“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”
Chapter three begins in the heavens and ends in the home. It comes right down to husbands, wives and children. God expects a difference between a Christian home and a non-Christian home.
In this verse God introduces us to another principle in the divine institution of marriage–obedience of children. All divine institutions need order. The security of all institutions depends on obedience. Children have a role in the family. The security of the family depends in part on the obedience to parental authority.
“Children, obey your parents”
Obedience means there is a higher authority. Implicit in the word “obey” is the idea of give attention in order to answer, give ear or heed. This implies respect for one in authority. Obedience is yielding one’s self and will to authority.
Obedience is a form of guidance. Through it the child learns to adapt behavior to proper standards. Obedience is the foundation for character. The one in authority should know what is best to do.
The ultimate design for obedience is the independent maturity in the young person. All through life we must adjust to people. Other people have rights that we must consider as well as our own. Prisons and mental health institutions are filled with people who will not submit to authority. We submit to authority all of our lives. We submit to the authorities at school, work, government and military.
Obedience to parents is God’s design for order for children. Disobedience is rebellion (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9). The word “obedience” literally means to hear under and comes to mean to listen, attend. Here it means, to obey on the basis of paying attention to the parents. This principle applies as long as the child is under the roof of the parents. Jesus set an example of obeying his parents (Luke 2:51).
Parents possess basic authority. This authority has the responsibility to train children to function on the principles of life and the principles of the Word of God.
The primary role of the young person is to obey.
If you are a Christian young person then you have certain responsibilities before God. It may come as a shock to you that you have responsibility in the family. Most children think that they have no responsibility at all. They say, “I didn’t ask to be born.” That is true. But now that you are here, why not make the best of it? The world does not owe us a living. The world can be brutal.
To children, fairness is not the issue. Obedience is the issue. Just because you have old fogies for parents that does not justify disobedience. Children are not their own person while under their parents roof.
This is basic authority. The breakdown of the authority of the family will break down society. Parents are not always right but they are always your parents. If children resent their parents because they are not easy going, they are on their way down.
The issue for parents is fairness. For parents, the issue is not to demand obedience. Nor is the issue winning the love of the child. The love of children amounts to very little because they have little capacity for love. Some parents try to buy love from their children. When they do, they get little in return. Parents cannot buy affection from the child. A child will resent the parent who makes them eat properly. What difference does that make? Does the child see the value of eating properly? No. We need to learn to say “no” and make it stick. The child will love us in the long run but probably not the short run if we execute discipline. If we do not do what is right for them, they may not love us, or at least not respect us, in the short run.
Communication between parents and teens rests on three principles:
1. the willingness of the teen to accept a biblical role in the home.
2. the willingness of the teen to accept the necessity of the family context for growing up.
3. the necessity of the teen to accept himself with sufficient respect and understanding.