I suggest you concentrate on the last part of the verse:
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? (Heb 12:9)
look at that last sentence, “Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”
Hmmm, I wonder how that figures? I mean, it’s almost as if it’s implying we were dead before.
Being subject to the “father of spirits” or to God the father (of spirits) is extremely important, as, if you’re a Christian, you’ll know by this point.
I think though, that this verse is also saying we should respect our fathers, of course, it is referring to it in the past tense, but that’s because the author is probably somewhat elderly by this point… (considering how far into the bible it is, as far as Genesis through Revelation). So, we should respect our fathers, what does that even mean? Should we start bowing to him and feeding him grapes? Well, not unless you want to make a joke (about bowing to him). Of course, my dad would probably say yes, and I doubt your father would say no. But, that’s beside the point, the question was “what does it mean to respect our fathers?” Well, it means simply, do what they want, unless it’s sinful, in other words, respect his wishes. But, respect God’s (wishes) first.
You are loved!