FOR Children & Parents
Ephesians 6:1-4 says, “Children,
obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honour your father and mother
(which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth. And fathers, do not provoke your
children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the
Children must obey their parents.
This is of fundamental importance. To have obedient children is the desired
blessing of every parent. A child who does not listen to the teachings of his
parents is one with a bleak future.
Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to
your father who begot you, And do not despise your
mother when she is old.” However some say “times have changed” or “society has
advanced”. Many children do not regard their parents at all. When there is a
disagreement they would say that their parents are ‘old fashioned”. The Bible
has said, “But realise this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
For men will be…. disobedient to parents….” (2 Tim 3:1-2). God’s coming is
drawing near. When our Lord Jesus was on earth He obeyed His fleshly parents
(Lk 2:49-50). We should treat the teachings of our parents like a graceful
wreath on our heads and ornaments about our necks (Prov 1:3-9). We should
resolve to bring delight to our parents. Proverbs 23:25 says, “Let your father
and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave
birth to you.” However we must obey our parents only in the Lord. If a parent
asks his child to go against the will of God - to lie,
to worship idol, etc - this child should not obey his parent. He should humbly
and gently explain the reason for it. This is true filial piety.
Children should also provide for
their parents. The Pharisees thought it was sufficient to offer to God alone
without providing for their parents. This is wrong (Mt 15:5-6). Children of God
should not neglect their duties towards their parents. They must also treat
their parents well. The Bible says, “He who strikes his father or his mother
shall surely be put to death,” and He also curses his father or his mother
shall surely be put to death” (Ex 21:15-17).
Filial children “may live long on
earth”. This is the promise of God to them. As long as we follow this
commandment and be filial to our parents, we will be blessed by God and have
long life because God will not fail in His promise (Num 23:14). On the other
hand, those who turn their backs on the teachings of their parents will face
calamities like the two sons of Eli who refused to heed the advice of Eli and
were subsequently killed in battle (1 Sam 2:22-25,4:11-22), and Absalom who
rebelled against his father and was also subsequently killed (2 Sam 15-18).
Parents should not abuse their
authority - provoking their children so much so that they get angry or lose
heart. This does not mean that parents should always indulge their children and
spoil them. When a child has done something wrong, the parents should chastise
and rebuke him there and then. The Bible says, “Discipline your son while there
is hope, And do not desire his death” (Prov 19:18). But discipline him with
love and wisdom. Do not be rash and hot-tempered.
Many parents do not set good
examples. They gamble, drink, and neglect church services. But they forbid
their children from doing what they do. This is one way parents incur the wrath
of their children. Further, if parents show partiality they will make the whole
Parents must also bring up the
child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. They must instill the
truth of the Bible in the hearts of their children. The Bible says, “Teach the
child the way that he should walk, when he grows old, he will not depart from
it” (Prov 22:6). If parents do not instruct their children properly when they
are young, it will be too late if they hope to correct them when they are
One of the reasons why Timothy was
a good worker of God was that his grandmother and mother taught him from young
to understand the truth (2 Tim 1:5, 3:14-15).
l3esides instructing their
children in the Lord, parents must also discipline them in the Lord because
the discipline of the truth will always govern the hearts of the children,
ensuring that they will walk on the correct way and that they will not slip and
fall (Ps 37:31, 119:165; Prov 3:21-23). When Joseph was sold to Egypt, he was
brought into the house of Potiphar. The mistress tried to seduce him and cause
him to sin but he said, “How can I commit this great evil against God?” The
words of God controlled his heart (Gen 39).