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What does honor thy father and thy mother mean?  When I say no to my parents they always quote that? Please tell me what that means.





Dear Liam,

What you are not saying is what you are saying “no” to. Are you saying “no” to them telling you to clean your room or to be home by a certain time? Or are you saying “no” to them because they’re telling you to beat up the next-door neighbor?

Honoring your parents is to understand and accept them for who they are; two people who are imperfect, making the best choices they know how, and have a great responsibility to take care of and raise you. It is to understand that they have much, much more life experience than you do and we all would be foolish to not drink from that well of knowledge.

Do we honor parents who are abusive? That’s a loaded question and the Bible has an example of that type of parenting. When King Saul wanted to kill David, there was one person who was in the way of his evil designs. And that was his son, Jonathan. Jonathan knew his father was evil and understood that he was driven to kill David. He went against his father and helped David escape even though he knew that by doing so, he would have his rights to his fathers kingdom taken away (1 Samuel 20). Jonathan did not blindly honor his father in his wickedness, but he saw that his father wanted to do evil to David and he stood up to, and betrayed his father. This story tells us that honoring your parents does not include letting them do harm and helping them get away with it.

Honoring our parents is defined differently for each one of us. But in the end, if your parents are working for, and looking out for your best interest, then you would be dishonoring them by not letting them be the honorable parents they are trying to be.





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