My parents are unsaved, how can I honor them?

Q: Dear Minister, I’m having a hard time dealing with my unsaved parents; so I was wondering, could you explain what the Bible means about honoring your Father and Mother. Does this honor apply to my situation?


A: Mistakenly, we are conditioned to believe giving gifts to our parents on certain day’s defines what honor is. Unfortunately, while this may be a worldly expression of honor, biblical honor has a much broader meaning.

A son honors his father and a servant his master: if then I am a father, where is mine honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? The LORD of hosts is asking. O priests that despise my name. And you say, Wherein have we despised thy name? (Mal 1:6)

True honor is evidence not in giving gifts once a year, but in an ongoing life of obedience to the parents. It’s an absolute lack of respect to give gifts to your parents on father’s day and mother’s day and remain disrespectful the remainder of the year. I call this hypocritical dishonor. Hypocritical dishonor is the actions of someone that will attend church on Sunday claiming to believe the instructions of the bible only to live a compromising spiritual lifestyle the rest of the week. Thus, many people have been conditioned to give gifts to their parents once a year but the rest of the days of the year they live a conflicting and dishonoring lifestyle.

‘These people says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me”. (Mat 15:8)

Therefore in order to really bring honor to the parent’s children must be willing to live a life in accordance with the teaching of the parents. This sort of honor extends the life of the parents and is passed down to the children’s, children. Jesus said, “I honor my Father, and you do dishonor me”. (John 8:49)  So how did Jesus honor the Father? The honor was displayed in his acts of obedience too the father and this honor were passed down to the church.

Wherefore, I must clarify, (as Christians) we can’t always fulfill the fullness of the scriptures to honor our parent when our parents are unsaved. Here’s why, while we can honor them in our treatments of speech, and helps, we can’t always submit ourselves to their full obedience because our unsaved parent’s instructions sometimes disregard the will and laws of God.

Therefore we are commanded to honor our unsaved parents in all, as long as what they may describe as honor doesn’t challenge the perfect will of God. Jesus explains “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple”. This doesn’t teach us to literally hate our kinsmen, but rather we must choose between honoring God and honoring my family. As believers we must choose to honor God above all.


2 thoughts on “My parents are unsaved, how can I honor them?

  1. My husband & I are in a very difficult situation with his parents. We love them,pray for them and continue to strive to stay free from being offended by them. They say & do some of the most horrible things, in regards to other family members & even us if we have an opinion different than them.. Our opinion of these other family members is rooted in God’s word & has to do with loving them but it’s like if we don’t hate these people then we must hate them! They are constantly gossiping & fighting continually with other family members.. It gets exhausting to try to keep the peace and have our heads bit off. In addition to these issues, they feel my husband should be available whenever they need help, even though they can afford to call a plumber or handyman, they don’t trust anyone & are fearful to let anyone in their home., my husband works full time & is building 2 other businesses, and then any extra time left in his busy day he spends with my daughter & I. We’re continually manipulated and given guilt trips on “honor your father & mother.”
    What do we need to do to really please God?? We want to be Christ like and lay our lives down, and give & help. But these demand and behavior are difficult to bear! Please pray for us & give me some type of advice.. Oh and they clam to be saved & use the word of God to condem everyone who they see is wrong. I personally have no idea if they are truly saved? Their actions aren’t lining up with their profession.

  2. Hello Kristen,

    Judgement with true virtue and worth is to hear all the evidence. Therefore, I am set at a disadvantage and would fail to offer you righteous guidance because so much is unknown about your families’ relationship. However, I suggest that you and your husband through prayer come to a mutual agreement on handling your family crisis. If the two of you stand divided, your husband parent’s will play off your disunion. I will also suggest you exhaust all your efforts to reach your husband’s parents. You can start by expressing to them your feelings about the families’ relationship as a whole; do this in a way that will mimic the peace of God. You have to strive to be peaceable and this takes God’s power. The last thing I will leave with you is this, search yourself for any imperfections in your life; you may notice that your husband’s parent’s in their ignorance is helping you sharpen your walk with God.

    Sorry I could not offer more help with the limited information I have.

    You and your family will be in my prayers.

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