Col 3:20-21 says, “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” This week we will continue our series on Christian relationships by looking at the Biblical responsibilities of parents towards children, and of children towards parents. As stated before, a true, positive change in our nation and society does not start in Washington, but in the lives of disciples of Jesus Christ who know their God-given roles, and then puts them into practice – resulting in strong families, then strong churches, then strong communities, and ultimately a strong nation.
It is revealed in Col 3:21 and Eph 6:4, that it is the father’s duty and responsibility to train and discipline his children. I encourage all fathers to have a family altar, which is simply a time set aside every day to pray for and with his wife and children, and to read and study the Bible together. It is a sad fact that so many parents are concerned more with their child’s secular education, than they are with his spiritual education. This must be a priority. It is our responsibility to train up our children in the things of God, so that when they get older, they will not depart from it (Prv 22:6).
Where a father is absent either physically or spiritually, it is the mother’s duty to fulfill this role (2Tim 1:5, 3:15). However, in God’s perfect order, the father should be heading this up. To not do so is a dereliction of Christian duty. I believe our prison system is bursting at the seams because fathers are often AWOL. May it be said of us Christian men what God said of Abraham – that He (God) knew Abraham would teach his family the ways of The Lord (Gen 18:17-19). May we say a Joshua did, “As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Jos 24:15).
A father provokes his child to wrath, when he does not care enough for him to teach him what is right, good, and godly. He who does not correct and teach his child, hates his child (Prv 13:24). If you love your child, you discipline him. Start young, while there is still hope (Prv 19:18). Drive out foolishness with the rod, and deliver your child’s soul from hell (Prv 22:15, 23:13-14). When a child is not taught and disciplined, he will bring his parents shame; but if he be corrected, he will bring the parent rest and delight to their souls (Prv 29:15, 17).
A father is to be constantly teaching his children the words and ways of God (Dt 11:18-21, 4:9, 6:6-7). We have them but for a short time, and we need to look for every opportunity to instill Biblical truths and principles into our kids. A multi-generational spiritual vision should be the priority of the Christian parent. It will reap temporal and eternal rewards.
As for children, their priority is to honor their mother and father, and to obey them in all things (Eph 6:1-3). This is the first command with a promise of long life and it being well (Ex 20:12). In the Old Testament, God pronounced a curse and judgment upon the child who would disrespect and dishonor their parent (Dt 21:18-21, 27:16, Ex 21:17, Lev 20:9). Children are to highly value their parents, and show them the utmost respect as far as God is concerned. In fact, the Bible relates physical, and even spiritual death to those who would curse father and mother (Prv 20:20). Honoring and obeying your parents is obviously very serious and important to God.
The Bible speaks of a generation of youth that curses father and mother, and does not bless them. They are proud and pure in their own eyes, but are actually filthy in God’s eyes (Prv 30:11-13). No good thing awaits the child that mocks and despises mother and father (Prv 30:17). It is shameful the way many children speak to their parents. However, it must be taught and discipline must be given in order for the child to understand the importance of respecting and honoring their parents.
When both parent and child obey God and walk in their Biblical roles, it results in peace and blessing to the home. God’s ways are always the best way. It’s not too late to start doing the right thing. If your kids are grown, then sow into your grandkids lives. Be an example to the young people in your life. Show them God’s ways. Teach them Biblical truths. Explain godliness, righteousness, honor, integrity, honesty, and respect to your kids and grandkids. It is the best investment you will ever make. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!