of one’s father or mother, those whom God gives to be our teachers and guides.
In the New Testament, Paul’s word to Christian children carries the same expression as the fifth commandment, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right …” (Eph. 6:1-3).
Paul says that the proper attitude must therefore be this: I must obey my parents because the Lord commands me to do so. What He says is right because He says it! It is God who determines what is right and what is wrong. Hence, when I obey my parents I am obeying and pleasing my Lord. When I disobey them I am disobeying and displeasing Him.
How far are we to honor and obey our parents? We are to obey them in everything (Col. 3:20). We cannot pick and choose or give excuses. We are to obey our parents in everything insofar as their commands agree with those of God but if they required us to do anything wrong, we should not be called to obey them. God attaches a promise to this command. Though in the context of Exodus, the promise here is national, yet it is also true that the blessing of life is promised for anyone who is obedient to God’s command. Many Christians think that this promise is still fulfilled to dutiful sons and daughters— they do live longer. For disobedient children soon fall into sinful ways and among wicked associates, drain their health, and come to an untimely end, for examples: the sons of Eli; Absalom and many youths whom I have known. On the other hand, how different it is with the obedient child; he is an ever-flowing source of joy to his parents!
Rev. Mark Tay