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Summary: Christian children are instructed to honour their parents. This is one of the few direct commands to children in the congregation. I fear this command is neglected among the faithful today. The message is a study of what the Apostle wrote.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” [1]

The last days are described in frightful detail in Paul’s final letter to Timothy. He wrote, “Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” [2 TIMOTHY 3:1-7].

The description echoes his observation of a culture that is given over to its own desires. “God gave [self-willed culture] up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” [ROMANS 1:26-32].

Focus on only one dark characterisation listed in either of the dreadful lists just cited. First, we read that in the last days, “People will be … disobedient to their parents.” When those words were written, the Apostle was looking forward to what would come. That day he foresaw may well be present today. Then, Paul wrote of life in a culture that has been given over to its own self-will, “God gave them up to a debased mind … [and they are] disobedient to parents.” The statement reveals a major character flaw when a given society tolerates disobedience to parents. He saw the evil of such a society being played out before his watching eyes. What was described could well be applied to contemporary western culture.

Children are exalted in modern culture. We rationalise this exaltation by saying that children represent our future. Of course, that is true; however, if we fail to train children to act with discretion and respect, it will be a dark future, indeed! We say that children need time to be children; then, we sexualise them and rush them into situations certain to compromise their moral compass even as we excuse their lack of mental or emotional maturity. Consequently, we witness the strange phenomenon of babies producing babies and children with adult bodies demanding that they control their own lives before they are able to realise the consequences.

All this leads to a situation where teenagers and those barely out of the teen years, imagining themselves superior in every respect to their elders. Youth are often rude to their elders, ignoring them or attempting to shove their elders aside. Christians must take to heart the Word of God that teaches, “You shall stand up before the gray head and Honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD” [LEVITICUS 19:32]. If we neglect to teach our children respect for those with experience, we deprive them of knowledge of what pleases God. Children need to learn early that the strength of youth does not equate to wisdom.

We witness infantile behaviour excused on college and university campuses, and even on secondary school campuses, as youth demand that administrations acquiesce to their demands. Mere children imagine that they are capable of shaping the world into something better than it is. Modern youth should know that a degree in “womyn’s studies” will qualify them to drive a cab and a degree in “gender studies” will enable them to ask, “Would you like fries with that?” Students with such detailed training can anticipate continuing to live in their parent’s basement. There is nothing like reality to drive the foolish imagination of superiority from a child’s mind. Youth is a wonderful period of life; it is a shame that it is wasted on the young.

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