By Pam Horton
With Mother’s Day in May, followed quickly by Father’s Day in June, it seems a good time to mention God’s fifth commandment, given to Moses in Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (NKJV).
God commands us to honor our parents. I suppose that could look different to different people, or in different cultures.
Proverbs 1:8 (NKJV) gives us a little insight into that: “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”
It sounds like we’re basically supposed to listen to their wisdom. I will be 60 this year. I admit that in my teens and early twenties, I did not honor my parents. I think this tends to be the case for many people.
As I got older, and had children of my own, I realized the wisdom my parents held—decades of experiences, good and bad, just ready to share with me so I could avoid some of the pitfalls they walked through. When I finally apologized for being such a tough teen, they graciously accepted my apology and chuckled when our boys were teens and didn’t listen to us.
Now that both our boys are older and have children of their own, I am having the same laughs that my parents did. It’s so funny to see your grandchild behave exactly like their parent had. We are blessed the boys have discovered we were not as clueless as they thought we were and they now seek our wisdom, as Jim and I still seek our parents’ wisdom.
As our parents get older, we still need to honor them. It’s interesting how the tables turn. Time progresses from us needing our parents to help us to our parents needing us to help them, and we need to do that. In 1 Timothy 5:4, it is talking, specifically about widows, but I think it should apply for both parents: “But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God” (NLT).
Jim and I are at that age where our parents are starting to need our help with some things. Jim’s dad has been gone for a year and a half now. He still has his mom, and she turns to him for questions about her finances. My parents are both still very active, but the time will come when they won’t be. We have a section of our home that is easily converted into a separate living space, and we’ll have one of my parents living with us, eventually.
It’s not only a commandment from God but a matter of the heart. While God knit us in the womb (Psalm 139:13), it is our parents who brought us into the world and cared for us until we were out of the house, and in some cases longer. We need to honor them so they may be glad.
As it says in Proverbs 23:25 (NLV), “Let your father and mother be glad, and let her who gave birth to you be full of joy.”Pam Horton grew up believing in Jesus. As a teenager and young adult, she turned away from her faith for a few years. Once she came back around to understand that it’s not about religion, but a relationship, she began a never-ending quest to grow closer to God. Through this process, she has learned to stress less and choose joy. Pam has published seven non-fiction books that are available through Amazon. She has also written articles for the Military Counseling Initiative and Youth Worker, as well as being featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents. Pam’s new book “#StressLess #ChooseJoy 250 Bible verses about JOY“ is available now through Amazon.