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what does God have to say to children?

July 3, 2008

For the fourth part in this series on Biblical families, I want to look at what God’s Word has to say to children. The first scripture I want to touch on is the 5th commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16

I always chuckle at that commandment. Is God suggesting that if children are unruly and disrespectful, the parents will simply put an end to it all? I don’t know. Perhaps. I’ve been tempted to use that as a scare tactic on my kids, but somehow it just doesn’t seem right. All joking aside, does it seem that modern day families have thrown this commandment out with last century’s bathwater? Do we really honor our parents? Do we teach our children to honor us? I don’t think we do.

From before a child is even born we fill his little life with gifts and praise and adoration. The child quickly becomes the center of attention. The parents’ lives stop for 20 or more years while they put most of their energy and income toward providing for their children’s every whim. And what is the result? After a few years of rebelling and making bad choices, the children then point a finger at Mom and Dad: “THEY are to blame for my mistakes and my rotten life.”

I think we have become a generation of parents who honor our children. That isn’t the way God designed it, and it will never work. When we fill our children’s heads with the lie that they are the center of the universe, it does them no good whatsoever. They expect the same from the world they are thrown into, and then are shocked when things are much different on the outside.

One after another, verse after verse in the Bible relates back to the same issue. It is clearly a big deal to God. Here are a few:

Each of you must respect his mother and father… Leviticus 19:3

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20

Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death. Exodus 21:17

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 1:29-30

Let me just say that I am not advocating killing children here, okay. I have only quoted Exodus 21:17 to show how serious it was in that day to disrespect your parents. I also found the last one very interesting. When you read through that list of awful stuff, doesn’t it strike you as odd that something as minor as disobeying your parents would appear there? That is because it isn’t a minor issue. At least it shouldn’t be.

Many of you may be thinking that I am contradicting my previous post about mothers, where I suggested that ours was a role of self-sacrifice for the benefit of raising children. I am not now saying that parents should not sacrifice for their children. But the focus of our sacrifice should not be to provide the child with his heart’s limitless desire. The sacrifice is for the sake of raising an adult who can function in our world with character and a servant’s heart, and who will honor and respect our Father.

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