Honoring Your Parents
Updated: Jan 16
Hebrews 4:15 records this statement concerning Jesus: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus is the only person who lived perfectly. Each part of His life ought to be examined and imitated by those whose desire is to please God. Consider the example of Jesus regarding the relationship of children to their parents.
In Luke 2, Jesus brought considerable stress into the lives of His parents when He remained in the temple, not realizing His caravan had left without Him. After His parents collected Him, Luke 2:51 records a summary of Jesus’s relationship to them during His formative years: “And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” He grew from child into adulthood, and as He did, Jesus continued in subjection to His parents.
The Scriptures give Christians the same principles for the home. In Ephesians 6:1-4, children are to obey their parents “in the Lord,” and parents are to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Parents are responsible for teaching their children what is right in the eyes of God, and children are responsible for obeying their parents. Children in the home ought to continue in subjection to their parents, as Jesus did.
In John 19:26-27, Jesus shows His followers the adult side of the child-parent relationship. As He hung on the cross, Jesus saw His mother below Him with John nearby. He used some of His final breaths to speak these words: “Woman, behold your son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” The effect of those statements is also recorded: “From that hour [John] took her into his own household.” Nearing the end of His earthly life, Jesus recognized and fulfilled His responsibility to His mother. He needed to arrange for her care as she grew older.
1 Timothy 5:3-4 reminds every Christian of the responsibility adult children have toward their parents and grandparents: “…if a widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.” The word for “practice piety” might be better translated, “show devotion.” God expects children and grandchildren to show devotion to their family, especially the older members of it, and to show that devotion by making some return to them. Parents have cared for and provided for their children and grandchildren, and they ought to benefit from the same in return.
It is God’s will that all, children and adults alike, honor their parents. The expression of that honor changes as the relationship matures, but one thing remains constant: parents who have done their part to raise and provide for a child are worthy of that child’s honor. Allow God to shape your relationships. Those who follow the example of Jesus will find their family relationships becoming healthier with every interaction. Let God shape your family, let God show you what healthy relationships look like, and enjoy the fruit they bear.