Respect is not a two-way street.

Respect. Everyone wants it. Everyone thinks they deserve it. Everyone demands it. But very few actually give it.

I think I hear it more from teenagers than anyone else. In their quest to become “adults” they demand respect from their peers, their significant others, their siblings, their teachers, their teammates, and even their parents.

And more often than not, the ranting demand for respect starts off with an attitude smothered with bad-mouthing the parentals.

“My mom’s so stupid. She always thinks she knows everything, and she never respects me. I mean, I’m old enough to make my own decisions — I wish she’d just back off. I’m not a baby anymore…”

Um, you’re 12. and you’re wondering why your parents don’t respect you…?

Are you respecting them? If the above quote is any indication of your “respect” for them, then it’s no wonder at all.

The Bible doesn’t tell children to honor their parents, then turn around and tell parents to return the favor. Respect is not a two-way street when it comes to children and their parents. It’s a one-way street where the children do the walking, and end up down the right path in the end.

When I was younger I found it very difficult to honor my parents – not because they made it impossible for me, but because I had an issue with any and all authority in my life. I didn’t like being told what to do. I didn’t like rules, standards, or anything else that restricted my choices.

I liked the outcome of following rules because I liked not being in trouble. But during the daily battle, I always seemed to think breaking the rules was more fun. I couldn’t see the big picture; I couldn’t see what the end of the day held; I couldn’t see my life 5 or 10 years down the road.

In the heat of the moment, honoring your mom and dad sometimes seems like a pointless rule to follow – especially if you feel they don’t “deserve” to be honored or respected. But God thought it important enough to include it in the Ten Commandments. And if God commands it, then you know there’s a good reason for it.

A few of those good reasons are as follows:

  1. you’ll live a long life
  2. it will go well with you
  3. you won’t be cursed or killed
  4. it’s the first commandment with promise

I happen to like all of those reasons. So what if my parents don’t respect me like I think I deserve to be — they’re my parents. They don’t have to respect me – they’re my authority, not the other way around.

I am 23 years old, and I still respect my parents. There are certain things I don’t say to them out of respect. My mom is in her 60’s, and she still treats her mother with the utmost respect. The rule doesn’t lessen or change with a persons age, nor should we expect it to – because it was commanded by a God Who never changes.

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” ~ Ex. 20:12

“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” ~ Deut. 5:16

“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” ~ Matt. 15:4

“Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matt. 19:19

“For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:” ~ Mark 7:10

“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” ~ Mark 10:19

“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.” ~ Luke 18:20

“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” ~ Eph. 6:2

Perhaps the real problem with kids today is that they didn’t get enough of this in their lifetime…

…mehhh, it was just a thought.  ;]


Posted on May 25, 2011, in Parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Good call cousin. I hear the way that some of my younger cousins or friend’s siblings talk to their parents and I can’t believe some of the words coming out of their mouths! That’s not to say that I didn’t do my fair share of rebelling because I did; however, I’m 26 years old and not living at home anymore and I still respect and honor my parents and I always will. It’s sad really to see parents get treated poorly and not respected and I can’t help but think that if I had done that or said that at their age, I would have gotten in severe trouble or got a swat on the butt. Not to say that child abuse ok or that I necessarily agree with spanking, but a little, light tap goes a long way with younger kids and a good grounding from cell phone, electronics, friends, etc. goes a long way with (most) teenagers. My friend has 2 teenage daughters and 2 younger boys and I’m always amazed how responsible and respectful they are. Then again, if the girls say or do something their mom doesn’t like, their cell phones get shut off and she won’t bring them over to their friends or let their friends come over. It’s pretty amazing actually. Ok, I’ll step down from my soapbox now 😉

    • Oops, I hit the “publish” button before I was completely finished with the post! LOL. Sorry. It’s finished now – pictures and all! ;]

      I completely agree with your comment. I don’t believing in “abusing” children (obviously), but spanking is Biblical. If course there is a huge different between “beating” and spanking, and some parents fail to understand that and take it too far.

      I remember as a little girl watching my neighbor friend spout off to her dad in the most awful attitude ever. I was in disbelief. When she walked away I looked at her father and said, “Man, if I EVER did that to my mom or dad, I’d get the beating of my life…”
      He just looked at me speechless – but it was the honest truth. I had been spanked over lesser things in my life.
      Where there is no discipline, there is no control.

      Thank you for the comment, Gabe. Love you.

      • I hear you on that one cousin! There is a difference between spanking and child abuse/beating and some people fail to realize that as you have said. Honestly I can recall 2 times where I got a good swat on the butt or on the hand from my parents: 1) was when I kicked my little brother in the face (to be fair he bit my toe and deserved it) and 2) was when I threw a brush at my mother during an argument when I was about 8. Needless to say it only took those two swats for me to realize that unless I wanted to get spanked or get soap in my mouth (which happened once when I mouthed off), I needed to be respectful and mindful of my parents. Their my parents and I don’t have to like everything they say or agree with it either but I have to respect and follow it. Love you too!!!

      • And I love the pictures! haha

  2. Great post. 100% agree. The above problem you discuss is the very source of most rap music, for sure. Even the vilest creature on earth, these days, demands respect, else they’ll “pop a cap in yo’ a**!”

  3. I have hrad some people say that because their parents aren’t Christian, they do not need to honor them. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Honor thy Christian Father and Christian Mother.” As long as parents aren’t asking you to do something unethical or immoral, against God’s Will, we need to respect them regardless. If for no other reason (though there are many), to show them the love of Christ!

    I am so blessed to have my parents! They were not living for Christ as I grew up (backslidden), but they were good parents. I agree too. Even if parents aren’t perfect, we need to honor and respect them!

  4. Knowing how to balance love and discipline is tough for parents – yet, you’re right, Gabe, it’s the key to a good outcome for kids. And to kids respecting their parents.

    When my father left home for college, he never returned. He didn’t see any of his family for over 20 years, nor his mother for more than 40!

    Why? He’d felt he was raised with harshness instead of love, both in his family and his church.

    What a shame! If we’re human, our parents’ discipline is needed at times, but love is always necessary! Discipline may deter us from becoming what we shouldn’t, but love helps us become what we should. Radiant love from our parents plays a great role in helping us grow into mature, balanced, fulfilled adults. If our home and church aren’t filled with love, we should ask why – and seek it!

    Here’s one side of the equation: “Discipline your son and he will give you happiness and peace of mind.” (Prov. 29:17, also read 13:24.)

    But here’s the other: “Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying.” (Col. 3:21, also read Prov. 11:29, Eph. 6:4.)

  5. Great post Heather. I would argue though that the Bible does argue for parents to respect their children…

    Paul argues in Ephesians for Parents not to embitter / discourage their children… I dare say respect comes into this…

    • I disagree with you on this one.

      Paul argues in Ephesians for parents not to provoke their “children to wrath.”
      “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” ~ Eph. 6:2

      I believe that this is a result of love, not respect.
      I can love someone without respecting them; and I can respect someone without loving them. The two do not always go hand in hand.

      Nowhere in the Bible is it commanded or even mentioned that parents should “respect” their children. Love, yes. Train, yes. Discipline, yes. Nurture, yes. But there is no mention of respect.

      • Heather, I’m not sure how you can love someone and not respect them, or respect someone and not love them… in the true sense of the term “love.”

        While its true that the Bible doesn’t say anywhere for parents to respect their children… it also never once mentions the word “Trinity”

        Perhaps I’m miss understanding the context and meaning of what you consider “respect” to mean?

        • Craig –
          I respect the President of the United States – but I do not love Him.
          I respect many of my college professors – but I do not love them.
          I respect many of my co-workers – but I do not love them.
          I love my Aunts and Uncles – but there are many of them who I do not respect.
          I love my friends – but there are a few of them who I do not respect.

          While the word “trinity” isn’t mentioned in Scripture, there is enough Scripture to back and support the trinity. So based on God’s Word, we believe it to be true.
          The word “rapture” is also not mentioned in Scripture – but we believe it. There is enough supporting evidence in the Bible to make it true.

  6. I think that a lack of respect equals judgement – and while we judge someone, we can’t either love or respect them.

    I know one or two people whom I have little respect or love for – and it is something that the Lord is working in my heart about every day – changing my heart of stone, bitterness and resentment to one of love…yet its not easy going and forgiveness is the constant key.

    Can you explain a bit more about your meaning of love and respect?

    • Again, I disagree with you.\

      A lack of respect does not necessarily mean judgement. Some things are just obvious, indisputable facts.
      I have friends that sleep around with anyone that’s available. While I love them, I do not respect them.
      I have friends who have no problem lying about anything and everything just to get out of trouble or avoid blame. While I love them, I do not respect them.

      I am not judging them – but there are some things that are just obvious facts that I cannot turn a blind eye to or respect. I am not bitter towards anyone, and I don’t resent anyone either.

      Thank you for sharing your opinions – I’ve enjoyed this discussion.
      I hope you have a wonderful day today!

      ~ Heather Joy

  7. well… luckily we no longer live in a time where kids aren’t looked upon as human beings! just to clear things up, no, i’m not a 12 year old, I’m in my mid-twenties. an adult. do i deserve your respect?
    wisdom doesn’t follow just because you’ve aged, honey.
    kids, as any other fellow human being, deserve to be treated with respect. if you abuse your child mentally (and physically by the looks of it) by treating him no better than a little pet you brought into the world to be your personal little slave, you’ll crush his self esteem.
    let me tell you another thing, ANYONE can have kids. monkeys do it. you don’t deserve any respect for it…unless you earn it. and in my opinion, if you force it out of your child it won’t be genuine.

    • I believe your “child abuse” statement would fit under Eph. 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

      No, you shouldn’t have to “force it out of your child” — if you trained your child right and to fear the Lord and honor/respect you, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

      Anything else can be taken up with the Lord and His Word. I’m just the messenger.

      Thank you for the comment. Have a beautiful day. :]

  8. Haha, It’s not even about respect being a two-way street. It’s about DIS-respect being kicked to the curb. I respect my parents, yet they respond with cruel and annoying words as if THEY were the young child. They throw mean statements around without thinking before speaking, and openly express whatever anger they have. When they get unreasonably angry, take their anger out on me, and have temper tantrums because they are having a bad day , I must sit there and respect them. But when I get reasonably angry, I am punished because as their child. Even if they say something rude and unfair to me, I must hide in my emotions at all costs. I think this is all because of the popular mindset that parents are not perfect but children are expected to be.

  9. I do like your post, however, I do believe when you become an adult (18+) and you are not doing anything wrong, major or minor, and your parent(s), but does not give it back I believe that’s wrong. Someone can not just give their respect and be obey when that parent(s) is constantly going against what the lord says and it does say in the bible that fathers, step or blood, should not anger their sons but I see you fail to put that up there as well.

    Respect is a two way street, can’t give it to someone who is immorally doing danger than good.

  10. I still don’t fully agree that children should respect their parents without question, even if their parents are doing rather questionable things. You want to treat children like they’re disposable people and demand respect from them all because God said so, don’t be surprised if your children don’t give you any. God knows your heart and He’ll judge you according to your works.

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