Matthew 15:4 – Honor Your Father & Mother

For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’

Matthew 15:4

Misinterpretation

In today’s society, there are two new styles of parenting. One is helicopter parenting – where parents hover over their children and penetrate into their personal space, and the other is bulldozer parenting – where children are never allowed to face the challenges of this world.

Both are equally bad for both the child and the parents themselves. Some think that the verses that talk about children obeying their parents, encourage them to hover around their child and enter into their personal space. Some parents think that finding faults in their kids and holding that over them may keep their children under their subjection. Some others think that stringent punishments are the only way to lead their children in righteous ways, citing the below verse.

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Proverbs 23:13-14

On similar lines, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 guides the parents to handover their disobedient children unto the men of the city for stoning the disobedient children to death.

Ground Reality

Training our children to read the Bible and pray in the morning as soon as they get up from sleep and pray before going to sleep every day, may initially yield good results but in due course of time, it will become a monotonous drill for their children.

By imposing this kind of discipline, parents prevent their children from developing a personal relationship with God. These kind of stringent laws, hamper the spiritual growth of the child, leading them to abandon these rituals the moment they leave their parents house.

However, it may bring some adverse effects on children who live with their parents too if they watch their parents disobey God’s word. Watching their parents’ double standards, they may leave the habit of reading Bible and praying altogether. By imposing punishment or by nagging them, parents provoke anger in children and make them timid but stubborn in their stance against God.

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Colossians 3:21

While dealing with their children, parents never apply the law of ‘judge not, else you will also be judged’ to themselves. Without correcting their mistakes, parents try to correct their children’s mistake but children have a distinct sense to observe every move of their parents. Because of this, the probability of these children going far away from God will be at a higher level.

Without realizing their faults, parents who deter their children from serving God think that their children’s disobedience makes them ineligible to serve God. Parents blame their children for not complying with the below verse and threaten them of losing the blessings as a consequence.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 5:16

This commandment has not only been manipulated by parents but also by the pharisees in misleading young people. On one occasion, Jesus fixed the responsibility on the pharisees and the teachers of the law for not letting the children keep this law (Mark 7:9-13).

Interpretation

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Ephesians 6:1-3

The teachings of obedience in the Bible is efficiently imposed on their children by the parent community, while they forget that once they were children to their own parents.

In 1 Samuel 15:22, Samuel said that ‘To obey is better than sacrifice’ and Paul pictured the obedience of Jesus Christ to death on the cross. In both the instances, obedience to God is emphasized, whereas, Paul in his letter to Ephesians dealt with children’s obedience to their parents on the basis of the law of honoring their parents.

At this juncture, whether God fearing children should obey their ungodly parents or disobey them is a question asked by many people, especially the new believers, while their parents are still idol worshipers. When the answer for this question is “yes, children should obey their parents in all circumstances” by hypocrite parents, the mentors, who are leading these children towards the word of God are vulnerable and are to be blamed for creating divisions between the children and the parents. Mentors are often asked to answer the question, “Where is the Bible teaching children to disobey their parents?”

If the question is not answered in the right spirit, with the supporting word of God, ungodly parents will gain the right to nurture their children in whatever way they desire. Above all, mentors will become guilty of creating division in a family.

Jesus Himself explains this kind of division in the families in Luke 12:49-53, and that relying on our compromised temporary relations can only give satisfaction but not peace. If we rely solely on God, God would even connect our enemies with us and we will have enormous peace (Proverbs 16:7). This kind of peace is the outcome of the timely division of our ever compromised human relations and replaced by union with God.

The revelation at present, appears that the Godly children are disobeying their parents in order to obey God, in the long run these children’s spirit filled life will bring honor to their parents. The people who see the life of these children will praise their parents for raising up such Godly children. The honor goes to their parents and above all , it belongs to their Father in heaven.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Application

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

We should accept the truth that though the children are ours, they belong to the heavenly Father. This understanding will have parents look at their children in a broader perspective and help them come out of the clutches of possessiveness.

Children admire their parents and learn everything from them. Then why should we lose this day’s opportunity to commit our lives truly to God, so that our children may inherit and transmit to the next generation.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

If we do so, we will no longer be identified as paranoid parents but will become partakers in His kingdom, praying for our children to grow in the love of God day by day. Let’s do this for the well being of our children and for the Glory of God.

Young people need to understand how to honor their parents in areas where your jurisdiction of obeying God is not disturbed.

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