Living Counter-Culturally: Honor your Parents

It is a part of our culture to teach our children to respect their elders. But what happens when the children grow up? How are Christian adults supposed to honor their parents?

It seems that our culture has relegated the duty of both raising children and taking care of the elderly to strangers. It has become normal to put one's parents in a nursing home, even if they could easily be cared for in a family member's home.

If the Bible promises a long life to those who honor their parents (Deuteronomy 5:16), what happens if your parents honored their parents? They will be around a good long time and eventually, the child will be taking care of the parents.

I do not believe that the commandment to honor one's parents ends when you turn 18. In fact, up until you leave home, honoring your parents pretty much means to just obey them. Well, what happens when you don't have to obey them any more? This is when the honoring takes place.

How a person treats an elderly family member, and parent in particular, tells you a lot about them. I believe to live counter-culturally as a Christ-follower means to honor your parents, even if is an inconvenience.

The Bible is clear on its commands as far as taking care of widows (James 1:27). However, it assumes that those with children will be taken care of by them (1 Timothy 5:4, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 5:16).

Recently, Carlos and I have been doing some genealogical research on It is obvious that the nursing home phenomenon is a recent one in our culture. In almost every Census record in the early to mid-1900s, at least one parent (or parents) lived with the family. Now, whether parents lived with the family or the other way around is not clear. However, it was common for multiple generations to live together in one home.

Why does our culture react so strongly against the idea of living in community? I wonder, when did individual comfort and convenience take over the needs of the family and others?


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