HONOR AND OBEY
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long,
full life in the land the LORD your God will give you.” Exodus
20:17. “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the
Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” Ephesians 6:1.
This commandment and admonition are taught to children early in their
lives. Hopefully you have memorized these verses and are aware of the
importance that God places on children obeying, honoring, and respecting
their parents. Often it is very easy to obey these commands. We love
our parents and we know they love us. Hopefully your parents and your
family are very important to you.
But sometimes the relationship between parent and child gets strained.
As we grow, more and more we want to control our own lives and make
our own decisions. We think we know what is best for ourselves and often
we resent it when our parents say no to us. Sometimes we think our parents
are living in the dark ages and don’t understand life today. As
this happens we often find it very easy to complain and even rebel against
our parents and these Biblical commandments.
Parents also have a difficult time with these strains. It is hard to
see your children grow and begin to make their own decisions. But parents
have experience and a broader perspective than their children. They
often can see the pitfalls and dangers that they and others have experienced
from poor decisions. They understand the temptations their children
will face and they want to protect their children from these. They do
want what is best for their children and they often find it difficult
to say no when they know that is best, but not very popular with their
But thank the Lord for parents who make the tough decisions and impose
the limits that we all need as we grow and encounter new situations.
As you grow older you will learn to see the wisdom of limits placed
upon you by Christian parents. Hopefully, someday you will begin to
understand your parents’ actions and the hard decisions that they
had to make for your good. As you do, you will understand even better
the commandments to honor and obey your parents.
And, by the way, the scriptures give many admonitions to parents, not
just to children. For example, “The rod and reproof bring wisdom,
but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother …
Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will delight your
soul.” Proverbs 29:15,17.
Now what are some of the issues that may strain your relationship with
your parents? How about something like “Why can’t
I stay out later?” Thank the Lord if your parents put time
constraints on your activities. They know that little good happens after
certain hours at night. They know late hours can produce new temptations.
They worry about your safety until you arrive home. They should know
where you are, what you are doing, and when you will return. And, if
an emergency should develop that would prevent you from being home on
time, you must take the responsibility to call them and explain your
emergency. Even when your Grammy was in her 20’s, working a regular
job and still living at home, her curfew was midnight. She honored her
parents, and the Lord, by obeying this rule.
Why can’t I have this? Everybody else has
it. We heard this often when your dads were growing up. The fact that
others may have it doesn’t mean you really need it. Maybe it is
too expensive or not good for you. It is probably a want and not a need.
Thank God for parents who don’t give their children everything
they want but teach them the value of saving and planning and distinguishing
between wants and needs. Hopefully you will learn the valuable lesson
that we can’t always have all that we want but God will provide
what we need when we trust Him.
Why must my parents meet and approve of my friends?
“Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.”
I Corinthians 15:33 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not
proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away
from it and pass on. Proverbs 4:14,15. Thank God for parents who monitor
their children’s friends. Friends can be a positive or a very
negative influence on a child. Too often children who are seeking acceptance
from others can make bad decisions about their friends. And why would
you really want friends who aren’t accepted by your parents? This
is especially important in dating since when one begins to “fall
in love” it often clouds one’s ability to make wise judgments
and decisions and this often leads to bad life long commitments. Unfortunately,
many of our friends have experienced this with their children who now
lead very unhappy lives.
Why can’t I go? Not every place that your
friends go might be profitable for you, even though you may face strong
peer pressure to be there. Thank the Lord if your parents make a decision
for you that you don’t have the courage to make yourself. This
is especially true if drugs or alcohol might be present. If your friends
can’t accept that, you don’t need them as friends.
Why can’t I wear that? Everybody else dresses
like that. I had an advantage with that question. Teaching in a public
high school for 39 years I saw what kids were actually wearing and I
knew not everyone “dressed like that”. In fact I found that
dress usually reflected the student’s self-esteem and reflected
their attitude and achievement. Those who looked sloppy often were sloppy
in their attitude and achievement. Dressing modestly is also a problem,
especially for girls. Current styles and availability of clothing in
stores often make it hard to find modest clothing. But it is essential
to dress modestly because of the message your dress can send to others,
especially those of the opposite sex. The scriptures warn us in Romans
12:2 not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. I hope you will
choose to dress neatly and modestly demonstrating to others your attitude,
your character, and your testimony.
Why must I study? I can’t earn straight
A’s. Not everyone can earn straight A’s, although maybe
you can. However, everyone can and must do their best. That means listening
in class (even if it is dull and deadly), doing homework (even if it
seems like busy work) and studying for tests. Your experiences in school
are like a job and the pay-off for good work is usually a good job and
a sound future. Don’t waste this experience, like many do. Thank
the Lord if your parents encourage you to do your very best work, even
if it is B or C work. For years I had a slogan posted in the front of
my classroom. “Every work is a self-portrait of its author –
autograph it with excellence!” As a Christian, you should do nothing
less than your best!
Why must I go to church? I hope this is a question
that you never ask, but, unfortunately, many teens and youth do argue
about this issue with their parents. Church attendance and worship is
as essential to your spiritual growth as a good diet and exercise are
to your physical life. The scriptures also warn us “to forsake
not the assembling of yourselves together”. It is true that
some days you may need to force yourself to go to church, just like
some days you must force yourself to exercise or go to school or work.
But your church is where you can worship our faithful God, grow
in faith, fellowship with other believers, and use your gifts to serve
and minister. Satan will tell you that you don’t need this, but
he is the great deceiver. The Lord wants and deserves your worship.
Find a good church and get involved in its ministry so that you
can grow, grow, grow in the Lord.
Remember …. honor and obey your parents … someday you will
appreciate their wisdom.