Pastor Bruce (PB) addresses this topic on his weekly program, "Hijacked Life Live with PB." You can always watch live when you "like" Joseph Bruce Sofia's personal FB page.
(This question finds its birth in the 5th Commandment which says: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12)
Great question with a simple answer: "Not very easily." On a more serious note, here is the answer for what the person who submitted the question was looking.
I must tell you that I bounced this question off of a number of people including two attorneys who make GCCC their home. The "senior attorney" possesses a back-handed sense of humor. His first response was: "Send the parent on a trip to Honolulu, or buy them a car, that's honoring them." Then he went on to say, "I did not respect my step father (who is now deceased), but I was able to honor him for taking wonderful care of my mother." What was this senior attorney saying? There is a distinction between honor and respect.
Where do we begin with this question? Both attorneys agreed, begin by defining "honor." So let's start there. The Hebrew word used in Exodus 20:12 is kabed and has many usages both with good (positive) and bad (negative) implications. The many meanings are: 1) In the bad sense - "burdensome, severe, dull, weighty;" 2) in the good sense - "to be large, advance, boast, bring up, exceed, excellent, be great, increase, lift up, magnify, promote, proudly [spoken], tower."
With that in mind, you can honor a person for what they have achieved or the position they hold in life, but not respect their character. For instance: One could honor Dennis Rodman for his achievements on the basketball court, but not respect him as a person; One could honor Madonna for her achievements and accomplishments in the field of music but not respect her as a person; When former President Clinton held office one could honor him as President of the United States but not respect him as a person; One could honor Martha Stewart as one of America's greatest women entrepreneurs, but not respect her as a person. Draw the parallel, one then could honor a parent because of position, but not respect them as a parent.
One other point here, children must honor their parents, however that does not mean they must obey where obedience to a parent transgresses the word of God. Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37; Exodus 20:3.
Two Biblical illustrations come to mind as examples of honoring but not respecting. The first is King David. It seems hard for me to believe that David had respect for a man who sought his life without cause and who was separated from God because of a disobedient life. 2 Chronicles 10:13 Yet, David honored Saul as his king and refused to take his life although he had many opportunities. There is a beautiful example of how you can honor and not respect in 2 Samuel 1:17-27 when David laments the death of king Saul and his son Jonathan.
The second example is when the apostle Paul called the high priest a "white washed wall." Acts 23:7 He was rebuked by those standing by. "Paul replied, 'Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'"
Hopefully, the above illustrations give us understanding in how to "honor" when we can't "respect."
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