Adult Children and Parents

God cares how we, as adults, treat our parents.

Ephesians 6: 2,3 says:
“Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother; this is the first commandment with a promise: That all may be well with you…” (Amplified Bible)

It's not an age-specific command: We never get too old to obey this command to honor our parents.

And God emphasizes the Command  in some unique ways: 
  • It's the 5th Commandment
  • It’s the only command with a specific promise attached. 
  • It's one of the three most quoted Commandments in the New Testament.
Parents form our first relationship in life and one of our longest.  Just as children are especially vulnerable to their parents’ injustice, indifference or selfishness when they are young; parents are especially vulnerable to the injustice, indifference and selfishness of their adult children. God designed us that way, and He has high expectations for the relationship throughout our lives.

Unfortunately, we are more likely to criticize than honor parents, judging them more strictly than we judge ourselves. Often we talk about parents needing to earn our respect but we expect them to love us no matter how we behave.

In Matthew 15:1-9 Christ uses adults who ignore the Fifth Commandment as an example of those with false hearts.

For many years I underestimated the Fifth Commandment. Only as I changed my attitudes did I realize the well-being and relationships I'd been missing (God's promise).

I studied the Hebrew word used for honor in the Fifth Commandment and found it's the same word used for honoring God.

That means:
  • I speak and listen to them with patience and respect.
  • I deliberately take initiative and responsibility in maintaining and developing our relationship.
  • I'm interested in their lives and interested in pleasing them
  • I work on my attitude toward them as well as my actions
  • I do my very best to work through problems. In fact, honor is best reflected when it is tested.
The Fifth Commandment is an awesome responsibility which involves diligence and self-sacrifice, but God is eager to help us fulfill it and has promised to bless us if we obey.


  1. "It's not an age-specific command: We never get too old to obey."- I absolutly love this! Keep teaching the truth!! :)

  2. Love, love! Wish I could go back... only one parent left. 😕

    1. I also wish I could do things differently. My mother and I had a good relationship, but I didn't really understand these principles when she was still alive. There are lots of ways I could have honored her that I didn't. But I'm grateful that when I learned some of these principles my father was still alive and I was able to apply them to our relationship before he passed away.

      I'm so glad God gives us those opportunities.
      God bless you.


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