“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. God expects a difference between a Christian home and a non-Christian home. Christian living comes right down to husbands, wives, and children.
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 compliance. Children have a role in the family. The well-being of family function depends, in part, on compliance with parental authority.
“Children, obey your parents”
Obedience means there is a higher authority. Implicit in the word “obey” is the idea of giving 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 for the institution.
The ultimate design for obedience is to bring the child to independent maturity. All through life, we must adjust to others. Other people have rights that we must consider as well as our own. We submit to authority all of our lives in many ways. We submit to the authorities at school, work, government, sports, and the military. Prisons and mental health institutions are filled with people who will not submit to authority.
Obedience to parents is God’s design for children. Disobedience is rebellion (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9). “Obedience” literally means to hear under and comes to mean to listen or attend. Here the idea is to obey based on paying attention to the parents. This principle applies as long as the child is under the parents’ roof. Jesus set an example of obeying His parents (Luke 2:51).
Parents possess the necessary 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 child is to obey.
It may come as a shock to children that they have an obligation in the family. If you are under your parent’s roof, you have specific responsibilities before God. 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. Life can be brutal.
Fairness is not the issue for children, but obedience is. Children do not have autonomous rights while under their parent’s oversight. Just because you have so-called old fogies for parents that does not justify disobedience.
Obedience to parents is basic authority. The deterioration 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 indulgent in their wants, they are on their way down.
The issue for parents is fairness to their children. For parents, the point is not to demand obedience. Nor is the matter winning the love of the child. The love of children amounts to very little because they have a smaller 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 their children. A child will resent the parent who makes them eat properly. What difference does that make? Does the child see the value of eating correctly? We need to learn to say “no” and make it stick. The child will love us in the long run but probably not in the short run if we execute discipline. If we do not do what is right for them, they may not love or 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 teen must accept themselves with sufficient respect and understanding.