Please read Are You Losing Your Blessings as a good introduction to this study.
There is a serious problem in the body of Christ. A growing number of adult children are ungrateful, critical, and disrespectful toward their Christian and non-Christian parents.
They are magnifying their parents' faults and minimizing their parents' sacrifices and love.
They expect grace from their parents, but give very little in return. Unfortunately, many in the church are sympathizing with these fault-finders in direct contradiction to God's Word.
When we become adults, we take on adult responsibilities toward our parents. We no longer obey them, but we do our part to have a meaningful relationship with them.
God never excuses disrespect toward parents because disrespect toward parents shows disrespect for His commands and promises.
Even if your parents made some large mistakes, you can return good for evil and be blessed by God (Romans 12:21).
Six truths that help us understand the scriptural view of honoring parents:
1. The Death Penalty
In the nation of Israel, God commanded that children who curse their parents be put to death. This was a civil law for a period in Israel's history, not a permanent law of God. But it shows the emphasis God puts on our words spoken to and about our parents. The principle is not limited to verbally cursing a parent.
And if we doubt that this law reflects God's hatred for dishonoring parents, we need only read the words of Jesus who quotes this law in Matthew 15. Jesus applies this principle to people who neglect their parents while claiming to be spiritual.
Leviticus 20:9: Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
Matthew 15:4: For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.'
Read the full passage here: Matthew 15:1-9.
2. Cursing Parents
Cursing someone can mean speaking a verbal curse over them, but it includes more than that. The Hebrew word in this sentence means "to bring into contempt, accurse, despise."
This would include speaking negatively about your parents around your children so that your children form disrespectful views toward them. It can be appropriate to share parental difficulties with a few close friends or with a counselor, but we must use caution and ask ourselves how we are expressing our disappointments and why.
Proverbs 20:20: If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
Proverbs 30:11-13: Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances.
3. Mocking Parents
We can also show contempt for our parents by making fun of them, looking down on them or speaking flippantly to or about them. The Hebrew word for "mocks" in the verse below means to "laugh, scorn, mock."
Talking about our parents in this manner is never appropriate.
Proverbs 30:17: The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
4. The Elderly
Leviticus 19:32 commands people to stand in the presence of the elderly as a way of showing them respect and also showing reverence for God.
This command is not based on the character or importance of the elderly person, but on their age. God obviously thinks respect for the elderly is important.
Scripture considers respect for parents the norm. The verse below assumes that we speak respectfully to our own parents, something that often isn't true in this day and age.
1 Timothy 5:1: Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.
God commands us to honor and respect different types of leaders, even secular government leaders, based on their age and position, not based on their character or integrity. We honor our parents because God says we owe them honor, not because they have "earned" it.
Romans 13:1: Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Why do you think the Fifth Commandment and the verse below promise blessings on those who honor their parents? Why would God give this command an emphasis He doesn't give the others?
Ephesians 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
6. "Unworthy" Parents
Luke 6:32: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
1 John 4:20: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
I know people who love ungodly unbelievers enough to spend their lives sharing the gospel, but they place "boundaries" in their relationship with their parents because they find their parents annoying. That means they are picking and choosing which of God's commands to obey and it shows a lack of love for God as well as a lack of love for their parents.
John 14:23: Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
God will not simply look at their service to the gospel. He will also look at their obedience to the gospel.
Beware of "Christianized" teachings about Boundaries which tell us we are victims and the only way to become victorious is to avoid difficulties. See Are Henry Cloud's Boundaries Teachings Biblical? You'll find reviews of specific Boundaries articles and books in the collection called Are Boundaries Biblical. I especially recommend Blame your Mom to see how this teaching is based on Freudian blame-shifting, not Scripture.
Note: In situations where a parent is physically abusive, mentally ill, or criminal, God will guide and direct adult children how to honor His command without being abused and without enabling his parents ungodly behavior. But we must be careful not to exaggerate our situation, thinking we can neglect or reject a parent simply because they are annoying or difficult.
copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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