“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.” Ephesians 6:2-3 (HCSB)
The concept of “honor” is much deeper, complicated and more important than it looks at the first glance. I encourage you to dig in more to this command that comes with a promise, after all, who doesn’t want things to go well for them and live a long healthy life?
This command is actually found in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12). It is a deeper and more complicated. To honor means to assign value or to esteem the person. Respect is another attempt to convey the thought. This honor, respect is to go further than just our parents, though it is definitely meant for them! We are to honor and respect authority in our life, starting with God, working through our parents all the way to other authorities around us. When we don’t honor authorities in our life, we are actually dishonoring God. And that is a pretty serious offense. Nevertheless, parents must teach their children to respect and honor those in authority, starting with them. There is no disclaimer saying we only honor those who are nice to us or who like us. But the word does say that when those in authority require us to disobey God, a higher authority, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19)! In other words, we are instructed to honor the position, but not always. Yes, it’s complicated. Please dig into it!
So, what does it mean to honor your parents? We show honor by listening and obeying (submitting) to them. We show honor through our actions and words. As adults, we show honor by being there when our parents need us. We dishonor our parents having contempt for them, by cursing them, by being cruel to them or treating them as insignificant.
When we honor our parents (and authorities in our life), we will be blessed with long life. I am not exactly sure how it works, but it definitely is a good thing. Like how do you know if your life was expanded or reduced. But you can look at the quality of your life, maybe even the health you experience.
Ask God to show you the ways He has blessed you because you have obeyed His command to honor. Ask Him how you can honor your parents (whether they are alive or not), as well as other authorities in your life. Ask Him to show you where you need to disobey because the authorities as requiring you to disobey God. Pray for your children, as well as the kids of friends and family, asking God to move in their hearts to obey, even in a world that promotes rebellion! Pray for these children to choose God and to stand out for Him not to follow the disrespectful, dishonoring ways of the children of the world! Pray for the culture or your church would positively promote this, and be a solid foundation for honor and respect!