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The 5th Commandment

5. Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the land which YaHuWaH your Elohim is giving you.

The fifth commandment tells us to honour our father and mother. First and foremost, this command to honour father and mother is in line with honouring YaHuWaH our Creator. He is, after all, our 'heavenly Father' and the one who directs our steps. And He has compassion on his children just as a mother has compassion for her young.

The parents have authority over their offspring. It is the responsibility of a man and woman who come together to care for and provide for their children. It should be a natural product of bearing children to love them and raise them and protect them. Part of that responsibility the parents have for their children is to pass on to them the teachings regarding living righteously before YaHuWaH.

The picture that is implied here is that the parents are teaching and guiding their children within the borders and boundaries of the Torah, which are installed to protect us from all manners of harm. So, by obeying their father and mother, that is, by keeping the commandments of the Torah, children will receive the favour and protection from the Almighty YaHuWaH to live long and avoid the pitfalls of sin which shorten a human's life on the earth. This is a commandment of promise. It promises long life to those that observe it.

The command to honour father and mother is thereby shown to be a protective boundary for children. It is for the good of their life that they are to honour their parents. Yet, what happens when this proper behaviour is violated? Just as YaHuWaH Himself disciplines those He loves, parents are to discipline their children...

There will be situations where parents have not earned respect and honour as they have not loved and protected their own as YaHuWaH instructs. One aspect of honouring flawed parents is to understand that the best way you might be able to honour them is from a distance, emotionally and physically. You can give yourself permission to do that.

To give them honour means showing (not necessarily feeling) respect, letting them know you are listening and considering what they say (and it does not necessarily mean following through!) To give them honour means being civil and kind in your dealings with them. It does not mean trusting them. It does not mean placing yourself in harm’s way. It means forgiving them, so that you are not carrying and paying for the emotional baggage of their treatment of you. And please remember that forgiveness is given, but trust is earned, so it’s entirely possible that you can release the woundings you sustained from them without ever, ever trusting them with your heart because they don’t deserve your trust.

Honouring flawed parents means you have healthy boundaries so that you know where you end and they begin. It means you learn how to protect yourself so that they can’t steamroll over you; it also means you have realistic expectations about what they can and cannot give you or do for/to you.

To honour our parents means to be thankful for their existence and to respect their actual role as givers of life in the sequence of human existence. Of course in order to honour them in this way we need to be thankful for our own existence too but, we also will usually need to have pity on them. For even if they are good people, it is almost always true that they have been quite wrong in many respects, and possibly still are...

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