Insights in the Fifth Commandment

“Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12

To honor one’s parents implies obedience, submission, and respect. God created us to be most fulfilled when we operate in harmony with His “chain of command”. He has established parents (father and mother) to be the ultimate authority in a child’s life. It is through this God-ordained “chain” that children can thrive and mature to successful adulthood. Parents are like a tool in the hands of God, molding and shaping the child to maturity.

Obedience and submission is a necessary part of a child’s healthy development. While obedience requires outward adherence to rules and commands, submission deals with the inward attitude and willingness towards those giving the commands.

This commandment becomes more difficult and complicated when applied in the context of dysfunctional, evil, or abusive parents. Yet honoring one’s parents still remains clear. When obedience to certain rules/commands violate God’s higher law, the child is not under obligation to obey. Yet the child is still under obligation to honor. A respectful attitude versus rebellion is the key.

The command is not limited only to the “young” or “dependent” child, but also applies to an adult child. Though an adult is not required to “obey” or “submit” to the rules and commands of his parents, an important element of honor is respecting and caring for them.

It is a Biblical promise that the child who honors his/her parents will live a long (complete) life.

Observance of this commandment is critical. It is through this command that a child begins to develop faith, obeying without fully understanding why. It is the most fundamental lesson we must learn as it conditions us in relating to other authorities throughout our lives (employer, minister, government, teacher, etc.). Most importantly, if a child can learn to trust his parents without always understanding, he begins building the foundations for trusting God.

By honoring one’s parents, we also directly submit to God through His “chain of command”. The rewards life holds for such a person are unimaginable!

boy_jesus“Jesus Obeys His Parents”

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