What does the fifth commandment of God ask us to do? Something apparently very easy to do: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)
But how are we to honor our parents? By cherishing them, by listening to them and following their advice, by considering and honoring their life experience, by thanking them and loving them in the same way as they love us (in the case where we are lucky enough to have loving parents).
However if our parents have made irreparable mistakes like abandoning their children or treating them the way they shouldn't have, loving and forgiving is the solution here as well. We must help them when they are old and ill, honoring them even after death.
The question may occur, as to why is it so important to God that we should honor our parents? First, out of very clear and sound reasons. Through them, God gave us life; and by their sacrifice, caring, hard work and love they have raised us and educated us.
Secondly, because our parents, as one body, symbolize God the Father, like we symbolize God the Son. The same are our relationships with our parents, which are the symbol of our relationship with God, the Holy Trinity, in union.
Thirdly, in the same way as we either respect or honor our parents or not, so will our children in their turn honor us or not, as many such stories attest. According to the Holy Scripture, there is a great punishment for not following this commandment. The penalty is a very heavy one indeed.
Thus, in the Old Testament, God commanded that: "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death". (Exodus 21:17). Noah cursed Ham's descendants because he had mocked at his father's nakedness. Absalom also was punished with frightening death for rising against his father, King David (see 2 Kings 18:9).
Are there examples in the Bible attesting that those who honor their parents are blessed by God? Apparently, there are plenty of such examples in the Bible. In this respect, it is wonderful to consider an example of Rahav's sons and grandsons, who have followed their parents' request not to drink wine, for which God blessed them (Jeremiah 35: 6-19).
According to the writings in the Holy Scripture, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself honored this very important commandment in the Bible, both by words and by actions:
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.' ...
... But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is 'devoted to God,' they are not to 'honor their father or mother' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you" (Matthew 15:3-7); ...
... "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (Luke 2:51).
So if Christ Himself was "subject unto" his earthly parents, we also must do this if we want to truly follow Him. There is no excuse for us not to do so, regardless of any of our arguments or protests, if we do not honor our parents, we disobey and disregard God's commandment.
There is also another passage in John 19:26: "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!"
This shows Lord Jesus Christ's great care for his mother and concern for her future, for the rest of her life on earth, and because of that he asked his beloved disciple, John, to take care of His precious Mother.
Another great benefit which comes from honoring our parents, their love, their care and their advice, is that we thus learn and practice a respectful attitude towards the authorities, be them spiritual or worldly authorities. So in this way, by learning how to honor the authority of our parents first, we are less likely to break the law.