When Honoring Your Father or Mother Is Difficult

“You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” (Luke 18:20, NIV)

Mothers and fathers are to be held in honor. “Honor: simply means high respect. The problem is that not all fathers and mothers are honorable. But Christ still confirms the fifth commandment. He never tells us, “Honor your father and mother, if they’re honorable.” 

If you are a parent, the way that you speak about your mother and father in front of your children will be a pretty good indicator of the way that your children will speak about you.

There aren’t any perfect parents, and if your relationship with a father or a mother has been difficult, you will probably struggle with what it means to honor them. 

The place to begin is here: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

This is what we do when somebody dies. We call to mind the things that were good – we honor them – even if there were many other things that are best forgotten. Christ calls us to make that our pattern while others are still alive.

Meditate on Philippians 4:8, and jot down some things about your parents that are (or were) true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Thank God for these things, and then find a way to thank them (if you can).

honoring father mother

Colin Smith (@PastorColinS) is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

Date Posted: May 15th, 2017