Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Honor that is Due
Terry R. Baughman
“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 go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1–3 NIV).
Some may observe that there is a general lack of respect in our culture for elders, in general, and parents, in particular. Many children are not taught to listen to elders and may even be encouraged to voice their opinions loudly without consideration of others who may know a thing or two in any given situation. Discipline is woefully missing in many homes and children are allowed to have free rein without any correction or instruction to direct their lives for a more productive and civil outcome.
Parents are to be honored. The commandment is as old as the original laws delivered from the Lord. Not only is it one of the Ten Commandments, but it is also joined with a promise, “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:3 NIV). Long and good life are promised to those who give honor to their father and mother. God is sincere and He emphasizes His commitment to those who follow His instruction with a promise.
Children are instructed to obey their parents. This is not a blanket provision to excuse abuse or mistreatment of children with unreasonable exceptions, but the qualifier, “in the Lord,” is added to the commandment. As long as parents are following godly leadership and developing Christ-like character, children have an obligation to follow their instructions. Paul emphasized, “for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1 NIV). A child of any age cannot truly honor their parents if they disobey them, disrespect them, or disregard their instructions in life. A child may not always agree with the conclusion of their parents, but they have a God-given obligation to respect their position, give attention to their instruction, and then do their best to fulfill their parents wishes.
We can always point to the unreasonable request, or the overbearing parent. God will take care of those situations and that type of parent will have to answer to Him for their hard sentences and unyielding demands. In general most parents have the desire to honor God in the way they lead their children and given light and wisdom to fulfill the promises of God.
When sincere parents speak to their children in love, and speak civilly to those given into their charge, God will hold the child responsible to respond correctly. That doesn’t mean the child has no opinion or that they should simply obey without question, but rather that the God-fearing family will be led in a mutually respectful fashion.
Long life is promised to those who will simply honor their parents. This isn’t just for children, respect is due and honor is needed for parents and children of any age. Let us practice honor as children so that when we become parents and grandparents we may also reap the reward of respect and be crowned with honor from our children.
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:7-8 NIV)