“Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (NLT)
“The world is passing through troubled times. Young people think only of themselves, with no respect for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint, talk as if they know everything, and treat older people’s wisdom as stupidity.”
These are words from a sermon preached by a man named Peter the Hermit in the year 1274. We might well wonder if anything much has changed! Honouring our parents has been an issue over the centuries. And it is not simply a case of good manners.
Honouring basically means respecting. And it will take a different form at different life stages. A young child shows respect by obedience, whereas an adult child might show respect by practical care and support. Honouring will not always mean agreement, but it always involves respect.
Behind these different shapes of honouring is a fundamental respect for who these parents are, a healthy regard for those who are older. So we reject that old saying that has us believe there are three stages in human life: childhood, adolescence, and obsolescence!
As with all biblical ethics, parents too have responsibility. They are not to be harsh with their children or disrespect them whatever age they might happen to be. We are urged to honour our parents, but parents are to be urged to make every effort to be honourable.