Parents often get a bad rap. Blogs, memoirs, and made-for-TV movies reveal the ugly truths of family drama behind closed doors. As believers, we are the light of the world even in our own dysfunctional families. Our light brightly shines when we resist living in the negative past and pressing forward in our relationship with our parents. This isn’t living in denial of past wrongs or hurts, but rather walking in freedom.
How can we show honor to our parents in the grace and peace of Jesus Christ?
#1) Respectfully Disagree
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father…older women as mothers” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
There are times you may not agree wholeheartedly with your parents. They could be absolutely wrong with their opinions and/or lifestyle. You show honor by resisting the urge to be disrespectful in your words, actions, thoughts, or manners.
#2) Patiently Listen
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
Our parents need us to slow down and listen to their words of advice. There’s so much we can learn from the past generations to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes they’ve made. However, we can repeat the failures of the past if we don’t reflect on the insights of our elders.
#3) Freely Forgive
“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
God in His grace and mercy grants each of us forgiveness even though we deserve punishment. How much more should we extend that same grace and mercy to our parents? There’s no pain that escapes the healing touch of Jesus when we extend the same forgiveness that is freely given to us.
#4) Regularly Contact
“See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!” (Galatians 6:11).
We are disciples of Christ when we honor our parents with letters, cards, or phone calls on a consistent basis. A minor inconvenience for us may mean a great deal to our parents or grandparents. Demonstrate the grace of God to maintain regular contact.
#5) Faithfully Visit
“I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 12).
A warm smile, a hearty handshake, or a tight hug in the name of Christ speaks volumes of love and fellowship to your parents. Your Father in heaven receives glory when you take time out of your busy schedule to reaffirm your love and respect.
#6) Generously Assist
“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” (1 Timothy 5:4).
Your faith in the living God is revealed in how your care for your parents or grandparents. God is pleased when you help them take care of their home, provide financial assistance, health care, or look after their daily affairs. The Lord remembers your acts of kindness even if mom and dad forget in their old age.
#7) Consistently Love
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
Sometimes our parents will have to lean on us more than they ever planned to do. This can lead to them feeling like they are a burden. Your unconditional love demonstrated by words and actions overcomes the temptation for them to despair. Your love should only increase as you get older and appreciate the sacrifices made on your behalf.
#8) Gently Correct
“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word” (Proverbs 15:23).
There may be times when you may have to correct your parents especially if they choose to continue in sin. Your correction must overflow with love, kindness, respect, and patience. They reserve the choice to heed your input or to disregard it.
#9) Fondly Reminisce
“You always have pleasant memories of us” (1 Thessalonians 3:6).
It doesn’t take a lot of energy to come up with everything your parents did wrong. They weren’t perfect, only Jesus is perfect. It’s more edifying and encouraging to share fond memories. Seek the Lord’s insight into what your parents did that resulted in your health, strength, knowledge, and the grace for you to come to know Christ.
#10) Steadfastly Testify
“This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
As a believer, you have the responsibility to share the gospel especially with your family members. Your parents may be antagonistic towards the Gospel, yet through prayerful intercession the Holy Spirit can wear down their resistance. By staying firm in the truth of God’s word and living righteously, God can change the hardest of hearts.
Honor Demonstrated in all its Beauty
Every parent deserves honor not because of what they did or didn’t do, but rather as homage to your Heavenly Father. As you show respect and honor, you reveal the glory of God for every circumstance of life. The Lord remembers when you do what is right in spite of your parents and He will reward you graciously.
Need some help knowing how to share the gospel with your family? Take a look at this article:
Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.