Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12 (ESV)


Honor: To treat (someone) with respect and admiration; to do what is required by (something, such as a promise or a contract) –Merriam-Webster dictionary

Be honest: when someone mentions the words “honor your father”, how does that make you feel? Loved? Challenged? Disgusted? What about when we put it in the context of a direct commandment from God- does that change your perception and willingness to obey? Notice the second half of the verse above mentions a promise from the Lord that is directly correlated to our obedience of His command (cf. Deut 5:16). Based on what sort of relationship we currently have (or may have had) with our dads, our ability to learn, accept, and live out God’s Word in this area plays a major role in other areas of our lives.

The Fatherhood CoMission has launched a massive campaign entitled Honor Your Father, which includes some of the top Christian leaders from around the world- all of whom have come from a variety of different upbringings. Here are a few quick tips of how you can honor your father (and mother), no matter what:

Give him a break!

We all have a lot going on, especially single parents. Still, any opportunity you can grab to help your dad out I am sure would be a welcomed blessing. Maybe it’s taking him to lunch; or helping with some household chores. Whatever you choose, let him know it’s done out of love and why you are doing it.

Build him up!

Believe it or not, men want to be affirmed, even if it is in a humble way (After all, “words of affirmation” are one of the 5 love languages). Whether it is lending a loving ear to listen to him, a hand-written letter, or even a simple phone call, your words have a powerful impact on the relationship you have with your father.

When he isn’t honorable

How do you honor someone who isn’t honorable? Sometimes it means not saying anything at all; biting our tongues when we don’t have anything good to say. It may mean sending only a card when you can’t do much else on holidays. Above all, we must ask God to heal the wounded areas of our lives. In The Daddy Gap I make the statement, “A wound will only become infected if it is left untreated.” In other words, failure to address our “father wounds” can potentially become hazardous to other areas of our lives, such as our relationships with our own children. There’s healing at the Cross.

When we make the decision to honor our fathers and follow the examples Jesus has provided, God is able to abundantly pour out His blessings upon our families that even the greatest of earthly fathers could never provide.

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. He is the author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers and the coauthor of The Daddy Gap. Matt is also a huge advocate for mentoring and mentors a couple boys himself. He enjoys working out and almost any outdoor recreation. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. For more information please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

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The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com