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Why Do Children Have to Obey Their Parents?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Roles of Family Members, Part 3

by David Wright on January 5, 2011

David Wright, AiG–U.S., explains why it is so important for children to obey their parents.

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

Today’s big question: why do children have to obey their parents?

When I was a kid, I didn’t much enjoy obeying my parents, and when I became a teenager, that attitude became even more evident. Obeying your parents can seem like a drain on your fun or can even be interpreted as them being cruel. While no parent is perfect, many strive to be loving and consistent. Therefore, obedience is for the child’s own good. The parent can see beyond the immediate “inconvenience” of finishing chores, saving money, or completing homework to the ultimate good those responsibilities bring.

The boundaries and responsibilities parents set up for their children are not meant to be burdensome but to train. To succeed in life, children must learn boundaries, distinguish between right and wrong, and  take on responsibilities. The rules and chores are not a cruel hindrance, but they are the building materials that make for a sound and complete structure in life.

Obeying your parents is much more than just doing what you’re told. It is a reflection of our obedience to the Lord Himself and should model Christ’s wholehearted obedience to the Father.

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.” (Ephesians 6:1–3)

Paul quoted from the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:12. It is good for children to obey their parents since it is what God commands, and His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). Obeying our parents is one way we show our parents and God we love them. Whether it’s getting our chores done or turning off the TV when we’re told, obeying our parents is an important command given by God.

Also, as Paul points out, it is the first command that comes with a promise: “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” The children of Israel were promised they would live long in the land if they obeyed their parents (as long as obedience did not contradict God’s Law). Sadly, we read how the Israelites were taken into captivity over and over again (of course, disobedience to parents was not the only reason they went into captivity).

Children who are obedient to their parents tend to have happier relationships with their parents because of decreased strain on the relationship. That is a much better option than having to constantly deal with nagging, grounding, or arguing. So learn to obey out of your love and reverence for God.

Today’s big idea: children must learn to obey their parents out of love for God and their parents.

What to pray: ask God for strength to obey your parents out of a love for God.


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