God’s commandment to honor parents included a promise. He told the Israelites to treat parents with respect so their “days may be prolonged in the land” that He was giving them (Ex. 20:12). This did not guarantee that respecting authority would necessarily mean survival until old age; the words “days” and “prolong” seem to imply productivity, strength, and satisfaction rather than a certain number of years.
That divine promise still applies. Sadly, our chaotic world prizes independence over obedience and youthful opinion over the wisdom that comes with maturity. In today’s anti-God climate, we see children of all ages rebelling—but they often seem to escape discipline. This has led to two dangerous attitudes: One says that people need not accept responsibility for their actions, and the other permits neglecting the greater good in favor of personal goals. To find an example, simply look at our roads, where it’s not hard to find someone ignoring the posted speed limit.
To build a Christ-honoring community within the worldly culture, believers should instruct children to honor parents and then appropriately discipline any failure to show respect. One important way to teach this lesson is by modeling honor—our families should see us treat our own parents with care and consideration.
Honoring Mom and Dad is not a suggestion. The Lord has placed these important people in our life. Whether or not we feel they have served well in that capacity, we’re to obey God by offering them care and respect.