Obedience to Parents
“What does it mean to honor your parents? We can see that if we will look at the word “honor” is kabed. This word literally means, “to be heavy, weighty, to honor.” Even today, we still link, the idea of being heavy with honoring a person.
When the President of the United States or some other important person speaks, people often say that his words “carry a lot of weight.” Someone whose words are weighty is someone worthy of honor and respect. However, we can learn even more about what it means to honor someone by looking at its opposite in Scriptures.
… [The literal meaning of the word curse (qalal) was “to make light, of little weight, to dishonor.” If we go back to our example above, if we dishonor a person we would say, “Their words carry little weight.” The contrast is striking!
When Paul tells us to honor our parents, he is telling us that they are worthy of high value and respect. In modern-day terms, we could call them a heavyweight in our lives! Just the opposite is true if we choose to dishonor our parents.
Some people treat their parents as if they are a layer of dust on a table. Dust weighs almost nothing and can be swept away with a brush of the hand. Dust is a nuisance and an eyesore that clouds any real beauty the table might have. Paul tells us that such an attitude should not be a part of how any child views his or her parents, and for good reason. If we fail to honor our parents, we not only do what is wrong and dishonor God, but we also literally drain ourselves of life!
Listen, my child,£ to what your father teaches you. Don’t neglect your mother’s teaching.
My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching.
It is natural and good for children, as they grow toward adulthood, to become increasingly independent of their parents. Young adults, however, should take care not to turn a deaf ear to their parents—to reject their advice just when it is needed most. If you are struggling with a decision or looking for insight, check with your parents or other older adults who know you well. Their years of experience may have given them the wisdom you seek.
You children must always obey your parents, for this is what pleases the Lord.
Children must be handled with care. They need firm discipline administered in love. Don’t aggravate them by nagging, deriding, or destroying their self-respect so that they quit trying.
Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.
The Hebrews were extremely successful at making religion an integral part of life. The reason for their success was that religious education was life-oriented, not information-oriented. They used the context of daily life to teach about God. The key to teaching your children to love God is stated simply and clearly in these verses. If you want your children to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences. You must teach your children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.
Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.
In the process of helping our children “choose the right path,” we must discern differing paths for each child. It is natural to want to bring up all our children alike or train them the same way. This verse implies that parents should discern the individuality and special strengths that God has given each one. While we should not condone or excuse self-will, each child has natural inclinations that parents can develop. By talking to teachers, other parents, and grandparents, we can better discern and develop the individual capabilities of each child.
Many parents want to make all the choices for their child, but this hurts him or her in the long run. When parents teach a child how to make decisions, they don’t have to watch every step he or she takes. They know their children will remain on the right path because they have made the choice themselves. Train your children to choose the right way.
2 Corinthians 12:14
Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have; I want you. And anyway, little children don’t pay for their parents’ food. It’s the other way around; parents supply food for their children.
Paul had founded the church in Corinth on his first visit there (Acts 18:1). He subsequently made a second visit (2:1). He was planning what would be his third visit (see also 13:1). Paul explained that, as before, he didn’t want to be paid, fed, or housed; he only wanted the believers to be nourished with the spiritual food he would feed them.
1 Timothy 3:4
He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him.
Christian workers and volunteers sometimes make the mistake of thinking their work is so important that they are justified in ignoring their families. Spiritual leadership, however, must begin at home. If a man is not willing to care for, discipline, and teach his children, he is not qualified to lead the church. Don’t allow your volunteer activities to detract from your family responsibilities.