Written by Bryan Gibson
We can only imagine how much better our world would be if this commandment were obeyed more often. Here are some ways children can honor their parents, and in so doing, honor Christ.
Obey them. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Do what your parents say, and do it willingly, without a word of complaint. They will feel honored by such treatment, and you will be “well-pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).
Listen to them. “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions…” (Proverbs 13:1). “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27). “Listen to your father who begot you…” (Proverbs 23:22). Children, listen to your parents—when they give you a command, when they correct you, when they teach you God’s word, when they give you advice. They will be happier, and you will be wiser.
Speak respectfully to them. Do not be counted among “those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers” (Proverbs 30:11, NIV). Instead, speak with gentleness and kindness (Proverbs 25:15; 31:26), with courtesy and respect (1 Peter 3:8). When you speak to them, remember the position of authority God put them in—over you!
Say “thank you.” Jesus healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), but only one returned to say “thank you.” Children, think about all your parents have done for you. Have you returned to say “thank you”? Don’t wait too long—when they’re gone, you won’t have another chance.
Show some responsibility, some initiative. Don’t let Mom and Dad do all the work, while you barely lift a finger to help. They won’t appreciate your laziness, and neither will God. Volunteer to help around the house. Take on some responsibility. This new “work ethic” will serve you well, both now and in the future, especially when you get ready to leave home. “He who gathers in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:5). See also 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12.
Provide for them when they get older. “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God” (1 Timothy 5:4). Children, the day may come when the tables are turned, when your parents depend on you. You will then have the opportunity to “pay them back.” It may come in the form of financial help, taking them to the doctor, being their “nurse,” or perhaps doing chores they no longer can do. Honor your parents by providing whatever they need.
Walk in the way of truth. “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:24-25). Children, the greatest way you can honor your parents is by walking in the truth.