Christians stress godly parenting.
But when was the last time you heard an adult lesson on honoring parents?(1)
God included it in His 10 Commandments, and He lists disrespect for parents in several lists of wicked attitudes (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 1:28-32).
Yet many Christians prefer the world's "fifth commandment" which goes something like this: "Parents, honor your adult children. Have no expectations. Give them what they ask. Keep your advice to yourself. Then it might go well with you."
There's an alarming trend in our world of adult children neglecting, rejecting, blaming, and estranging parents, even using grandchildren as pawns to punish or manipulate their parents.
Jesus says we can't honor Him if we're dishonoring our parents (See Matthew 15:3-9).
The two are related.
If we're treating our parents with less respect than our friends, we aren't listening to Scripture.
When we honor our parents, we honor God. When we dishonor our parents, we dishonor God (Ephesians 6:2; Exodus 20).
See this archive of 1-minute devotions on Honoring Parents
(1) Often Mother's and Father's Day sermons stress a mother's and father's responsibilities more than on our need to honor mothers and fathers.
Bible Study1. Adult children often excuse their neglect or dishonor of their parents because their parents are difficult people. They are basing their obedience on their parents' worthiness, not on God's worthiness.
1 Peter 3:14: But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
James 4:17: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.
2. When adult children actively seek to honor their parents, it can have incredible impact on the relationship, and the children often realize how much of the problems they created. Even if the relationship remains difficult, honoring our parents helps us develop godly character.
Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
3. Note the emphasis of these passages:
Malachi 4:5-6: “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
This Scripture is describing the ministry of John the Baptist, but the mission continues after Christ's first coming. As 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, disrespect for parents is a sign of the end times. Malachi uses the term "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" to mean the time the wicked are judged and the godly are rewarded - i.e. Christ's Second Coming. Luke repeats this prophecy, using the term "disobedient" in place of "children."
Luke 1:17: And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
2 Timothy 3:1-5: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Disobedience to parents is also listed as an adult sin in Romans 1:30. See the notes about this in Outward Godliness.
Matthew 15:3-9: Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com