By R.W. McAlister
What a shame that so many today have a glaring disrespect for the
elderly, including parents. Today’s generations need to learn more
perfectly the will of the Lord regarding respect for parents. Proverbs
30:11, "There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not
bless their mother." This could be said of many in our time. Paul writes
in Eph. 6:2: “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first
commandment with promise.”
The focus of this brief article is, as the title indicates, not
the relationship between young children and parents, but grown children
and older parents. We must honor our parents, regardless of our - or
their - age.
Included in showing honor is to speak kindly of them, doing things
for their well being. “Disobedient to parents" was a mark of the wicked
Gentiles (Romans 1:30; II Tim. 3:2).
Honoring parents includes caring for them in their time of need.
Proverbs 23:22, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise
not thy mother when she is old.” Natural affection, and especially the
love of Christ (Jn 13:34-35) would have us care for those who cared for
us. Who has cared for us more than mother and father?
First Timothy 5:8 reads, “But if any provide not for his own, and
specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is
worse than an infidel."
What many seemingly have forgotten is that duty to parents does
not end with childhood days at home with mom and dad. Christ rebuked
some adults who dishonored their parents when their parents were
dependent on them (Matthew 15:1-9). They were giving to God, but
neglecting the care and provision of their parents, which was also
commanded by God. Christ condemned such inconsistency and accused them
of making God’s Word null and void and displacing the commandments of
God to follow their own traditions.
Surely, parents who have devoted much of their lives to the
benefit of their children shouldn't be cast aside when they grow old.
This smacks more of paganism and heathenism than Christianity. We set
aside a command of God to fail to provide care for their needs in their
hour of need.
Honoring parents means to give them respect and special
consideration (Ephesians 6:2). Children can bring joy and gladness to
their parents, or they can bring reproach, sorrow and despair. How can
people so live as to hurt their parents who cared for them when they
were small? Sometimes, the excuse is that the parent wasn't a very good
one, perhaps showing favoritism, or being manipulative, or one of any
number of things. Listen, parents sometimes make bad mistakes - I've
made plenty of mistakes with my 3 children, but would God have us to
always be unforgiving and "punish" them by being openly rude or cutting
off all communication with them? Remember the words of Jesus in Matt.
6:14-15: “…if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will
also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither
will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
We must always manifest a forgiving spirit to any who may have
wronged us. Parents aren’t always perfect, and will make mistakes –
sometimes very serious and damaging ones. Let us manifest the forgiving
spirit of Christ, who cried out from the Cross, “Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Proverbs 23: 24 & 25 "The father of the righteous shall
greatly rejoice, and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of
him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee
shall rejoice." If both or either of your parents is still alive, how is
your relationship with one or both? Is there a need to improve upon it?
The future is uncertain as there is no promise of another day (Jas.
4:13-15). Give it some thought.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He
may be contacted through the congregation's website: