“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”-Exodus 20:12
Paul, in Ephesians 6:2, refers to this as the “first command with a promise.” From the beginning of time, God has made plans for our wellbeing through the family structure (Genesis 2:24). The marriage bond provides an umbrella under which children are raised (Malachi 2:15), sexual intimacy is realized (Proverbs 5:15-19), God’s word is taught (Ephesians 6:4), care is given (Genesis 2:18), and a man and woman can hold hands on the way to heaven (I Peter 3:7).
Within this structure there are clear responsibilities for both parents and children. Parents are to provide for the physical and spiritual growth of their children. Children are to obey their parents, honor their sacrifice, and care for them when they are old.
This one is easy. There is a clear hierarchy in the world. God, Christ, man, wife, children. Christ learned obedience on the cross (Hebrews 5:8, Philippians 2:8). If Christ can submit to the will of God, can’t we all? He is our great example. All men submit to Christ and within the marriage relationship, women submit to men (Ephesians 5:22-24). Children fall under their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3, Colossians 3:20).
Our obedience is not designed as a yoke but a guiding hand of wisdom. Solomon tells us that discipline saves our souls from death (Proverbs 23:13-14) and is an expression of love (Proverbs 13:24) equal to that of God (Hebrews 12:6-9).
It is one thing to obey. It is quite another to honor or show respect. Our parents sacrifice their time, energy, and their own desires to raise us. If your parents take you to Bible study and church they have given you something upon which you can not put a price (Proverbs 13:24, Hebrews 12:5-11).
Paul tells us spiritual training as children can literally save our souls, “how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”-II Timothy 3:15. What a wonderful gift parents give children in caring for their physical and spiritual needs! That deserves a hug, a “yes sir”, and a lifetime of honor.
Mothers and fathers provide for their children as they grow up. As children, it is our responsibility to assist in caring for our parents when they are old (John 19:25-27, I Timothy 3:5-8, Mark 7:9-13). The family unit is designed for our care and benefit from conception to heaven. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”-I Timothy 5:8.
Obey, honor, and support. These words are wisdom and life. “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”-Proverbs 3:1-2.
Honor your father and mother. They love, care for, and protect you.