The Fifth Commandment

​Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

It is easier said than done. It is easy to read the ten commandments while hurriedly brushing over the fifth which says we should honour our parents, simply because we see it as just one of the commandments.

Whenever God gives us instruction, it is vital to know that He is deliberate about it and also wants us to take it seriously. The instruction to honour our parents does not only appear in the old testament of the Bible but also in the new testament. And you know the interesting part? The Bible did not only instruct children to honour their parents, but the Lord also gave instructions to parents on how to relate to their children.

Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;). That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Now, at times or even most times, our parents may fail to obey their own part of the instruction. However, it is NOT an excuse for us to fail in our own part. Remember, it is a command from the Lord!

Honouring our parents is not something done with mere words, it is something expressed in our actions towards them and even evidenced in the way we relate to others.

It’s respect for parents that is the basis for every other kind of respect and every other kind of authority


Tim Keller

It is said that charity begins at home, hence, it is when we respect our parents that we can respect other people. It is when we honour and value them, other family members inclusive, that we can honour and value other people in society. The truth is, in one way or the other, we can have excuses to “justify” our refusal to honour them but then, no one is perfect. As much as we think we would do better than our parents when we get to that stage, it is vital to know that our parents are new at parenting, as we would be, and hence, are bound to make mistakes. 

Now, there are situations whereby some parents abuse their children physically, emotionally, verbally and even sexually. However, God has called us to honour them irrespective of anything they might have done whether intentionally or not. And it is also important to know that whatever God calls or tells us to do, He has already given us the ability to do it.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.

Five Ways to Honor Your Parents

1. You have to be saved

Don’t find it weird that this is coming first. This is because it is only a believer that would find it necessary to obey the Lord and would be willing to let go of hurts brought upon them by their parents in a bid to honour them. And even as believers, there are usually situations where we find it extremely hard to honour our parents because we refuse to let go. Hence, it is important to be saved, submit to God and pray that he helps you to honour your parents.

2. Love them

Love is a very vital part of honour. You can’t honour a person that you don’t love! Show them that you value them, and this can be done through any of the five love languages whether by spending time with them, affirming them with honouring words, buying gifts for them, touch, and serving them in love.

3. Forgive them

Forgiveness is another important thing to do if you really want to honour your parents, especially when you feel they have hurt you. Forgive them, it would help you to relate better with them. Let go of that bitterness in your heart against them; not only will it help you honour them, it would also give you true freedom.

4. Pray for your parents

Not everyone has believing parents; if you do, pray for them. And if you don’t, continually pray for them to come to know the Lord and serve Him. Pray that God helps them to be better parents.

5. Obey your parents

God is our heavenly father and He is always pleased when we obey Him. The same thing applies to our earthly parents, they want us to obey them. However, there may be situations whereby our parents tell us to do wrong things. In this situation, we are to humbly try to make them see reasons why we can’t carry out the instructions and also pray that God helps them do the right thing.

Proverbs 6:20-22  My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

Have you made a decision to honour your parents today? I will leave you with a quote I got from one of the online seminars I participated in. It says:

To be an honoured parent, you have to be a parent honouring child first!

Related: Honour Your Father


What can you say about honouring parents? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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