Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD
your God has commanded you, that your days may be long upon the land which the
Lord your God is giving you. (Ex 20:12)
We look at rosy-cheeked, giggly
babies and our hearts overflow with a loving urge to care for them. But when it
comes to elderly people, that natural urge to ensure their well-being is
significantly diminished. Whereas we see hope in our children’s sparking eyes,
we often find only a wistful melancholy in our parents’ hazy ones. In this
context, it does not seem odd that we would need a commandment to remind us to
honor our parents.
This commandment is reiterated in
Deuteronomy 5:16 and Ephesians 6:1-3. Even the Lord Jesus quotes this
commandment as one of the prerequisites to inherit eternal life (Mt 19:16-19;
Why do we need to be told to honor
our parents? Because it is a course of action which must be chosen consciously
again and again. It requires us to go out of our way to do something for our
parents, to show them proper respect and loving care. And, this service to our
parents should be sincere and willing. No excuses, not just going through the
Why is it so challenging for us to
honor the very ones who brought us up and sacrificed for us over so many years?
It is easy to forget the love our
parents have devoted to us and only see their current weaknesses and demands.
They may be completely clueless when it comes to technological advances such as
the cell phone, the e-mail, or the iPod. They may be adamant about sharing
advice unsolicited. They may have a fragile health that requires constant attention
and financial expenses.
Our parents’ needs may be
exhausting on many levels. But they have given up half their lives for us
before. Even more amazingly, God has attached a reward for us to do what is
only reasonable. Few commandments come attached with a promised blessing.
Surely God has a reason for providing the incentive. If we fulfill our filial
duty to our parents, we will receive longevity and prosperity in this world and
in God’s kingdom.
Questions for Reflection:
1. What is your definition of
honoring your parents?
2. What is your biggest obstacle
to spending time with your parents and honoring them?