How do I honor a mother or father who does not honor the Lord or have Christian hearts?
The fourth command among the Ten Commandments is a command from God that we must honor our parents. It is the first command with a promise. He promised longer life upon the earth when we give honor to our parents. He did not say honor wise parents and despise unwise parents. He did not say young parents or older parents. He did not say unbelieving parents or believing parents. God even repeated the command and the promise in Deut. 5:16 and Eph. 6:1-3 to make sure that we understand this is important.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. (NASB) Ex. 20:12
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. (NASB) Eph. 6:1-3
Our God has also commanded us to honor our older parents and those we call “old” or senior citizens. Unfortunately, we live in a world that usually does not honor the grayheaded, bald, white-haired, or senior citizen. According to the following verse God is not pleased.
You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. (NASB) Lev. 19:32
So how should one respond to parents who are not Christians? First, we should love them, obey them, and give them respect. Most parents do the best they can. No parent has ever been perfect. None are perfect today and none will be perfect in the future. The following words from Jesus say it all.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (NASB) Matt. 5:44
An important question about obedience to parents is answered in the previous question, Should I obey my parents or God?
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Should I obey my parents or God?