Skip to main content

Ephesians 6:2-3: Honor Your Father and Mother

Ephesians 6:2–3
[2] “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), [3] “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ESV)

In Ephesians 6:1, the Apostle Paul instructs children to obey their parents.  Here in these verses he instructs children to honor their father and mother.  Is there a difference? I believe that there is. Obedience is an action. Honor is an attitude. What is the Word telling us? God is not only concerned with what we do, but how we do it!

You can obey your parents while grumbling in your heart against them. If that is what you are doing, you are disobeying God’s command to honor your parents. To honor is to give respect, to esteem, to hold up high. The Bible says that this command is with a promise; "that it may go well with you and you may live long in the land."

Modern day “dad” translation:

“Boy, if you want to live until your next birthday, you better watch your attitude!”

I find it very interesting that when we looked at Ephesians 5 we discovered that the Husband very much needed to feel respected. The wife is commanded to respect her husband. It’s not natural for her, but it is vital to the relationship. Children, your father was created with a need to be respected. You need to give him that respect. Some day, if you are fortunate enough, you may become a parent. And you will understand just how intense that need for respect really is.

There is promise. As you respect your father your relationship will be so much more enjoyable. It will go “well with you.” Now, I know that the ones who really struggle with this verse are the big kids. The adult children. You have become a parent yourself. You are no longer called to obey your parents. But, the command to honor your parents has not stopped.

In tomorrow's devotional we will look at the commands that have been given to fathers. The fact is, sadly, that many fathers have done such a terrible job of raising their children that it becomes almost impossible for their children to honor them. This puts children in a very difficult position. How do we honor parents who are not honorable? In the same way that Christ loves the church. He loves us in spite of our sinful failures. It is all about grace.

If you are reading this and you have a parent who is hard to honor I have great compassion for you. I want to give you just a few suggestions.

1. You do not have to allow your parents to continue to abuse you.

2. Honoring your parents does not mean excusing or justifying their behavior.

3. Having a heart that is willing to honor your parents may not change your parents, but it will change you.

4. You must forgive.  That forgiveness cannot be contingent upon them being sorry.

5. Your heavenly father will give you all that your parents failed to give you.  Seek those things from Him and offer grace to your earthly parents.

Children, you are called to honor your parents. That calling will never go away. Your parents are not perfect, but it does not change your need to honor and obey them.