What Honor Is and Isn’t

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.—Deuteronomy 5:16

Honor, as we have already seen, is the third significant word that impacts our families in multi-generational ways. But people always wonder about the lines and limits of honor. Let’s look briefly at what honor is and isn’t.

Honoring your parents does not mean these three things:

1. Honoring your parents does not mean groveling back and seeking their approval. Honoring is choosing to give, not trying to get. God wants us to be free from bondage to anyone’s approval but His. The apostle Paul said, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

2. Honoring your parents does not mean making yourself vulnerable to their hurtful behavior. There are appropriate boundaries between people. 

3. Honoring your parents does not mean ignoring or denying the past.      

But honoring does mean these things:

1. Honoring your parents means choosing to place great value on your relationship with them and knocking off the attitude that it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It matters to God. 

2. Honoring means taking the initiative to try to improve the relationship in whatever increments you can. 

3. Honoring your parents means recognizing they have done some things right. You might think, “My parents didn’t do anything right!” Your perspective is clouded, possibly by great pain. But they did something right. God will show you. 

4. Honoring means acknowledging the sacrifices they have made for you.

5. Honoring means seeing your parents as Christ does with compassion and mercy.

6. Honoring your parents means forgiving them even as God in Christ has forgiven you.

The goal of God’s command to honor is not that you would do some minor upgrading in your attitude toward your parents, but that you come to a crisis of deciding to officially honor your parents. You might call it a tribute. Take the time to write two or three paragraphs as you are able and then find a formal time in front of your family to honor your parents to whatever degree the Lord will allow. This is not about how they will respond; it’s about your willingness to put into practice what God wants from you.—James MacDonald


·         How would I summarize in several paragraphs the ways I know I can honor my parents? (For added information on the specifics of honor, see Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book, The Gift of Honor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987).

Prayer - Lord, I don’t want to honor my parents just a little better. I want to be more intentional in my respect for them. I want to be Your obedient child in the way I approach all the opportunities for influencing the course of my family. I realize honor is a big part of Your design. Forgive me for attitudes of disrespect and teach me to be aware of those things about my parents that are worthy of honor. And remind me to put them into words. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.