Christian Attitude of Children to Their Parents

Christian Attitude of Children to Their Parents

Richard Burson

Scripture readings: “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1, 2, 3). “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Prov. 23:22). “Children obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Col. 3:20).

One of the most alarming developments in modern living is the obvious disintegration of the Christian family. It is out of alarm that I speak about this and yet I want to assure you I am not quick to push the panic button. Unless by the grace of God we can stop the alarming erosion that is taking place in Christian families, entire testimonies will be completely undermined within a short time. I direct these words to you Christian young people with loving anxiety for your betterment and the continuance of a vital Christian testimony.

I think there are three areas in which we can honour our parents: First, we should count our parents better than we are. If parents are poor and we are rich we still owe them honour. If parents are ignorant and we are educated we owe them honour. If parents are old and infirm and we are young and healthy we owe them honour. The Bible teaches, “A wise son maketh a glad father but a foolish son despiseth his mother.” “The eye that mocketh at his father and that despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” No Christian young person ever grows too old to honour his father and his mother. As you step into adulthood you will be freed from the obedience you were under to your parents as a young person, but in adult life you will never be freed from the honour you owe them simply because they are your parents.

Second, honour your parents by willingly helping them. Under God your parents are responsible for your being here and in large measure for whatever health, sanity, and intelligence you may have. This is a debt you should not forget and that should cause love and honour to spring up in your heart for them. When you were a helpless babe in arms your parents cared for you. It was impossible for you to care for yourself and in the early years of your life they guarded you every moment. After you were a little older they made genuine attempts to give you a better life and better opportunities than they had. By and large, all parents sacrifice for their children. Until you have children of your own you will little realize the care your parents are under for your general welfare, well-being, and success in life.

Third, show honestly and openly that you love your parents. The older your parents get the more they need to be shown the love of their children. You may feel that as a young adult your parents feel no need of your love but this is not true. The parents whose children are adults very much need the love of their children. God has shown His judgment against disobedient children in the Scriptures in such cases as Hophni and Phinehas and in the case of Absalom. Isaac and Rebecca were deeply grieved by the behaviour of Esau, and the Scripture indicates that this sorrow for their son followed them to their graves. David cried out, “Oh Absalom, Absalom, would to God that I had died for thee. Oh Absalom my son, my son.” He wept bitterly and refused food.

I have spoken these things to you who are Christians and who have Christian parents. Now just a word to those of you whose parents are unbelievers. You too must honour your parents although you cannot follow their example, you must honour them and you must love them. You must pray for them. You must be especially obedient to them and in a particular way let them know that you love them deeply and if they do not respond to your love you must continue to love for Christ’s sake. You must learn to speak wisely and meekly and avoid preaching to them or nagging at them. They are your parents and they must not be belittled.

May God bless you as you read over these thoughts and consider your position as a Christian young person in a society that is in total rebellion against God.