Most of the advice we give is directed towards parents to help them understand what God and His Word say about parenting. This is great, and definitely needed in a time where Christianity is attacked seemingly everywhere, and at every angle. However, I think it is not only important for parents to understand what God expects of them, but for young children to know as well. Unfortunately most children do not fully understand God’s expectations and commands for them, relative to how they should treat their parents.
“Today is ‘Nerd Day’ at school, Dad; can I borrow some of your clothes?”
We need to ensure that our children have a healthy and Biblical understanding of what your role is as a parent, and also their role is as a child. They need to know the below verses, and parents need to remind them when they show dishonoring behavior.
Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 NLT
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1 NLT
The words “Obey your parents” are self-explanatory, but “Honor your father and mother” might be more difficult for our children to understand. Honor is showing high respect and esteem. The Greek word for honor means “to revere, prize, and value.”
Children are to be respectful in word and action, and they are to have an inward attitude of esteem for their parent’s position. Children of all ages should honor their parents, regardless of whether or not their parents “deserve” honor. Also whether or not the child agrees with them, or wants to do what they are being asked to do.
This doesn’t imply that our children are to imitate the ungodly behavior of us parents. We are all sinners, saved only by God’s grace, so we parents will mess up from time to time. In which case we acknowledge it, and ask our children for forgiveness.
It is important for our children to also understand that if a parent, or anyone else for that matter, instructs a child to do what is clearly contrary to God’s will, the child should obey God and not their parents. That is true of any of us, as our authority is God’s will and His word, above all else.
We all hate discipline, but it is necessary for us to become a better person. The Bible tells us that God disciplines us because He loves us, He wants to draw us closer to Him, and He wants to make us into the person He wants us to be. When a parent disciplines, it should be for the same reason. Disciplining a child when they show dishonor to their parents, is appropriate to show the child that there are consequences, and to encourage better behavior in the future. Obviously it should be the appropriate level of discipline; the punishment should fit the crime.
Make sure your children know the below verses.
A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction. Proverbs 13:1 NLT
My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9 NLT
Honor begets honor. God will not honor those who will not obey His command to honor their parents. If we desire to please God, we must honor our parents.
Sit down with your children this week and review and discuss these verses. Talk openly about how you can help each other become the parents and children God wants you to be.