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8 Ways to Honor Your Parents as an Adult

  • Jordan Standridge
  • 2016 3 Jun
8 Ways to Honor Your Parents as an Adult
The Bible calls Christians to be different; we are called to fight over who gets to take care of their parents.
  • Honoring Our Parents

    Recently a young lady came up to me with a question, “What does it mean to honor your parents?” Although I pointed her to a few Scriptures that came to mind, I don’t think I had a great answer to her question. It got me thinking, how can adult children obey and honor their parents?

    Honoring our parents has lifelong ramifications. Although there are circumstances where obeying this verse becomes impossible (parents die, they are abusive, they abandon their children etc.) we are called to honor them. So here are some ways we can apply this verse as adult children.

  • 1. Be Thankful for Them

    It’s fascinating to think of how helpless we are when we come into this world. We can’t feed ourselves, we can’t walk, we can’t clean ourselves and we can’t communicate. Even in the cases where our parents are unbelievers we owe a lot to them. We should be thankful for them and it’s going to be impossible to honor your parents unless you begin by being thankful for them.

    Of course this is a much more difficult issue for those who were neglected and abused by their parents, but for the majority of us there’s a lot more to be thankful for than not. And even where thankfulness seems impossible, as believers we are thankful for the evils in our lives that God uses for our good and His glory. 

  • 2. Talk to Them

    It is imperative that we strive to cultivate relationships with the people God sovereignly ordains in our lives. And there is no one more important than your parents. God sovereignly, before the foundations of the earth, determined to place you in the family you were born in.

    You look like your mother and father, and no matter how far you travel, or if you change your name, you will always have their blood in your veins. It is a relationship God has given you that you must do everything within your power to cultivate.

    And it all begins with talking with them. Talk with them as frequently as possible. Ask them how they’re doing. Think of questions to ask them. Find things in common.

  • 3. Talk to Them Respectfully

    While you’re talking with them, go ahead and ask for their advice. Not only will they feel pretty special that you are asking them, but ultimately they will probably give you good advice. No one knows you better than they do, because no one has spent more time watching you and learning about you. They know your strengths and weaknesses and can give insight that no one else can. How crazy would it be to have people in your life who know you so well and not go to them for advice?

    Of course if your parents are unbelievers you wouldn’t go to them for spiritual insight, but whenever possible it shows them honor to ask their input on everyday life decisions.

  • 5. Pray for Them

    It will be impossible to honor them without praying for them. Since honoring your parents is a command, and it is one that doesn’t come natural, we should be asking the Lord to help us succeed in this area. At the same time we must realize that praying for our parents is a must for every child who wishes to honor their parents. Getting older is not easy.

    There is a huge temptation to get discouraged. There are many regrets. There is a cultural pressure to retire and to live selfishly. There are financial woes. There are serious medical issues. And death is more and more on the mind. We must be praying for our parents, because if we don’t, who will?

  • 6. Encourage Them

    As we said getting older is difficult, and so parents are in need of encouragement. If they are believers, encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Thank them for their example. Push them towards increased involvement in the Church. Point out their strengths and encourage them to disciple younger men and women. Encourage them to spend their last years serving the Church in a way that they were not able to when you were younger. It is so easy to succumb to discouragement over regrets from your past and current trials. There is nothing sweeter than having your loved ones there as a source of encouragement.

  • 7. Tell Them the Truth

    It’s fascinating how many children lie to their parents. Perhaps it’s because they don’t want to disappoint them, or because they are afraid of the consequences. I didn’t realize how much this was happening until I got involved in college ministry.

    So many parents have no clue about what their kids are up to, especially once they get into college. It is imperative though, that children never lie to their parents. It is not healthy to have relationships with those closest to you that are based on a lie. If you have lied to your parents confess the truth to them and ask them to forgive you. There is nothing that honors them more than when you are truthful with them.

  • 8. Take Care of Them

    Paul says that we are worse than an unbeliever when we do not take care of our parents. As I have listened to financial stewardship podcasts over the years, one thing that really struck me was how many people who really want to help their parents are dealing with corrupt family members, who are positioning themselves to take money and houses from their parents. People are fighting over the opportunity to take from their parents. The Bible calls Christians to be different; we are called to fight over who gets to take care of their parents. We are called to show honor to them by helping them in their last days on earth. And if this is you and you are currently helping your parents, be encouraged that the Lord is pleased with your hard work and don’t give up, it’s a great example to those around you.

  • Pride Has No Place in Honoring Our Parents

    So much of dealing with parents comes down to pride. We have seen the worst side of them and have seen them sin towards others and towards us. And yes there are cases where reconciliation is impossible, but so far as it depends on us we must fight to honor God in this area. Scripture is very clear that the way we treat our parents has significant ramifications, not only for our physical life, but our spiritual one as well.

    This is an abbreviated article, to read the full version on Crosswalk click here.

    This article was originally published on Used with permission.

    Jordan Standridge is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at

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