Christians, we have a problem. We believe the bible is true. We believe it is the Word Of God, and is to be followed, understood and lived. Scriptures are not just suggestions, but laws to help us understand God’s plan for our life. Verses like:
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God has given you.” –Exodus 20:12
“You shall not steal.” –Exodus 20:15
So what do you do when your parents ask you to steal? How do you honor parents that are not honorable? What is the right thing to do when your parents are breaking the laws of the land, or the laws of scripture?
But wait, the problem gets even worse, for scripture tells us:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” –Romans 13:1-2
So, not only are we to obey those in authority over us, if we don’t, we are disobeying God. Why would God give someone parents who are mean, selfish, brutal, oppressive, vile or hurtful? Any why would he command us to obey and even honor them? Yes, we have a problem.
You are on loan to your parents from God. We are not of this world, we are simply visiting. We were created for something greater than this life has to offer, and the painful, frustrating time on this earth is but a blip compared to the eternity to come. God places your parents over you for a temporary period of time. You will not be subject to their rules forever.
The commandment to honor your father and mother is given in the understanding that the outcome is to give you long life. So if your parents are doing things to you, making you do things, or exposing you to things that will not give you long life, there is no reason to honor them.
If you are being oppressed, mistreated, abused or neglected by your parents, you need to understand that is NOT God’s plan for your life. Your parents are making bad decisions and they are affecting you. You are not a bad person, and God is not punishing you through bad parents.
He did place your parents in authority over you, but he also placed people in authority over them. As a US citizen, we all are subject to the government. Our government gives each citizen civil, and human rights. If your parents are not obeying those in authority over them, do not honor them. Our county also answers to a group of countries known as the United Nation. The UN has even gone further and made a list of rules and laws that protect the spiritual rights of children all over the world (http://www.unicef.org/).
If your parents are not asking you to do evil, or harming you, then you need to obey them; even when they are wrong or unfair. When you choose to disobey your parents, you are choosing to disobey God.
I was 16 years old. It was Thursday and I wanted to spend Friday night at my friends’ house. I checked with my dad and mom and they said it was OK as long as I got all my chores and homework done before I went over there. I skipped lunch on Friday to finish a school project. Raced home after school to finish my chores and a final bit of math homework. After all was completed and I packed for my overnighter, I went to get a ride from my mom. you can imagine my surprise when she told me I couldn’t go. WHA!?!?! WHY!!?? I screamed. “I don’t have a reason, I just don’t want you to go over there tonight. I started the barrage of questions, “did i do something? are you mad at me? did something happen? did I not do what you asked of me? did i misunderstand you?” there was no reason given. I was standing face to face with the “I’m the parent and i said so” wall. I was furious. I’m going to look like an idiot to all my friends that I told that I was going to an overnighter. I feel used because of the time i took off from lunch to do homework under the understanding that it would help me get to the overnighter. I was angry and wanted to hurt her as much as i was hurt. I began to think of ways to sneak out. I began to dream about getting the car keys and just driving to my friends house. I was bitter and had no outlet for my negative attitude. so I took out a knife and carved into the side of my bed “I HATE MOM”
I look back on this and realize I was wrong. My hatred for my mother was greater than my love for God.
I was not looking at the situation in the correct way. It wasn’t that my parents hated the thought of me having fun, It wasn’t that they enjoyed torturing me, It was that they wanted me to stay home. And because i couldn’t get what I wanted, I attacked the obstacle in my way: my mom. I cared more about what I wanted to do, than what God wants me to become, and I blamed what my mom wanted me to do. My view of the situation was so self-focused; I was thrown into a rage because of my perceived lack of options.
Remember this: when you feel that your parents are not giving you an option, there is always another way, God’s way. And God’s way is to honor your parents even when you feel they don’t deserve it.
Do not obey your parents because they are your parents; obey them because you belong to God! Your parents will screw up. They are going to make mistakes. They are humans who need God’s help just like you. So respect your parents in this life, because in the life after this, we don’t have to answer to our parents, we have to answer to God.
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” -Romans 14:12
Your children are on loan to you from God. Do not treat them as slaves, or possessions, but items of great importance given to you to be taken care of by the King. Consider the parable of the bags of gold that Jesus told. (it’s recorded in Matthew 25) The King entrusts three servants with precious gold and on his return he wants to see that the servants not only took care of the gold, but prospered it into something greater than they received. In the same way, God wants to see your children become something great.
The best way to teach your children is not always by making rules and consequences, but setting a good example. Children see you, and what you do as undiscussed boundaries. You are constantly teaching your students with your actions. Rules are good. Consequences for breaking the rules are incredibly helpful, but what will last forever in your child memory is how you lived.
And remember that you are their parent first, and friend second. You must make the hard decisions, the tough love calls and the unpopular choices sometimes. Admit when you are wrong. Strive to be consistent with your parenting, and not just always right. You will be accountable to God for HOW you parent your child, how they turn out is between Him and them.