Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
My children are now 19 and 22. We don’t have a whole lot of say about what they do but they still often come to us for advice. When they were growing up and chose not to obey us, there were consequences for their disobedience. For the most part, they followed what we told them to do. However, there were times when they thought we were so mean because we would not let them do something. My daughter was so mad at me, when she was about five years old, that she put her hands on her hips and informed me that I could not play with her baby doll. Though the threat she made was scary, I held firm and followed through, not budging on what I had instructed.
My son told me to “shut up” when he was about three years old, and then threw a fit in his room when I moved him there for choosing to disobey me. Again I held firm, and he spent time in his room calming down. When he came out, he put his little arms around my neck and told me he was sorry. I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him too.
I need to be honest. During this time, my husband and I were not always walking with God. When my son was in kindergarten, I began to feel that I needed God with me if I was going to do a decent job as a parent. After a very hard day with my son, I told him we would not go to the lake for my birthday. I had to follow through no matter how much it hurt me to stay home and not celebrate with my family. As the weekend slipped away and my family had cake without me, my heart felt the nudge of God. I knew I needed to go to church. During the church service the pastor said, “If you need to pray, the altar is open, so come forward and present your prayers to the Lord.” In a moment I was there on my knees with water works flowing from my eyes.
As I asked God to show me how to be a better parent, I heard the sweet sound of my little boy’s voice. When I opened my eyes, there kneeling next to me was my son. His little hands were folded and he was asking God to show him how to be a better boy to his mom and help him mind. It was one of the most special moments of my life. There we knelt side by side, asking God to help us. I needed my son to mind me and he knew he needed to listen to both his parents. It was God that would help us do that.
Maybe I am going out on a limb here, but I would like to believe that all parents expect their children to obey them. I have never heard anyone say, “I am okay with my kids not doing what I tell them to do.” Today I want to step back a little and look at Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents” from the perspective of a child. If we, as parents, expect our children to obey us then what kind of message are we sending them when we choose to obey or not obey the commands of our Heavenly Father?
If it is pleasing to a parent when their child obeys them then how much more pleasing is it to God when we choose to obey Him? God gives us instructions, guidelines, rules, or whatever words you would like to call His commands, because He loves us. God is not a mean and domineering father. Just like we put rules in place to protect our children, God does the same for us. Our children learn by watching us. Are you setting a good example for your child in how you obey your Heavenly Father? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Do you pick and choose the commands you want to follow and ignore the ones you don’t like? “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) As a parent, would you be happy if your children picked only some of what you instructed them to do and then ignored the rest?
If you asked your children, “Do you see me as obedient to my Heavenly Father, God?” Would they answer “Yes” or tell you that you need to go to your room for a time-out and get it straight with Him?
That day when I knelt beside my son I began to see that not only do my children need to obey their father but I, too, need to obey my Heavenly Father. As parents, we need to lead by example.