It is a commandment of God. It is a commandment with promise, with divine blessings attached to it. It is a commandment positioned in a place of special honor and significance. It is a commandment pertaining to the whole life of every human being. It is a commandment with application to the home, church, and workplace, a commandment that provides a stable foundation to all of society. Yet it is a commandment that is sorely neglected today. It may not be overstating the case to call it the commandment we forgot. It is the fifth of God’s ten great commandments to humanity: Honor your father and mother.
Today I am beginning a short series on this commandment and mean to focus especially on an angle few of us have seriously explored: What does it mean to obey this commandment as adults? We understand that it applies to children and teaches them the importance of honoring and obeying mom and dad. But does the commandment stop applying the day we move out or the day we get married? Does it expire when our parents die or when they prove themselves unworthy of our respect? Does it apply to those who have been abandoned or abused? Does our adherence to this commandment change as we grow older and become independent? Maybe our questions are urgent and practical: What are my obligations toward my parents? Do I need to support them financially? Do I need to obey them even though I’m a full-grown adult? These are some of the questions we need to ask and answer if we wish to honor God by honoring his commandment.
I don’t mind saying that I have high hopes for this series. I want it to be biblical, to take the Bible as the ultimate source of truth and the only standard with the right to demand obedience and bind the conscience. I want this series to be practical, to answer real questions in real ways for real life. I want this series to be multi-cultural, to apply to people from different backgrounds and in different places in the world. I want this series to be convicting, to impact and perhaps even transform the way we live. This is true whether we are young or old, whether we are parented or parenting, whether we are dependent upon them or they are dependent upon us, whether we live under their roof or whether they live under ours.