What does it mean to honor someone? It’s a showing of respect.
The word used for honor here is only used in two other cases in Scripture. It’s a weighty word instead of the one used to talk about giving riches to someone, though riches can be associated with this “honor” word as well.
I used the word “weighty” for a reason. This word honor can also mean burden. It’s a weighty word. It’s like how a wife should honor her husband. It’s how we should honor our leaders.
We call the president, “Mr. President,” to show respect for the office, even if we don’t have respect for the man.
You honor your parents not because of their greatness but because of their position as your parents. A wife respects her husband because of his position, not because he’s necessarily earned the respect.
Your parents are humans. That means they are sinners. That means there is this awful tendency in them to think of themselves.
Now, to varying degrees your parents have overcome self. I hope they pick up the cross every day and die to self and are continually being filled with the Spirit, which is God’s love being poured out into them (Romans 5:5) so they can pour that love out into you. But that may not be the case.
You still have to respect them, show them honor. You speak well of them to their face and to others.
Now, I want to give one caveat here. If your parents or some other authority is abusing you, hurting your heart or your body or your mind, you aren’t disobeying God’s command to tell someone what’s going on. When someone is deep in sin, sometimes they need someone to love and respect them enough to point out their sin to bring it into the light. Sin wants to hide in darkness. Jesus is the Light of the world. We need to expose sins, so they can come into the light and be brought to Jesus and get dealt with.
Or maybe your parents have earned respect, and you are the one struggling with self. You too need to take up your cross and die to self each day and ask God to be always filling you with His Spirit of love so that you speak to and about your parents in a way that honors them.
This goes for children of all ages. Your parents still need to honor your grandparents.