Ephesians 6: 1-3
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–. That it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on the earth.”
The word honour means to have great respect for someone. In the Greek, it means to “revere”. In the text Paul gives a clear instruction to children to obey their parents in the Lord. This is an important commandment for every young person. This is not the first time this instruction is stated in the bible, in Exodus 20:12, one of the 10 commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Paul says “in the Lord”, this means we are to honor our parents in things that a Godly – not sin, when their will is ungodly or against God we need to honour God than man. Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
How can we honour our parents?
- Through submission
Honouring someone means you are willing to submit to their will upon your life. Parents love their children and the intentions of most parents upon their children is that they should succeed and be blessed. In a way, every parent can see themselves in their children. When you submit to someone, it means you respect their wishes upon your life. It also means you are willing for them impart spiritual things upon your life so that you can grow. God has given parents the authority to raise children and it is therefore important that as young believer you humble yourself and allow them to guide you.
- Through listening to them
This means you pay special attention when they speak to you. When you are young you are naïve and quite often you think you know it all. Your perception of parent’s maybe that they are old fashioned, too strict and just want you not to have fun. Often, this is far from the truth, most parents want the best for their children because they love and care for them. They want to see them protected from harm and making their life count. Therefore, when they speak to us we need to listen carefully. When spoken to by their parents, disrespectful children:
- Rudely talk back
- Roll their eyes
- Walk away
- Drop the phone call when their parents are speaking etc.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching
We can honour our parents by being obedient to them by doing what they instruct use to do. Honoring your parent’s means when they give you an instruction, you execute it as best you can… with speed were possible! Just listening without action means nothing. A Godly child is one who listen and executes the instructions of their parents. In its literal form the parable of the two sons gives us a good lesson.
In this parable, we see two sons who are instructed by their father to go and work in the vineyard, one says he will do it and does not do it, and the other one says I will not do it and changes his mind and does it. The one who executed the instructions of the father is the one that did what the father wanted.
We learn that simply saying yes and not doing what we are instructed is not what is required. When instructed to do something by parents, disrespectful children:
- Take their time to do it
- Don’t do what is required of them
- They give excuses of why they cannot or could not do it
- Often get someone else to do it for them etc.
Honouring your parents through action is more than just following the instructions you receive. Over and above just following instruction, children that take initiative when they see a need, honour their parents. For example, when you see the house is dirty, you should not wait for your parents to tell you to clean the house but rather have the awareness to take initiative and clean the house before they ask.
We can also honour our parents by obeying when they correct us. One of the responsibilities that parents have is to discipline their children in a loving manner. Discipline is needed for children because as the bible says in Proverbs 22:15 NKJ “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him”.
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke
- Who are my parents?
Parents come in different forms; they can be biological or spiritual, single parent or both parents, related or not related to you.
- Biological parents
Parents are generally referred to as your mother and father. They can be biological or non-biological. They are adult figures that take the responsibility of caring and raising you as a child. In a country like South Africa, you often find grandparents, uncles, aunts, pastors, teachers’ e.tc. fulfilling the role of parents to children who may not be biologically their own. In most children’s lives, there are other people who step in and take the responsibility to rear them. For example, in the bible, Mordecai was Esther’s uncle, but he took the responsibility of being her parent as she grew up (Esther 2:7).
- Spiritual parents
Apart from just physical parents, you can also have spiritual parents who take the responsibility of raising you in the Lord. Count it a blessing when your biological parents are also your spiritual parents. However, in some cases physical parents may be able to provide for physical needs and not spiritual needs. Those who lead us to doing the will of God can be our spiritual parents. They take the great responsibility of nurturing us by guiding, mentoring, teaching, disciplining, and praying for you. In the bible, we see examples of spiritual parents, for example Timothy’s spiritual father was Paul (I Corinthians 4:14-17).
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? ”Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
- The blessing of honouring your father and mother
- It pleases God
When children honour their parents, it brings pleasure to God.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
- Fulfilling this commandment has a promise of a blessing of long life
By honouring your parents, God promises that you will have long life
Because of respecting your parents, God says He will prolong your days in this life
“That it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on the earth.”
- You become a blessing to your parents
Ultimately, when you honour your parents, your parents become blessed through you. When you succeed, they also succeed. When you live and serve God, it is a wonderful blessing to any parent.
I quite often see young people who forget their parents, when they have made it in life they do not remember the sacrifices and the big responsibility that their parents took in raising them. Always remember to be a blessing to your guardian! Even if you cannot bless them with anything material, as child of God, love and pray for your parents. They are a blessing in your life.
In closing, “remember if you have Godly parents, as a child you may not always understand your parents but be reassured that their intentions are for you to prosper – trust them. There are some things I never understood why my parents wanted me to do, but now that I am older, I fully understand.”