Exodus 20:12 - Fifth Commandment

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Thomas S. Myers

The 5th Commandment

7 Ways to Honor Your Parents

Exodus 20:12

            The 5th commandment is a pivotal commandment.  It is a turning point commandment, because the first 4 commandments deal with our relationship with God.  The last 6 commandments deal with our relationship with each other.  You see, you can not be right with others, until you are right with God.  We have to get the vertical right before we can get the horizontal right.  So the 10 commandments starts with our relationship with God.  Then it moves into our relationship with mankind.  However, if you want to be right with others, you must start with your relationship with your father and mother.  Because, if you can not respecting your father and mother, you will have a difficult time respecting a stranger.    We can not be right with society, until we are right in our homes. 

            When the home decays, the church decays.  When the church decays, society decays.  When society decays, the nation decays.  When your religion doesn't begin at home, it just doesn't begin. 

            Look at Exodus 20:12 and notice the word "Honor."  


Exodus 20:12

12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (NIV)

            Do you know what the word  'Honor' means?  The Hebrew word means to attach value and significance to.   Originally the word honor was used for the weight of money.  The heavier the money the more value it had.  For example the heavier a bar of gold is the more value it has.  Here is the point.  We are to attach a lot of value to our parents. 

We are to esteem them and respect them. 

            Don't be like a former neighbor we had.  He was 6 years old and playing in our back yard.  His mother was calling out to him, "Billy, come home!?  She called him 3 times.  Our daughter said to him, "Your mom is calling you.  You need to go home."  Billy said, "No I don't.  She called me only 3 times."   To "honor" your father and mother means to attach significance to what they say and who they are.        

7 Ways to Honor Your Parents


Colossians 3:20

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (NIV)

            You do not obey your parents just to please mom or dad.  You must obey your parents to please the Lord.  If you displease the Lord, it doesn't matter whom you please. 

            When you obey your parents God gives you a promise.  Look at


Exodus 20:12

12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (NIV)

            Do you see the promise?  God says, when we obey our parents, that is one way to live longer.  Think about that for a minute.  If a nation has a group of children who do not respect their parents,  they will not respect others.  And the result will be an increase in crime. 

            Out in the Rocky Mountains is the Great Divide.  It is the place where the mountains reach their highest peak.  When it rains on the Continental Divide, if the water falls to the right of the Continental Divide, that drop of water will flow into

 the Atlantic Ocean.  If the drop of water falls to the left of the Continental Divide it will flow into the Pacific Ocean.  Each drop of water seems to start so near each other, but they can end up miles apart.    

            So it is with children.  Children can have the same background, the same opportunities, the same genes, chromosomes, DNA, and the same abilities and yet they can end up miles apart.  I want to tell you, that one of the key things, that make some children turn out so well and another child so wrong, is that some have learned to honor their father and mother.  

             Look at Romans 1:29 and following and notice the category of sins that disobedient to parents is listed with. 


Romans 1:27-30

            God puts being disobedient to parents right along with homosexuals and murders.  Being disobedient to parents is a wicked and hellish sin. 

            Not only is disobedience to parents a hellish sin, it is also the sign of the last days.  Look at:

2 Timothy 3:1-5

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy

4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God --

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (NIV)

            What is God saying?  God is saying if we do not honor our parents, it matters not that you go to church, that you have been baptized, that you take communion or you have sung a hymn.  If you are disobedient to your parents, you have only a "form of godliness."  But that is all you have.  You do not have the real thing.  Any so called faith in God that is not rooted in obeying parents is a bogus faith.

            In the last days, not only will children be disobedient to parents but they will have their parents murdered and parents will betray their children.  Look at: 

Matthew 10:21

21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. (NIV)

            I can just hear someone saying, "But pastor, the reason I disobey my parents is that my parents are not always right.  And sometimes they are hypocrites."  Look at

Ephesians 6:1

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (NIV)


            Notice the Bible does not say to obey your parents because they are always right.  It says we are to obey our parents "for this is right." 



We should help our parents with the housework and other work that needs to be done.  You see, mom and dad are not butlers. 

Proverbs 10: 5

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. (NIV)

            What is Solomon saying?  He is saying, if there is work that needs to be done, and you don't help, then you're not honoring your parents. 

            I head about a boy at school who was talking to a friend.  He said, "I'm really worried."  His friend asked, "What are you worried about?"  He said, "My dad works so hard to provide the needs of our home.  And Mom washes the clothes, prepares the

meals, and she keeps the house clean."  His friend said, "What in the world are you worried about?"  The boy replied, "I'm afraid they might escape." 

            There will come a time when our parents will become senior citizens and will need help and care. 

The Bible teaches that it is our responsibility to take care of our parents.  Look at:

1 Timothy 5:4

4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. (NIV)

            It doesn't matter how religious you act in public, the place it must begin is at home.  The Word of God makes that very clear. 

1 Timothy 5:8

8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NIV)

            Children are to help their parents.  It is our job to help them when we are young and to care for them when they are old.  That's the way to honor your father and mother. 


Leviticus 19:3

3 "`Each of you must respect his mother and father." (NIV)

            Parents, if your children do not respect you, perhaps it is because you do not respect your children.  The Bible clearly warns us in:

Colossians 3:21

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)

            A little boy was at the zoo.  He was looking at some wild cats that looked just like little kittens.

He asked his mother, "What kind of animals are these?"  She said, "Why those are little wild cats."  He asked, "Why are they called wild cats?"  The mother said, "Obviously, because their mom and dad are wild cats."  The point is this, if your children do not respect you, it may because they are just following your behavior. 

            "But Pastor, what if my parents are not honorable?  What if they do things that are not right?"  The Bible still commands you to honor your parents, if nothing else, for the fact that they are your parents.  By the way, there are no perfect parents.  Only perfect children have the right to demand perfect parents. 

            There may me some children, and it does not make any difference how old you are, who need to forgive their parents.  You need to acknowledge they had their faults and weren't perfect, and quit holding animosity in your heart against them.  What is important is how you responded to what your parents did.  Throw away your magnifying glass.  Quit expecting perfection out of your parents.  We are not only to respect our parents when we are young, but we are to respect our parents when are very senior in age. 

            There was an elderly man who lived with his son and daughter-in-law.  His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth.   His son didn't like the arrangement.  "I can't have this," he said.  "It interferes with my right to happiness."  So he and his wife took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen.  There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in a bowl. 

From then on he always ate in the corner, eating out of a bowl.  One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the bowl fell and broke.  "If you are a pig," said his son, "you must eat like a pig." So they made him a little wooden trough, and he got his meals in that.  They had a four-year-old son of whom they were very fond of.  One evening the son noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing.  "I'm making a trough," he said, smiling up for approval, "to feed you and mom out of when you get older."  The son and his wife looked at each other for a while and didn't say anything.  Then they cried a little.  Then they went to the corner and took the old man by the arm and led him back to the table.  They set him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things.


1 Thessalonians 5:18

18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

            Have you developed the attitude of gratitude for your parents?  Every mother has suffered for you.  They nursed you, kissed you, and educated you.  But you say, "Pastor, my folks are always griping at me.  They tell me to do this and to do that.  It's hard to be thankful for that."  You need to develop the attitude of gratitude for your parents.  They love you so much, that they will risk your displeasure to say no, when you want them to say yes. 


Proverbs 1:8-9

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 9  They will be a

garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. (NIV)

             A father told his daughter, "Listen, you're to be back home by 11:00 tonight.  She protested, "Dad, I'm not a child, you know."  He said, "I know, that's why I said be in by 11:00 tonight."  Your parents have been along the road you're traveling.  It's as if they are driving to Los Angeles, and you are miles behind them in another car.  When they reach Portland they make a phone call to you.  They advise, "You need to watch out for I-84 in the city of Portland, it's under repair.  We were delayed 1 hour.  Take I-205 instead.  The fact that they have already been down the road means that they can give you helpful advice and counsel along the way. 


            You see, you are but an extension of your parents.  If you live to bring honor upon you, you will also bring honor upon your parents.  But, if you live to bring dishonor upon yourself, it will bring dishonor upon them. 

Proverbs 17:25

25  A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him. (NIV)



            Think of what you owe your parents.  They gave life to you.  Their very blood flows through your veins.  You need to love your parents.  But you say, "Pastor, my parents have some ugly parts to them."  Well, so do you.  You need to express that love to them.  And you need to do it today.  You have only so many days to show that love.  I know that one of these days at their funeral you will tell others about what a good mother she was and what a good dad he was, but it will be too late to tell your parents.

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