Why Do We Have to Obey Our Parents?
I taught English in Hungary last year and surprised myself immeasurably by missing my parents horribly-more than I did being away from them at college the previous four years, and more than I ever expected to. So when we agreed that home was the best place for me to prepare for graduate school, I thought living with them again would be something like heaven on earth (this may be exaggerating a bit). Now I know better, of course. We may have the Kingdom within, but we still get on each other's nerves-quite frequently some days. Could Be Worse
But I have to remember that God says, "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12, NIV). Easier said than done. And, believe it or not, in Leviticus 20:9, He even says, "If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death" (NIV). Yikes. Without Christ, hard as I try and good as I do some days, this would be my tragic end-many of our tragic ends, I imagine. Thankfully, God sent His Son to keep us from such an end. He has better things planned. Yet Jesus did not come to abolish that Law or any of the Old Testament. He came to fulfill it all (Matthew 5:17). So among many other important things, we have to be mindful about this business of honoring our parents.
God created all things including the blessed, often quirky and sometimes demented institution of the family. And He certainly proclaims it good. We may have messed it up a bit, each in our own way-and some more severely than others-but God gave us to each other in all His infinite wisdom. And He tells children to honor their parents.
Thankfully (again) nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27).Obeying God = Obeying Parents
Each relationship we have is hinged on another. The most important relationship any of us have-the first one every other depends on-is our relationship with God. But our relationship with our parents is directly related to our relationship with God, as all matters of obedience to Him are. Our obedience to God always reflects and always affects our relationship with Him. Jesus says if we love Him, we will obey Him (John 14:15 and 14:23). Most of us know how it feels when we are disobedient. He also says the two greatest commandments we have been given are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
I don't often think of my parents as my neighbors, but in this sense they are. Jesus says people will know we are Christians by our love for each other (John 13:35). And He also showed that love and obedience are two sides of the same coin in relation to His authority-"If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15, NIV). So it would follow that if we love our parents we will obey them, too-so long as they are obedient to Christ. And by honoring them, we show the love that others will see and in which they may come to recognize Christ.
As I write this, though, I am painfully aware that some parents do not honor their children by caring for them as they should. Some parents neglect and abuse what God has given. Maybe this is your situation. This is certainly not God's plan, and we must cling to the hope that our Father in heaven will restore these families and make all things right one day. All Things Are Possible
Until then, we have to be diligent about this business of obeying Him. By His grace and to His glory, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27). He has gone so far as to bless my parents and me with laughter and some really good talks. And He has been so good as to get us over each bump in the road along the way-even the rather large ones that have been especially jarring, like when my dad backed into my parked car and blamed me for parking there.
In telling us to honor our parents, as with every other commandment in the Bible, God asks us to do what He knows we can't do. For our good and, more importantly, for His name's sake, He is for us what we can never be for ourselves: perfect love, perfect holiness, perfect everything. So love your parents from the wellspring He provides and honor what He has so graciously given.
Keep your room clean. Don't talk back. Ask Mom and Dad to hang out every once in a while. And always keep them in your prayers.