Children Learn What They Live
Verse 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Now that we have talked about moms, dads and their relationship it is time that we talk about the kids. And that doesn’t exclude those of us “kids” that are now adults.
These verses take us straight to the fifth commandment of honoring our parents, but what does that look like? Like the word submission, honor has often been misinterpreted to only mean obey. One of the issues with this narrow definition is that it has been used past its helpfulness. For example while it is vitally important for a school age child to be living in obedience to their parent it can have adverse effects if an elderly parent demands the same obedience from their adult child.
Let’s first look at how honoring our parents looks when we are young. Though obedience is an important part of honoring, there are other aspects that should be put into place in our lives. Sometimes it isn’t just obeying but the attitude with which we obey. If we obey while grumbling that isn’t honoring our parents. Another way we often dishonor our parents is by talking back to them. This is highly disrespectful and hurts our relationship with them. It also dishonors them when we talk bad about them to our friends.
While some of the above applies to adult children as well as the young children there are points where it changes as we become adults and marry. For example if there is a point where obeying your parent causes you to neglect your duties as a spouse the Bible is clear that your spouse should be your first priority. Now obviously this doesn’t mean that you let your 98 year old mother lay on the floor after falling until after you fix a meal for your husband, there are the rare exceptions of putting your parent first but the point remains that they aren’t at the top of your honoring list any longer. But one way that an aging parent needs honoring that may not please them is caring for them when they can no longer care for themselves. It is honoring to care for them or arrange care for them to fit their needs.
This is one of those commandments that seems easier learned and lived by when we have had a good example lived in front of us. When a child sees a parent dishonoring the grandparents the child may copy those behaviors. Children learn by watching and imitating. That is why the Apostle Paul told the believers in Ephesus, and in turn us, to “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1).
Making It Personal
How have you treated your parents over the years? Would they say that you honored them? How do you honor God as His child?
Making It Personal Kids
How do you treat your mom and dad? Do you honor them in front of your friends? Do you honor God as your Heavenly Father?
Father, thank You for being the perfect Father to imitate. Help us learn to honor You more every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.