“Honor your parents” includes your in-laws—This was part of my last post that I thought deserved expansion. It was a concept I had never thought of until my mom mentioned it to me after I had been married a few years.
We are familiar with the command to honor our parents. It was the first law that included a blessing: if you do, your days will be prolonged and God will be with you. If you look at this practically, honoring your parents means respecting them which helps your relationship with them, speaking well of and to them, and it means dealing with them in a good way and taking care of them when they are older. Chances are if you do not respect them, you will not take their advice which could lead to some bad, possibly detrimental, mistakes. If you don’t honor them and you run into trouble they will be less likely to help you out of it. But it also has a much more far reaching consequence if you are disobedient. Romans 1:30 says that those who are disobedient to parents (among other things) are worthy of death. If you make a habit of dishonoring your parents, it is likely that you are not saved and will bear the eternal consequence of that. God takes obedience to authority very seriously, but especially in the family unit. The family is vital to everything good: values, morals, love, nurture, which is why Satan is so adamantly attacking the family in our society today.
But it doesn’t stop with our biological parents. They say that when you marry a person, you marry their family, too. Their family becomes your family, their parents your parents. If you honor your own parents but not your in-laws it will possibly cause even worse problems than just dishonoring your parents. It will affect your relationship with your spouse, causing them to have to choose between you and their parents. It will affect your children, not only in how they view and interact with their grandparents, but also how they view and interact with you. They see your disrespectful manner and will copy it, but it won’t be confined just to their grandparents. It will eventually lead them to despise you for your hypocrisy of honoring your parents and not your in-laws. (dishonoring both leads to a whole new set of problems) Kids naturally see the necessary roles of authority and when they see you going against that by dishonoring your in-laws it will make them rethink how they see others. They will see the injustice, and if they don’t think ill of it, they will follow suit and also disrespect that set of grandparents.
God’s laws are designed to make life work smoothly. He doesn’t come up with these rules to keep us from having fun or to control us. He created life, people and relationships and He knows how they work the best. He wants us to honor our parents because He knows that will make our lives better, hence the promise. That is why we should willingly obey God, even when it doesn’t necessarily make sense. His rules are for our good and benefit, not His. We need to trust Him and obey. If we do, life will be better than if we do not. It may not be perfect because we can’t control how other people treat us. But we should not add our sin to theirs. We may have to face some of the consequences of their bad treatment of us, but life will be even worse if we add to that our bad treatment of them. Choose to obey God and treat your family (all of them) well no matter how they treat you.