Summary: Learn how to get along as parents and children - and how to deal with a difficult boss at work in this practical guide to everyday living.
At church everyone is at their best behavior (most of the time) - hair combed, attitudes straight (after the argument in the car on the way). We come in and look and act so pious and pure.
But when does our real character reveal itself? At home - and sometimes on the job. Overbearing parents, rebellious children, cruel bosses and conniving employees. We think that as long as we’re not in church, God can’t care that much about what we say or do. "It’s business" after all - or "God doesn’t know how difficult it is to raise a child that is so obstinate." Well, He’s raising you, isn’t He?
As it turns out, God is very interested in affecting our behavior once we leave the doors of the church behind. In our most intimate and frustrating endeavors, He stubbornly wants to be Lord.
Last time we looked at husbands and wives - who are to mutually respect each other, and find complimentary roles that together provide a picture of the sacrificial love and endearing respect of Jesus Christ and His church.
Now Paul turns his attention to four groups of people: children, parents, workers and bosses. No group is left unscathed here.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"-which is the first commandment with a promise- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
The word "obey" both in verse 1 and in verse 5 is the Greek word: "To hear under." This is a different word than is used in Chapter 5 referring to wives. That word is "to rank under."
The way the sentence is constructed, some kids might say "I should only obey my parents if they are Christians." In reality - the sentence could read: "Because you are a Christian you should obey your parents."
The word obey can also mean "to hearken." So the word is: "Kids - listen to your parents" - I think this is an especially good word for teenagers, don’t you?
"Children" refers to anyone born (as opposed to "son" or "little child.")
The commandment Paul refers to is found in Exodus 20:12. "Obey" and "Honor" or "respect" are two different things. While under the care of your parents you should "do what they say." But you should give them honor and respect for your whole life.
It is possible to obey without honoring - have you ever seen a child with clenched teeth and fists say "All right - I’ll do it."
Commentators have various views about verses 2 and 3. The fifth commandment is not the first, nor is the first with a promise - but the insertion of a comma after "first commandment" gives us some clarity. Paul in essence is agreeing with the Rabbis who indicated this commandment was the most important - and certainly it is the most important for children. The promise really suggests two things: one, that our ultimate well being comes from God - and that a loving nurturing family will only benefit both emotionally and even physically.
So how should we apply this today?
1. What is your source for a code of behavior?
Is it television sitcoms? Your friends? What you read in Teen 17 or Cosmo Girl? The movies?
Could you dare to let the Bible be your guide? If so, what does it say about children?
2. Children are special to the Lord
Luke 18:15-17 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
3. Listen to parents no matter what - but don’t imitate bad ones
Ezekiel 20:18 I said to their children in the desert, "Do not follow the statutes of your fathers or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols.
4. By obeying your parents you please God
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
5. You don’t have to be perfect - just open and respectful
Believe it or not, your parents do make mistakes - but, hey, so do you! You’ll find the more you invite your parents into your life the more understanding of you they will be.
(this is really a preview of the next section)