by Pastor Terry Gurno
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
Why Should We Obey Our Parents?
Why should we obey our parents? Because God promises you a long life. Notice at the end of this Commandment it says, “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12).
So not only live long, but notice it says, “In the land your God is giving you.” He is not talking about individuals, He is talking about society and when the family unit breaks down, the society breaks down.
Nobody knows that better than the United States of America because it is the greatest battle, and it is the greatest challenge that we face. The preservation of the family unit is the preservation of generations to follow. The family is the backbone of society. “That you may live long in the land as a society, as a unit,” that’s what God is really talking about.
We should obey our parents so that it may go well with you. Nobody cares more for our personal well being outside of our parents than God. God knows this is a blessing that is given to us. Healthy families produce healthy people.
Obeying your parents is the right thing to do. If we really want to learn things about living together in a family and a society, if we want to learn conflict resolution, financial management, love, acceptance, communication, it is the right thing to do.
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20). Do you want to know how to please God? Find out what pleases the Lord. Find out with an intimate ongoing relationship with God. Obeying your parents pleases the Lord. Honoring your parents pleases the Lord.
How do we learn to honor our parents? How is that lived in our life today?
As children, we are to obey our parents. Obedience to God is learned by obedience to parents, and we can’t accept anything less. We are not to raise a family of negotiators. We need to settle the issue when they are young, because that’s when the issue can be settled. The question that goes through their mind is “Who’s in charge here?” and if we’re not careful, we’ll let them answer and say “I am” and that’s the way they will act.
Obedience isn’t easy. In my own family, our kids are so different. If we had their Christmas gifts in our room, we could tell our oldest, “Don’t go in that room, your Christmas gifts are in there unwrapped and under the bed,” and guess what? She wouldn’t.
Now my son would wait until we were gone, go out to the porch to see that we were out of sight, run up there and not only look at them, he would probably play with them. And my youngest daughter would do the same thing.
Those are our kids, and they are your kids, they have those types of personalities. We are not talking about easy work, we are not talking about teaching obedience, its consistency, its being consistent with what we say,
but as children we obey our parents, that’s how we honor.
If you are a teenager, you honor your parents by showing them respect. We are not talking about having to like everything your parents say, or even agreeing with it. What we are talking about here is respecting their wishes.
We are talking about acting and talking in a way that shows respect. This means that you do not have the room to show disrespect with your body language or with your words, but if there is something you want to talk about, parents should be willing to talk about it.
As adults how do we honor our parents? We treasure our parents. We treat them with dignity.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “When you have children, you understand what you owe your parents.” Isn’t that true?
In 1990, Newsweek magazine came out with an article called “The Daughter Track” and it said, “An American woman will spend more time caring for her aging parent than she will raising her own children.” This is a cycle.
My wife Nancy and I realize our parents are getting older. We’ve talked about this and we will be the ones who will take care of our parents. We’re now very serious about selling our home, buying a piece of property, and building a home that would accommodate them. We are going to this, it’s just a matter of time.
Because you know what? It would be an honor for me to take care of my mom or for Nancy to take care of her parents, and we embrace that. Someday I hope my kids will feel the same way about me.