6 Guaranteed Ways to Honor Parents and make them smile, not cry - Connecting Truth to Life

At the end of this Bible study are 6 guaranteed ways to honor Parents and make them smile, not cry.

As we face Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, God wants us to honor parents. Many of us will honor our parents and seek to spend time with them. Some of us may travel great distances to see them. They will probably be delighted to see us! Even so, it is a sad reality that some adult children disrespect their parents. It can make them cry. Worse yet, some even take advantage of their weakness and betray them. Where can parents find help? What can we do to honor them?

Go to today’s Bible reading

In today’s Bible reading, David in his weakness faces betrayal from his son Absalom. What does David do? What we learn from him can help us when we are vulnerable. Remember, at the end there are 6 guaranteed ways to honor parents and make them smile, not cry.


Late in David’s reign, the rest of the prophecies regarding the consequences of David’s sin begin to affect him (2Samuel 12:10-12). As King David ages, he makes a slip in his confidence towards God. The LORD allows Satan to tempt him. Instead of trusting God, David orders his forces counted to determine his military strength. He finds (to his shame) that this census was unnecessary. God is still protecting him, for at least 1.1 million Israelite soldiers are ready to take up arms in Israel’s defense. David’s lack of faith is sinful because of the example he is setting for the nation. If he lacks faith in God and his troops, they will not have the confidence to fight in God’s name.

Because of David’s sin, God gives him three choices for judgment, all of which are terrible. David chooses the plague, placing the nation in the LORD’s merciful hands rather than their enemies. So, God sends a pestilence, killing 70,000 of his men by the sword of the LORD through an angel.[1] This enormous loss probably makes many of the Israelites lose confidence in David’s leadership.

Suppose we are the leaders of our families or other organizations. In that case, we must be careful—expressing a lack of confidence in God can discourage others from trusting him. Yet, what can leaders do when they doubt? Get some counsel from God’s Word and pray. Professional counsel and encouragement from God’s Word can reset our focus on him.


During this time of David’s weakness, Absalom seizes the opportunity to overthrow his father and reign on his throne. Absalom wins the hearts of the people with his flatteries and then stages a coup to get rid of him.

When King David learns that Absalom has stolen the hearts of Israel, he perceives an imminent attack on Jerusalem. Therefore, he takes his officials and most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and leaves the city. David does not do this because he fears military conflict. He is sparing the city from civil war and the tabernacle from destruction. Also, David does not want to fight his son. Fleeing Jerusalem is an act of love and wisdom, not cowardice.

Like David, some mothers and fathers are caught in difficult situations. They make some great personal sacrifices to keep peace in the family and commit their lives and future to God.

Help for those who suffer

If David and Christ could endure mocking and abuse, then could we also do it? I am not encouraging mistreatment, but are we willing to suffer to save others?

If we can learn from David’s example, what should we do with an unkind, adult son or daughter who shows disrespect and dishonor? Should we teach them a lesson? Should we fight, argue, or scream at them? No. We should endure hardship, be humble, obey God, and trust him (Psalm 4:3-5; Psalm 37:3-8; Psalm 43:5). We should pray and let God handle it. This is easier said than done, and we will need the power of the Holy Spirit to hold our tongue or keep us from acting in revenge.

Again, I do not suggest that we should tolerate physical or mental abuse. If possible, we should report criminal offenses to the police—God established government institutions to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:4). In other situations that are not abusive but unkind and disrespectful, we should pray and trust God to help us.

David receives support when he leaves Jerusalem; the Israelites still love him. We can also praise God for others who stand with us, and we can glory in the LORD for his presence with us in difficult situations. Do we have a personal relationship with God so he might help us in times of distress? We can call on him to save us today.

Who gives us strength when the rope of our life is weak and about to break? From where does our help come? Our help comes from the LORD and his servants.

6 Guaranteed Ways to Honor Parents and make them smile, not cry

  • Keep in mind that parents are human. They make mistakes like we do. Be gracious, and don’t hold it against them. They will need more care and understanding as they get older.
  • Be attentive to help and volunteer. Parents may not be able to get around and do things as they used to do.
  • Give them the gift of your undivided attention. Just like us, parents get irritated, lonely, and they need people in their lives to talk to and to visit with. Even if some have health concerns, they want to know that they are important and matter to their loved ones.
  • Communicate respect with your behavior and words. Even if they have hurt you, respect their position. Appreciate any good character they might have or things they have done.
  • Ask for and value their advice. Your parents and grandparents have lived much longer than you have and have probably learned a thing or two.  This might keep you out of trouble or benefit you in some other way.
  • Don’t have a good relationship? Pray for them (and you). You can’t save or change them, but God can. Remember, if it has not happened already, you might one day be that parent, so have patience and accept them as they are.
  • Here are more helpful suggestions.

[1] the sword of the LORD through an angel is possibly symbolic of the agent of the plague rather than the method. 

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