A photo capturing a tender moment, with a mother and child holding hands, adorned with a Bible placed on a table, symbolizing the importance of respecting and honoring one's mother according to biblical teachings.

What Does The Bible Say About Disrespecting Your Mother

The Bible has strong words regarding showing honor and respect to one’s parents, especially mothers. In a culture that often emphasizes youthful independence and individualism, the Bible’s commands to respect parents can seem countercultural.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible clearly teaches that children are to honor and respect their parents, especially mothers. Disrespecting parents is viewed as a serious offense in the Bible, with several verses warning of consequences for those who fail to honor their fathers and mothers.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore various biblical passages about respecting mothers and see what the Bible says should be the response if someone disrespects their mother.

The Fifth Commandment Establishes the Need to Honor Parents

Exodus 20:12 – Honor Father and Mother

The fifth of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai clearly states, “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).

This establishes the expectation that children are to honor, respect and obey their parents. Failing to do so is considered disobedience to God’s direct command.

Some key reasons this commandment was given include:

  • Parents provide physical life, nourish, educate and discipline children.
  • Respecting parents leads to harmony and prosperity in society.
  • Obedience to parents is tied to living a long life in the Promised Land.

So in multiple ways, God makes clear through His word that disrespecting and dishonoring parents is completely unacceptable. There are serious personal and societal consequences for flouting this aspect of God’s moral law.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Obeys and Honors Parents

The apostle Paul echoes the fifth commandment in his New Testament letter to the Ephesians where he writes, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.'”

(Ephesians 6:1-3).

Here parents’ authority over their children is reinforced. And the blessing of a good, prosperous life for honoring parents is reiterated. By mentioning this is the “first commandment with a promise,” Paul links back specifically to Exodus 20:12 and God’s initial establishing of parental honor.

Paul further states in Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Here complete obedience is emphasized, with the motivation that obedience pleases God.

So the Bible clearly upholds from Old Testament to New honoring parents in word and deed as God’s will. Flouting that parental authority constitutes defiance of the Creator who designed the family order.

Proverbs Contrasts Outcomes for Those Who Respect or Disrespect Parents

The book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot to say about how we should treat our parents. Specifically, it contrasts the outcomes for those who respect their parents versus those who disrespect them.

Blessings for Those Who Respect Parents

Proverbs presents several blessings and positive outcomes for those who honor and obey their parents:

  • It will go well with them and they will enjoy long life (Proverbs 6:20-22)
  • They will be considered wise and will receive grace/favor (Proverbs 3:1-4)
  • They will experience joy and blessings from their parents (Proverbs 23:22-25)

Consequences for Those Who Disrespect Parents

In contrast, Proverbs warns of several dire consequences for those who disrespect their parents:

  • Their life will be extinguished or cut short (Proverbs 20:20)
  • They will experience calamity and distress (Proverbs 19:26)
  • They will be considered foolish and lack understanding (Proverbs 15:5)
  • They will experience disgrace and public shame (Proverbs 19:26)

Clearly, the book of Proverbs presents strong warnings about the negative outcomes that come from dishonoring one’s father or mother.

Respect Parents Disrespect Parents
Long life Life cut short
Considered wise Considered foolish
Joy and blessing Calamity and distress
Favor Disgrace

As illustrated in this comparison, the outcomes presented in Proverbs for those who respect parents versus those who disrespect them are like night and day. Respect brings great blessings, while disrespect brings severe consequences.

The consistent message throughout the book of Proverbs is that honoring one’s father and mother is extremely important and brings great rewards, while dishonoring them is very unwise and ends badly. This principle that originates in the Ten Commandments continues to be relevant wisdom for relationships today.

Jesus Strongly Condemns Disrespecting Parents

The Bible makes it clear that children are commanded to honor, obey and respect their parents. This principle is found throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus in particular had some very strong words for those who disrespect and dishonor their parents.

Jesus Quotes on Honoring Parents

Here are some key quotes from Jesus about honoring parents:

  • “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)
  • “For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'” (Matthew 15:4)
  • “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'” (Mark 7:10)

In these passages, Jesus quotes the Old Testament commandment to honor parents and adds a stern warning that reviling or dishonoring parents deserves death.

The Meaning of Jesus’ Teaching

Jesus was not saying that disrespectful children should actually be put to death. Rather, His words emphasize the seriousness of honoring parents and the evil of dishonoring them. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for excusing people from properly caring for their parents (Matthew 15:3-6).

His teachings uphold the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12) and reaffirm the strong Old Testament prohibitions against cursing or striking parents (Exodus 21:15, 17).

Some key implications from Jesus’ teaching are:

  • Honoring parents is extremely important to God.
  • Disrespecting parents is a serious offense.
  • Cursing or reviling parents deserves strong punishment.
  • Caring for aged parents is a solemn duty.

Ways to Honor Parents

So how can children truly honor their parents today? Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Obey parents with a positive attitude (Colossians 3:20)
  • Speak respectfully and politely
  • Value their wisdom and guidance
  • Spend quality time together
  • Care for their physical needs as they age
  • Express gratitude and appreciation
  • Continue honoring them even after leaving home

Honoring parents comes with great blessing and benefit (Ephesians 6:2-3). But disrespect leads only to strife and disgrace. Jesus’ stern words remind us to treat parents with the highest honor and dignity.

Paul’s Writings Affirm the Command to Honor Mothers

The apostle Paul provides significant insight into the Christian perspective on honoring mothers in his New Testament writings. As an instrumental leader in the early church, Paul’s teachings carry substantial weight for understanding biblical principles.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul instructs children to obey their parents as part of God’s design for family relationships: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).

He goes on to connect this command back to the fifth of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise” (Ephesians 6:2).

Paul teaches that obeying and honoring parents is “right” and in accordance with God’s moral law. The blessing attached to the fifth commandment indicates there are benefits when children respect their parents.

The apostle applies this same principle in his letter to the Colossian believers: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). Pleasing God should be the aim of every Christian, and respecting parental authority contributes to that goal.

In addition, Paul upholds the crucial role that mothers play in training and instructing children in the faith. To Timothy, his “true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2), Paul credits Timothy’s sincere faith to the example set by his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5).

Paul also encourages older women to live as models of spiritual maturity worthy of respect. He instructs Titus to encourage older women to “train the young women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:3-4). Their motherly wisdom and experience are assets to be cherished and emulated.

The writings of Paul provide authoritative apostolic exhortation for honoring mothers. Whether through directly obeying them as children, or learning from their spiritual leadership as adults, Paul upholds the special position of mothers in family and church.

Bible Verses on the Rewards of Honoring Parents

The Bible has much to say about the importance of honoring one’s parents. Here are some key Bible verses that highlight the rewards and blessings that come from honoring and obeying parents:

Long Life

“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)

This verse comes from the Ten Commandments. God promises long life to those who honor their parents. This shows how much God values and rewards those who treat their parents with respect.

Things Go Well

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)

Obeying parents leads to God’s favor. When children listen to and follow their parents, things generally go much more smoothly at home. This verse emphasizes that obedience and honor is God’s will and brings his blessings.

Wisdom and Understanding

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8)

As the primary caregivers and teachers in a child’s life, parents pass on much wisdom. Children who honor their parents by listening to their instruction gain understanding and learn good judgment.


In conclusion, the Bible speaks extensively about the importance of honoring fathers and mothers. Failing to respect parents is considered rebellion against God’s clear commands. The Bible promises blessing for those who honor their parents and serious consequences like shortened life and hardship for those who disrespect father and mother.

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