5. Honor Your Father and Mother

5. Honor Your Father and Mother

5. Honor Your Father and Mother


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Even if You don’t Feel Like It

Children owe their parents one thing. And no, it’s not love. The Fifth Commandment understands that sometimes it’s difficult or even impossible to love your parents. But it’s almost always possible to honor them. Dennis Prager explains what that means and why it’s so important. And consider this: if your children see you honoring your parents they are much more likely to honor you.
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The Fifth of the Ten Commandments reads: “Honor your father and your mother.”

This commandment is so important that it is one of the only commandments in the entire Bible that gives a reason for observing it: “That your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

Many people read that part of the Fifth Commandment as a reward. But while it may be regarded as a reward, the fact remains that it is a reason: If you build a society in which children honor their parents, your society will long survive. And the corollary is: A society in which children do not honor their parents is doomed to self-destruction.

In our time, this connection between honoring parents and maintaining civilization is not widely recognized. On the contrary, many of the best-educated parents do not believe that their children need to show them honor, since “honoring” implies an authority figure, and that is a status many modern parents reject. In addition, many parents seek to be loved, not honored, by their children. Yet, neither the Ten Commandments nor the Bible elsewhere commands us to love our parents. This is particularly striking given that the Bible commands us to love our neighbor, to love God, and to love the stranger.

The Bible understands that there will always be individuals who, for whatever reason, do not love a parent. Therefore, it does not demand what may be psychologically or emotionally impossible. But it does demand that we show honor to our parents. And it makes this demand only with regard to parents. There is no one else who the Bible commands us to honor.

So, then, why is honoring parents so important? Why does the Ten Commandments believe that society could not survive if this commandment were widely violated? One reason is that we, as children, need it. Parents may want to be honored — and they should want to be — but children need to honor parents. A father and a mother who are not honored are essentially adult peers of their children. They are not parents. No generation knows better than ours the terrible consequences of growing up without a father. Fatherless boys are far more likely to grow up and commit violent crime, mistreat women, and act out against society in every other way. Girls who do not have a father to honor — and, hopefully, to love as well — are more likely to seek the wrong men and to be promiscuous at an early age.

Second, honoring parents is how nearly all of us come to recognize that there is a moral authority above us to whom we are morally accountable. And without this, we cannot create or maintain a moral society. Of course, for the Ten Commandments, the ultimate moral authority is God, who is therefore higher than even our parents. But it is very difficult to come to honor God without having had a parent, especially a father, to honor. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychiatry and an atheist, theorized that one’s attitude toward one’s father largely shaped one’s attitude toward God.

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23 thoughts on “5. Honor Your Father and Mother

  1. KAAY- We Move With God

    I pray for my fam that relationships can be rebuilt ❤️🙏🏾

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  2. Marigen Bemida

    I love my parents. There is an eagerness in me that I need to share the gospel to my parents, most specifically to my father. He is Catholic but He neither read the Bible nor listen to me if I share verses to them. My father even persecuted me by hurtful words whenever I share some verses that I've learnt from our church. It is hurt to see his heart making stiffened by himself. There is sometimes, I forgot to honor him because of so much words he said to me.

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  3. Shine Blythe


    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  4. Faye Guy

    11. honor your son

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  5. Dominique Govinden

    I love this

    What about grandparents?

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  6. Merinda Diesel

    Very good insight. But, the fact that you said 'rare' in the end is not true. My mom sees honouring her as, giving money to her and that makes me very sad, because I didn't choose to be poor. She loves my brother

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  7. SuperMissblueeyes

    What about when you have abusive parents?

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  8. Breno Santana


    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  9. AK

    Hindus have it better first you have parents to honour then ones who guide you then God
    NB: I'm an atheist

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  10. Chenar Tahir

    You have too much jealousy and Hatrate toward muslims, you better review your heart. And intention because you use the name of God for misleading, god will not forgive you for this act.

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  11. Thecatnipproject

    Dennis i already surrendered my right to be a dad long before it could begin. I wont be a father in my lifetime. But fear not when im retired ill be running a youth division program for at risk youth up to age 24. I had an incident when I was 22. But because of William shoultz Mike magnifico Jonathan Blodgett James Kelcourse and my parents I had that rare chance to the right thing. I'll be running it to honor thier memory.

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  12. The Study Desk.

    He says there’s no one else in the Bible commands us to honor but our mother and father this is not true we are called to give double honor to the elders

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  13. Duane Custer

    As a believer I’m having a hard time with 4:40 and staying in contact and the opposite being not honoring. That theory isn’t proven through scripture. That seems more of a moment day moral code that we assume was Jewish culture back then more than anything, no?

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  14. faithwilbur

    As a big fan of Ray Comfort I've found this series on the 10 commandments, or statements, really interesting coming from a devout Jewish perspective. I'm learning a lot. Thank you.

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  15. Handicappuchino 84

    Some parents are abusive though and my dad’s dad was prejudice against many people what does not make him a good role model

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  16. Vipul Mandlik

    This does make sense no matter what

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  17. Lovrenc Karničar

    4.th rule-catholics rules

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply

    thanks for this

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  19. Maximinus GATOR

    I’m an atheist and my mother always acts terribly to my dad so that’s probably the reason why I’m an atheist

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  20. Puppeteer Sam

    To prageru I have a question, why did you only mention that part about some parts being dishonorable briefly at the end. I mean the mere fact that there is such a contradiction should be huge in the video and better explained and not just briefly pushed to the side. At least in my opinion.

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  21. Vanness Benitez

    Please pray for me. I am such a rebellious son. But i do truly love my parents so much. 😔

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  22. Marcel Sandino

    What about abusive or rapist parents ?

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply
  23. Sydney Harris

    are we not supposed to honor God? I dont think parents are the only ones who we are called to honor. I also think that we need to love our parents. If we dont have a good relationship or consider them our "enemy" then we have to love them since we are called to honor our enemies….

    February 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply

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