Honoring Thy Father and Mother

A metaphysical interpretation

James Leroy Wilson


Moses with the Ten Commandments (Picture: ArtsyBee, no copyright)

Some credit the Ten Commandments in the Book of Exodus as the basis of Western culture and values. For others, it is the pronouncements of a tyrannical and fictional deity.

Such skeptics may very well agree with commandments such as “thou shalt not kill” and “neither shalt thou steal” but do not believe individuals need to hear that from a higher power; humans are social animals and would not usually kill or steal anyway.

In his The Bible is a Trilogy (2023), filmmaker Alek Gearheart posits that the “spirit” of something is the truth behind it. I appreciate this definition. The “spirit” of a law is the intent behind it, even though the text of the law might not cover every situation.

The “spirit” or truth of something is its metaphysical meaning.

Those who believe humans are, in essence, spiritual beings will see beyond the outer appearance and actions of a person to the “real” or “true” nature inside. In animal form, humans make mistakes, but our mistakes are not who we truly are. This is why non-judgment and forgiveness are taught in many religions.

Metaphysical interpretations of the Bible see its stories and laws as metaphors for our spiritual selves. As within, so without. Even the Ten Commandments themselves suggest that it is about spirituality. This is revealed in the Tenth Commandment, “Thou shalt not covet…” which is wholly unenforceable in civil society.

I suggest “Thou shalt not covet” means “you will not covet because you do not covet.” Your inner, true, spiritual self does not covet. Neither is your true self a thief or a murderer.

I’ve forgotten what I was reading or watching, but I started thinking about how this applies to the Fifth Commandment: “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 commandment is all well and good for this earthly plane. Whether they were biological parents or not, it is both fitting and recommended to love and care for those who have loved and cared for you.



James Leroy Wilson

Former activist. Writer with a range of interests from spirituality to sports.