What Honor Is and Isn’t
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.—Deuteronomy 5:16
Honor, as we have already seen, is the third significant word that impacts our families in multi-generational ways. But people always wonder about the lines and limits of honor. Let’s look briefly at what honor is and isn’t.
Honoring your parents does not mean these three things:
1. Honoring your parents does not mean groveling back and seeking their approval. Honoring is choosing to give, not trying to get. God wants us to be free from bondage to anyone’s approval but His. The apostle Paul said, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
2. Honoring your parents does not mean making yourself vulnerable to their hurtful behavior. There are appropriate boundaries between people.
3. Honoring your parents does not mean ignoring or denying the past.
But honoring does mean these things:
1. Honoring your parents means choosing to place great value on your relationship with them and knocking off the attitude that it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It matters to God.
2. Honoring means taking the initiative to try to improve the relationship in whatever increments you can.
3. Honoring your parents means recognizing they have done some things right. You might think, “My parents didn’t do anything right!” Your perspective is clouded, possibly by great pain. But they did something right. God will show you.
4. Honoring means acknowledging the sacrifices they have made for you.
5. Honoring means seeing your parents as Christ does with compassion and mercy.
6. Honoring your parents means forgiving them even as God in Christ has forgiven you.
The goal of God’s command to honor is not that you would do some minor upgrading in your attitude toward your parents, but that you come to a crisis of deciding to officially honor your parents. You might call it a tribute. Take the time to write two or three paragraphs as you are able and then find a formal time in front of your family to honor your parents to whatever degree the Lord will allow. This is not about how they will respond; it’s about your willingness to put into practice what God wants from you.—James MacDonald
· How would I summarize in several paragraphs the ways I know I can honor my parents? (For added information on the specifics of honor, see Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book, The Gift of Honor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987).
Prayer - Lord, I don’t want to honor my parents just a little better. I want to be more intentional in my respect for them. I want to be Your obedient child in the way I approach all the opportunities for influencing the course of my family. I realize honor is a big part of Your design. Forgive me for attitudes of disrespect and teach me to be aware of those things about my parents that are worthy of honor. And remind me to put them into words. In Jesus’ name, Amen.