Honor Your Parents

Fifth Commandment



Exodus 20: 12

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

This is the center commandment.

It is the only commandment with a promise attached.



Why does He want us to honor our mother and father ?

So we might live,

So we won't be weighed down,

So we won't be taken captive by bitterness,

So we won't come to destruction,

So we might enjoy God's good gifts to use through the days of our lives.


How should we do this? 

And, personally, why should I?

What if MY father is not the one described in 1 Thess 2:11-12??

What if I suffer the pain of NOT having one who encouraged and comforted me?

Does this commandment apply to those who have been abused by their parents?  


Yes, it applies to all of us; to those with loving, godly parents, AND  to those without those parents.

God did not give a list of exceptions exemptions, or special considerations.  And on top of that, He repeated it again in the New Testament to make sure we knew it was to us also that He gave this commandment.

Ephesians 6:2-3

"Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--
that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Yes, no matter what has happened in the past to us, God is interested in our RIGHT NOW.  

 He wants to change our hearts right now - not tomorrow. 

He wants to teach us and bless us right now - not sometime in the future when we "have our act together."

He wants to protect us from destructive thoughts and actions right now.


If we settle this matter of honoring our parents right now, we each can be a different person. 

 If we forgive our parents from our heart, we can be a different kind of parent to our own children.  

We can be that honorable parent; a parent free from bitterness; a parent, and a child, that God can bless and use!


God holds those parents who have abused their children accountable. 

Matt 18:6

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

He understands the pain caused to these children, yet He still tells us to honor them.


But how do we do that??

John 14:15; 15:10

If you love me, you will obey what I command.

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.



He tells us how to do that in His Word:

1. By loving them.  

  It is a commandment that we must obey.  Spend time with them; tell them you love them.

  I can abide in His love only if I obey His commandments - even if it is hard to do so.




Isa 53:3, 5-9

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.


2.  By forgiving them.

  Christ endured far worse than anything we have been through. 

  He forgave,.

He loved

 He laid down His life for those who abused Him.  

When forgiving, the innocent party is the one that almost always pays. But the price is worth paying.



Satan gains a lot of ground in a  believer's life who is unwilling to forgive.

He knows very well that bitterness and unforgiveness have the power to lock up your life in the past.  


Ephesians 4:24-27 

and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
"In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
and do not give the devil a foothold.

The person who does forgive will know and experience the mighty blessing of God.

Forgiveness is extremely powerful.  If I want His blessings, and want to be a blessing, I must be willing to obey- even when it hurts.  The hurt will pass away.  God's smile is forever. 



A study of this commandment is certainly more than it first appears!  There is never a time that God does not expect it.  Perhaps that is why he has placed within a child the ability to love even the abuser-  Because He know that later on in life it will be to his/her benefit.

I am personally very grateful to have found a counselor who taught that concept.  No matter what has happened to me in the past, I can honestly say that it is possible to love even the abusive parent. 

  All around us we can find people who are making a huge difference in the world because they have learned that forgiveness.  Despite a childhood of abuse, many become great humanitarians and compassionate healers.  What a great power God has made available to us!!  how could we refuse such a gift?


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If you are interested in further study,  I recommend "The Ten(der) Commandments" by Ron Mehl. 

(Thank you, Beth, for loaning me that book!!!)