Children Obey Your Parents
Of the Ten Commandments which have taken the most beatings in the past several decades, I would say number five tops the list: Honor your father and your mother, which Paul rewrites here in a much simpler form: Children obey your parents. I say this because this is the one which has been most under attack either by shaming certain forms of punishment (especially corporal) or through the contemporary cult of self-esteem in which it is urged that children be ever coddled and affirmed in their behaviors but rarely if ever disciplined. Respect is owed to children just as much as elders to the point that I have seen adults groveling before children. And now a child is allowed even to choose his or her own gender. Children must be much wiser than they used to be.
But they’re not wiser. Indeed, Proverbs teaches us that children are natively foolish and so need guidance and correction from their elders. And to refuse to guide and correct one’s son or daughter is to truly abuse one’s child. And because children are naturally ignorant and foolish, the Scripture commands that they respect, honor, and obey their parents. So serious a matter for the Lord is this that Exodus 21:17 tells us: “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.” In contrast, children are to inherit a wonderful promise through such obedience: “That it may go well with [them] and that [they] may live long in the land.”
But the passage also puts the other foot down: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Here we see that ultimate responsibility for the rearing of godly children is with the father; he is the one who is to see to the godly instruction of his children and cannot pawn that off to his local church, school, or even his wife. And such instruction is taught verbally and lived before the child as is referenced in Deuteronomy 6:7 concerning the Lord’s commandments: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” A child cannot be blamed for ignorance of the Lord’s ways, but his father can and will be. The father who models gospel living, being slow to anger with his children but quick to discipline (understanding that “discipline” is as much the way a household is run as anything else), gentle and patient, correcting with love and understanding—such a father will be blessed in his children as will his wife. Let your child see that you submit to the Lord, then shall he do the same.