“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Continuing on the theme of SUBMISSION, Paul turned his attention now to children. His command to them is simple: Obey your parents in the Lord. This is not an absolute command; when parents tell a child to do something unbiblical, immoral, or unethical, the law of God supersedes the will of the parent. But aside from these extremes, children are to obey their parents. This is the way God intends it. It’s easy to see the immediate practical benefits of this for both children and parents, because parents usually really know best. This teaches children to rely on the wisdom of their parents. Obedience that recognizes parents’ authority usually carry over into recognizing God’s authority.
Another command here is to honor parents. Paul quotes from the fifth commandment recorded in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother,” which is the first command with promise; “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Obeying and honoring are different. To obey is to do what another says to do; to honor is to respect and love. Children are to obey while under their parents’ care, but they honor their parents for life. The promise attached to this commandment should not be the main motive for honoring parents; rather, the main motive should be to do God’s will, and the promise that accompanies the command indicates this. As children obey the command to honor their parents, they show an attitude of love and respect that they carry over into their relationship with God. Such an attitude provides a community that helps provide and protect the aged. On the individual level, as each person cares for older people, the elderly live longer, and the younger people pass the value down to the next generation.
On the issue of parental discipline (v.4), parents especially dads should help children learn, not exasperate and provoke them to anger. Parents, especially fathers, need to treat their children as precious human beings made in the image of God.
If children are disciplined in unloving and irresponsible ways, they become discouraged and resentful. Parents ought not provoke their children, and neither should they abandon their responsibility to guide, correct, and discipline them. This balance is important and crucial.
Correct them when they disobey, and encourage them when they obey. All this is done “in the Lord”. God-fearing parents desire to raise God-fearing children.
(1) “Submission” is not a bad word. How do you respond to the idea of submitting to others?
(2) Husbands, how prepared and willing are you to give yourself unreservedly to your wife and children?
(3) Parents, in your dealings with your children, do you try to encourage and praise at least as often as you scold and correct?
Pray for a Christ-like attitude as you relate with every member of your family. Pray that honoring our elders as well as even our children becomes a norm in our homes. Pray the Lord will grant us the grace and strength to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Amen.