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Sunday: Advice to Children — 10 Comments

  1. We usually take Ephesians 6:1-3 as a message to young children, and that is fair enough. But I want to look at applying the message to those of us who are older.

    One of the issues that we currently have to deal with is "elder abuse". This can take several forms such as striping elderly parents of their assets to parking them in an institution and just ignoring them.

    I mention this because like so many of my friends about my age, in our 70s, we still have aging parents. It is not about "obeying" them but in the wider sense is about recognising the importance of maintaining that family bond right through to the end. Up until this time last year we had both Carmel's parent still alive. While they lived 1000km away from us and chose to be independent we made sure they were included in the family circle. It became incredibly hard because we had to start making decisions for them. And sometimes those decisions were not well received. I could write a book about the issues we faced but let us just say that it was not easy. Ultimately, Carmel's father passed away and we moved her mother into care near us. While she can no longer look after herself she enjoys seeing family members every day,

    The instruction, "Children, obey your parents ..." could just as meaningfully be written as, "Children, care for and respect your parents in their old age when they can no longer look after themselves ..."

  2. The attitude of obedience is of paramount importance,it is not to be in action only,but as well as in attitude.The obedience is not a blind one,but it is obedience in the Lord.Odedience is right when the command from the parents is lawful.They are to conform to a command or authority of their parents.When children obey their parents,it means they are also obeying their true father,who is God.God wants children to obey their parents,some parents are hard to love,accept or admire,they still have to honour their parents.Children are to take their parents as significant to them and give them proper value.

    Obedience brings blessings.

  3. These verses emphasize the importance of family relationships by highlighting the significance of honoring and respecting one's parents:

    Ephesians 6:1-3 (NKJV):
    "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.'"

    Matthew 18:1-5 (NKJV):
    "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.'"

    Matthew 18:10 (NKJV):
    "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."

    Mark 10:13-16 (NKJV):
    "Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.' And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them."

    These verses reinforce the importance of family relationships in several ways:

    1. Obedience and honor: Ephesians 6:1-3 emphasizes the duty of children to obey and honor their parents. This highlights the significance of respecting and valuing the authority and wisdom of parents within the family structure.

    2. Childlike humility: In Matthew 18:1-5 and Mark 10:13-16, Jesus teaches that one must have childlike humility to enter the kingdom of heaven. This emphasizes the importance of nurturing and cherishing the innocence and vulnerability of children within the family unit.

    3. Divine protection: Matthew 18:10 suggests that children have a special place in the eyes of God, with their angels always being in the presence of God. This highlights the divine protection and care bestowed upon children, emphasizing their value and importance within the family.

    Overall, these verses reinforce the importance of family relationships by emphasizing the need for obedience, honor, humility, and recognizing the significance of children within the family unit.

  4. Family is our first social circle. Family marks us; it can reflect our origin but doesn't define us completely. Being a blessing in this circle is a 90% assurance of social adjustment. However, sometimes, the emotional traumas caused in the family relationships can take a whole life of solid efforts to heal the wounds. Thank God because, by His Love and care for us, even these family scars can be used by His honor and glory to preach the Good News to others! Let us rejoice in Him! There is a way out!

  5. The family is a smaller unit of God’s church where believers can be nurtured and taught the truths and precepts of God. “That it may be well with thee….” promises to head off the emotional fallout that results from disobedience and disrespect by children at whatever age.
    Often, when children (especially teens) see what other kids are doing in the secular world, they want the same. But all that glitters is not gold, and they don’t see the full picture of what happens when you decide to go against the ways of the Lord. Internally or externally, it won’t “be well with thee”.

  6. Eph 6:1-3 ~ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

    In these verses, Paul was addressing the children in the context of the time he was living at that time. Paul was talking to the entire church family, not only the adults, but also including the children. However, this was considered strange because it was not very usual for anyone to address the children. Children were kind of disregarded at that time. Children were placed in the same social category as women and the disabled. It was a rather unfortunate state of affairs but that was the world they lived in.

    There are several texts that say that speaking to a child was akin to speaking to a wall or speaking to a door. You see how offensive that is to children but that was the reality. This idea actually came from manuscripts that originated from the Essenes, which were a sect or denomination from Judaism. Speaking to children is the same as losing your time. It was considered as one of the things that was destructive to humans. That was how far gone they were when it came to the children.

    This is the reason why in Matthew 18 and Mark 10 where mothers were bringing children to speak to Jesus but the disciples acted so adversely and became aggressive towards them. This common perception about children explained why they even rebuked them and sent them away. They saw children as a waste of time.

    However, Jesus demonstrates the absolute opposite of that. He is showing us that if we don’t teach the children from an early age, if He didn’t make time for them, if they didn’t feel like God had a place for them, who would they grow up to be? How would they grow up understanding God?

    So this is the essence that we see portrayed here in these verses. How so? What we truly see here is that these children have to be raised by parents who are honouring the Lord. Otherwise, they will never be able to honour their parents in the Lord. Do you see the difference? While it is an advice given to the children, even honouring the parents in the Lord is something that is passed on from parents to a child.

    The word that Paul uses here in this text for children is the greek term ta tekna, which refers to children from various ages. It doesn't determine one specific age, but these are children that are still under the influence and the guardianship of their parents, but that are old enough to be disciplined. What that means is that these children were going to church with their parents, they were worshipping, and here the apostle is including them into the worship. He is mentioning them in his book because they are to be included in what it means to worship God at church and at home.

    So, how does this practice translate to us in modern times?

    Children are not just the little ones who we can leave on their own, give them movies to watch, or a phone to play with at church so they won’t be bugging you. This whole education about honouring your parents in the Lord so that all may go well with you begins with the parents. Many parents have used these verses to rebuke their children and even used these verses to kind of hang them over their heads.
    However, if I understand it correctly, if it is children obeying their parents in the Lord, that is a big participation that is coming from the parents themselves. So to all parents, do not forget this important point.

    What this also does mean is that the children have to understand that their ultimate loyalty is to God and not to their parents primarily, not first. When the commands of parents “contradict the requirements of Christ, then, painful though it may be, they [children] must obey God and trust the consequences with Him.”—Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 293. When parents are requiring from their children things that go against what God has commanded in scripture, the children should side with God rather than with their parents.

    The requirements of the parents should always be reasonable; kindness should be expressed, not by foolish indulgence, but by wise direction. Parents are to teach their children pleasantly, without scolding or faultfinding, seeking to bind the hearts of the little ones to them by silken cords of love. The combined influence of authority and love will make it possible to hold firmly and kindly the reins of family government. An eye single to the glory of God and to what our children owe Him will keep us from looseness and from sanctioning evil.—The Faith I Live By, p. 266.

  7. Majority of us have misused Ephesians 6:1 by Reading or quoting it half way. ERV says and I quote "Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do." My children should obey me only in the way the Lord wants. That brings the load on my shoulders that I must bring them up in the way of the Lord. I hate the famous term "children of today are rotten." If my children are not obedient, especially in the way of the Lord, it's time I examined my way.

  8. It is painfully obvious that this advise to ‘obey’ your parents has been challenged by most societal institutions given a position to advance the welfare of our children. This includes our schools and court system. But what I find most important to recognize is that in the eyes of our heavenly Father we will always be 'children' in need to return home to our Father’s ‘house’ – living under His authority.

    In western societies, children are considered to be ‘adult’ when turning 18. They are expected to have received all the information and opportunity to build their moral and ethical foundation through parents as their foundation-building supervisor. I read an article that children in Scandinavian countries consider it normal to leave their parent’s home at around 18 years old.

    In Matt.18:3, Jesus is recorded to say: Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. To remain ‘teachable’, not to shun advise but appreciate the love extended through being guided by our heavenly Father through our parents is the most valuable aspect of ‘growing up’ physically and spiritually.

    Have you ever heard a parent say to a child or teenager that they could only engage in a certain behavior when they are ‘grown up’ – adult, equating being ‘adult’ with condoning depravity or being dishonest in one’s life? I consider this to be one of the saddest testimonies of the ‘lostness’ of the spiritual estate of the person considering themselves to be an ‘adult’ parent or guiding adult.

    Under the umbrella of our spiritual transformation, the fifth commandment to ‘honor your father and mother’ is applicable for children toward their parents as well as the adult parents toward their Lord and Savior. Ultimately, we all have a heavenly Father to answer to.

  9. How should we return honor to parents who are abusive? By fixing our focus on Christ and returning honor to him, even if the parents don't appreciate it - Jesus does.

    “For this is right”
    New parents often wonder before the child is born, how will their child respond to them? God has put something in the heart of every child to be responsive to their parents. This is part of God’s design order. Disunity brings unhappiness, anger and bitterness to the family state.

    “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
    When children are obedient, there is less stress in the home. This promotes wellness within the family. The family will be healthy and live longer.


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