The Epistle to the Ephesians puts it like this: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Eph 6:1-4 NASB
The reason I am writing about this is because of all the parents we have spoke with in the past couple of years who are experiencing quite the opposite, with some of their children. I feel that it has grown to a point that some light needs to be shed upon it. Since the commandment is reiterated in the church Epistles, it is just as viable to New Testament believers as it was to the old.
The promise accompanying the commandment is,when you honour your father and your mother "you will live a long, prosperous life." I would like to submit that doing the opposite will result in a shorter, poorer and unhealthier life. I have copied some popular Commentators on the subject in the following quotes:
"[Honour thy father and thy mother] There is a degree of affectionate respect which is owing to parents, that no person else can properly claim. For a considerable time parents stand as if were in the place of God to their children, and therefore rebellion against their lawful commands has been considered as rebellion against God. This precept therefore prohibits, not only all injurious acts, irreverent and unkind speeches to parents, but enjoins all necessary acts of kindness, filial respect, and obedience. We can scarcely suppose that a man honours his parents who, when they fall weak, blind, or sick, does not exert himself to the uttermost in their support. In such cases God as truly requires the children to provide for their parents, as he required the parents to feed, nourish, support, instruct, and defend the children when they were in the lowest state of helpless infancy. See the note at Gen 48:12. The rabbis say, Honour the Lord with thy substance, Prov 3:9; and, Honour thy father and mother. The LORD is to be honoured thus if thou have it; thy father and mother, whether thou have it or not; for if thou have nothing, thou art bound to beg for them. See Ainsworth.
[Honour thy father and mother] This word was taken in great latitude of meaning among the Jews: it not only meant respect and submission, but also to take care of a person, to nourish and support him, to enrich. See Num 22:17; Judg 13:17; 1 Tim 5:17. And that this was the sense of the law, as it respected parents, see Deut 27:16, and see the note at Ex 20:12.
Matthew 15:4. [For God commanded ...] That is, in the fifth commandment (Ex 20:12), and in Ex 21:17. To "honor" is to obey, to reverence, to speak kindly to, to speak and think well of. To "curse" is to disobey, to treat with irreverence, to swear at, to speak ill of, to think evil of in the heart, to meditate or do any evil to a parent. All this is included in the original word.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Matthew 15:1-9 The sanction of this law in the fifth commandment, is, a promise, that thy days may be long; but our Saviour waives that, lest any should thence infer it to be only a thing commendable and profitable, and insists upon the penalty annexed to the breach of this commandment in another scripture, which denotes the duty to be highly and indispensably necessary; He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death: this law we have, Ex 21:17. The sin of cursing parents is here opposed to the duty of honouring them. Those who speak ill of their parents, or wish ill to them, who mock at them, or give them taunting and opprobrious language, break this law. If to call a brother Raca be so penal, what is it to call a father so? By our Saviour's application of this law, it appears, that denying service or relief to parents is included in cursing them. Though the language be respectful enough, and nothing abusive in it, yet what will that avail, if the deeds be not agreeable? it is but like him that said, I go, Sir, and went not, ch. 21:30.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)
Ex. 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother - by expressions of respect and reverence for them, as instrumentally the representatives of God, and by every token of attention and considerate regard for their support and comfort. This commandment holds a high place in the rank of social duties, and comes next in order after the law of the Sabbath, with which it is associated (Lev 19:3). Love is the sentiment required to be cherished toward our fellow-men (Lev 19:18), but honour or 'fear' toward parents.
As you can see, there is a lot more to this commandment than meets the eye. Jesus concluded the matter with this and so do I, Mark 7:16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. KJV