The only specific way that Jesus told adult children to honor their parents was to support them in their old age.
When you go down the list of what we are tempted to believe when we think of honoring our parents it becomes more clear what it must mean:
- Does honoring one’s parents mean to never argue with them? Jesus argued with his mother at the Wedding of Cana, and his parents at age 12.
- Always agree with them? Jesus did not agree with his mother.
- Go to church where they want you to?
- Believe what they believe? What about people who have atheist parents?
- Be their best friend? Now we are getting into the real meat of the issue.
- Keep them from being lonely? This is what most people who feel guilty about not honoring their parents are often the most guilty about. Yet those who are lonely generally create their own loneliness, and those who create community have worked hard at it.
- Show up at Thanksgiving and Christmas? (And be depressed for however many weeks afterwards.)
- Let them verbally, physically or sexually abuse their grandkids?
- Let them spiritually abuse their grandkids?
Some people say you should honor your parents with the truth:
- The truth about the lies they told you,
- the truth about how you feel about them,
- the truth about the manipulating they do,
- the truth about the spiritual abuse that has gone on in the family.
Jesus was blunt with his family, and blunt with his apostles.