Honor your Parents – Exodus 20:12
The literal definition of the Hebrew word translated honor is to “make weighty (Strongs 2010).” To make weighty infers that we are to make our parents important in our lives. The word used by Paul as he quoted this verse in Ephesians 6:2 is the Greek word “timeous” meaning “give value to (Strongs 2010).” The inference here is that the one who assigns value to their parents will treat them well. In fact, it is those things that humans assign value too that are treated the best.
One of the interesting things about commands in Scripture is that we seem to be given a choice. We can assign value to our parents or we can choose not to assign value. A godly choice is to assign value to our parents. The logical conclusion of this line of thinking is that if we have hate or harbor bitterness in our hearts toward our parents, this also is a choice. Many who read these words honor their parents because their parents were especially good to them. Their parents supported them well, taught them well, loved them dearly, and sacrificed regularly. In these cases, assigning value to them is easy and done as positive retribution. Others who read these words did not have such a happy childhood. One or more of their parents may have not been present. Some may have been abandoned. Others reading these lines may have been abused. You may have good reason to do quite the opposite of assigning value to your parents. However, to do so is to choose bitterness, anger, and hatred. Such decision is not healthy or spiritually wise. It is possible and godly to forgive their trespasses without approving their actions.
On the surface, you may have every right to be bitter and angry with your parents. But the Lord said in these passages that we are to give them honor. First you must realize that we live in a sin fallen world and if your parents did not treat you as the Bible says we are to treat a child, it is because they were given to the flesh and the temptations of the enemy. They were enslaved to the bondage of sin. That does not mean they are not responsible, it means they are sinful. To continue to be angry is not in your best interest. Do they deserve forgiveness? Probably not. But then, none of us deserve forgiveness. It is a gift of God and forgiving will set you free. They did give you life and for that they are deserving of your honor.
Please do keep this in mind. Forgiveness does not equate to unearned trust. If your parents abused you and they have not been transformed, you are not obligated to put your children, their grandchildren, in a place where the abuse can go to another generation. Trust and honor are not synonymous. You can ascribe value to your parent even if you do not trust your parent.
Why not take a few minutes to examine your relationship with your parents? On a scale of 1-10 with one being no value assigned to your parents and 10 being the highest honor, where does you honor for your parents fall on the scale? Is that positioning pleasing in the sight of the Lord?