Summary and Application
The Fifth Commandment
“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
In this commandment God moves from our duty to and love for God, to our duty to and love for our fellow man. Just as the first four commandments deal with our treatment of our Heavenly Parent, the first precept of the last six deals with our treatment of our earthly parents. Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God Himself.
The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to show them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to assist and comfort them in old age. This commandment requires us to not only honor our parents, but to respect the spiritual leaders that God has ordained to help us grow in our knowledge of divine things. It includes giving due respect to our civil leaders and laws. The principle that underlies this fifth commandment is respect for all God-ordained authority. Thus, in a single broad stroke of love God protects the integrity and peace of society.