The Apostle Paul’s famous reference to the fifth commandment (see Exodus 20:12) in Ephesians 6:2 is to say that the fifth commandment, “honor your father and your mother,” is the first of the commandments with a promise of a reward attached to it: “that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
It may seem as though Paul was merely doing parents a favor in reminding their children to obey them, but in reality, he is pointing out much more than God intends for us to understand by following His commandment.
The first lesson in the fifth commandment is one that we learn in our youth: obedience. Children are taught to obey their parents because it is important to learn obedience. Above all else, of course, we must obey the laws of God. But children must learn the value of obedience in earthly terms before they can understand the spiritual.
The role of our parents is to prepare us for a spiritual relationship with God, which means submitting oneself to God’s laws and protection.
Good parents teach their children that good behavior will reap rewards and that bad behavior will have consequences. God blesses those who follow His teachings, and likewise that if we step away from His instruction the results will reap adverse outcomes.
When children learn to obey their parents, they are well-prepared to obey the laws of society and God. And when we as adults obey those laws, we are honoring our parents for what they did to raise us.
To honor someone is not only to respect them for who they are, but also for the position that they have in our lives. We may not always agree with our mothers and fathers, but we still respect them as our parents.
As children, we honor our parents differently than we do as adults. As adults, we are further along on the path to God, and as we are closer to Him, we understand life with more depth than before.
Childlike honor is simple; it can be saying nice things, doing what we’re told, giving lovely gifts, etc. But as adults, we understand honor is more than our words, thoughts, and even actions. Honor is a sum of all of those things and more: it is in our being that we honor those who brought us forth into the world.
God wants us to honor our parents because they are by extension our creators, and when we honor our parents, we honor God, our Creator. When we honor our parents as children we contribute well to our family and our community; as adults, we can honor our parents and God by adding to the world.
Love and Forgiveness
Our parents may not be perfect. At times we resent them for their shortcomings and mistakes, but we must always respect them for what they did in bringing us forth into the world on behalf of God.
Similarly, we may feel upset when we suffer in life, but we must never resent God. We should understand and treat the trials of life as lessons where God can turn our trials into triumphs, and ultimately rejoice in the journey.
We are thankful that God chooses to teach us. And we are grateful for what our parents teach us too.
We are all born imperfect, but since Christ has redeemed us with His sacrifice, we too should learn to redeem.
By loving our parents for all their flaws and strengths, we guarantee peace within ourselves and longer, happier days upon the earth. Through love and peace we cultivate health and abundance in our lives, through which we gain time to spend enjoying our lives.
Honor Your Mother and Father with the Ultimate Gift…
Sponsoring an olive tree in God’s garden is a gift that honors your mother and father both in gesture and being. Whether sponsored in their name or yours, an olive tree is a gift from your family to the world. Every tree that we plant brings us one step closer to fulfilling God’s prophecy to restore the desert and create a blooming garden for His people.
“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose…”—Isaiah 35:1
Those who sponsor trees reveal their character. They are generous, caring, and committed to fulfilling God’s plans. But for each of us individually, sponsoring a tree has a unique meaning. When it comes to our parents, we all have different relationships that merit honoring our parents in different ways:
Sponsor an Olive Tree to Celebrate a Healthy Relationship…
To commemorate or honor a good relationship with parents, olive trees represent the serenity and comfort we felt with our parents as children. The deep roots serve the strong ties we have to our family, and the long lifespan the trees represent—the legacy that will carry on from generation to generation.
Sponsor an Olive Tree to Heal a Strained Relationship…
Since ancient times, extending an olive branch to someone has been a gesture of making peace. If our parents mistreated us, sponsoring an olive tree in their honor is the ultimate gesture of reconciliation and forgiveness. Instead of planting seeds of hatred, we are cultivating peace and healing that will outlive and outgrow the grudges we once held.
Sponsor an Olive Tree and Fulfill the Promises…
Essentially, honoring our parents is the fundamental step towards understanding how to honor God. And from there we also learn to love God. That is because the relationship we have with our parents often resembles our relationship with God.
We find comfort and feel protected by God like we once felt comforted and protected in our mother’s arms. We find strength and courage in our faith like we once did looking up to our father. And now we find more meaningful ways to honor those who have had a great impact on our lives.
Sponsor an olive tree to honor your mother, your father, and to honor God in one of the most meaningful ways possible!