The first four commandments instruct us how to relate to God. The last six commandments instruct us how to relate to others. Just as our relationship with God begins with love, our relationship with others also begins with love. Jesus said, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 19:19, et. al.)
In the fifth commandment we are instructed how to behave properly in the first human relationship. “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) This brief command contains several important foundational truths.
The Creator’s design for the family is affirmed in this command. The creator’s design is that a family begins with one man and one woman being joined together in marriage and then for that couple to have children. This command also establishes the basic authority structure of the home. The children honor and obey their parents. We learn from this verse that the basic attitude that children must have toward their parents is respect. That respect is demonstrated through obedience while at home and honor throughout the lifetimes of the child and parent. Connected with this command is a specific blessing pronounced by God. “That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
We learn to love our neighbor first at home. Loving and honoring your parents is the foundation on which love for all others is built.