Honor and respect toward the preceding generation is an important key to ensure a lasting success of the new generation. Acknowledging and preserving the strengths and achievements of the generation being replaced sets the generation that takes over on a path characterized by blessings. The fact that one of the Ten Commandments is “Honor your father and your mother” shows us how serious God is about it. Furthermore, the fact that this command was the only one that carried a reward or a promise to those who fulfill it, says volumes about God’s stand regarding it. (Ephesians 6:1, Deuteronomy 5:16 “... so that you may live long and it may be well with you...”)
So much can be said when we talk about respect, honor and obedience toward parents, or parent-figures.
First off, it is obvious that it is the responsibility of parents to instill in their children from young age the virtues of honor and respect toward all members of the society; it does not come naturally. Once that is done, it is the responsibility of the children to uphold these virtues into their youth, adulthood and throughout their lives and in turn teach the next generation.
Honor and respect entail the high regard and esteem we show to our parents with our attitude, speech and deeds. This reverence is due to them firstly for the mere fact that they have given birth to us and have been around longer than we have. Secondly, honor and respect (tribute, credit and admiration) are due to our parents for what they have endured and overcome to get to where they are and for the experience and wisdom they have acquired along the way. Because of technological advancements and the changes associated with them, the younger generation is always predisposed to think that they know better. But that is not the case when it comes to the basic issues of life that truly matter.
I would like us to look at obedience in a little bit of a different light. Obedience by definition is doing what we are asked to do, exactly as stated how and when. As far as obedience to our own biological parents, under whose roof we live, is concerned, there is not much to negotiate about whether we should abide by their rules or not. We simply must! Doing what we are told to do is just as important as honor and respect. Still, it must be done with wisdom and discernment, looking at what is being demanded to be done in the light of the full counsel of the Word of God. Regardless of who asks us to do what, as Christians, we must always make sure that what we are asked to do does not violate primarily God’s word, then our conscience and lastly the laws of the land we live in.
There are a number of things involved in displaying honor and respect toward our parents or the older generation in general. First of all, forgiving them and not holding them in judgment and bitterness for the wrong they may have done us is one of the most important ways. Forgiving the faults and failures of the generation we replace is the key to not repeating the same things in our own.
Secondly, giving our time and energy to serving them to meet any need they may have is very important. Thirdly, blessing them financially from time to time is such a powerful way of honoring our parents. In some cases they may not seem like they need our money but regardless of whether they need it or not, we should appreciate them with a token of love. The amount is of far less importance than the thought and the act itself. By doing so, we will activate the riches that are invested in the words of blessing that come from parents whose effects will be felt and enjoyed not only in our lifetime but many generations after us.