Let’s be honest, parenting is hard, very hard. I hear all the time that kids don’t come with an instruction manual so we as parents have to figure things out on our own. We often times turn to our own parents, friends, counselors, blogs, etc… for help. This is all great because we need support from others, but, we do have a parenting manual, it’s the Bible.
Obedience is a big struggle in my home. I often struggle with my kids being disrespectful and disobedient. There have been many conversations with friends on what they do to teach this but it wasn’t until I turned to the bible that I really found my answer in the Fifth Commandment.
I have known this commandment since I was kid but understanding the layers of it is what has helped me as a parent.
This is what the Commandment 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
The first four Commandments teach us how to love and respect God and the fifth through the tenth teaches us how to love and respect man. The fifth Commandment is a building block to the ones after. It starts with a deep respect for our parents and learning what that means.
As a parent, you have a God given responsibility to exercise authority and to be a leader over your children and your children are called (commanded) to submit and obey to their mother and father.
“Each of you is to fear (respect) his mother and father. Observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:3
In the verse above it says for children to fear their parents. So what does that mean? Parents are God’s representatives here on earth. God is supposed to be “feared” and “honored” so since we are to carry out God’s wishes we are to be “feared” and “honored” by our children.
How Does Obedience Look
Is your child being obedient if they do what you ask of them? Yes. But, what if they are grumbling, huffing and puffing, stomping, rolling the eyes, etc… while being obedient? Their action of obeying is correct but their attitude is not showing honor and respect. When this happens it’s a heart issue and that needs to be addressed. This takes lots of practice and do overs. It’s easier to obey than to respect.
My kids are having a lot of do overs and it wears me down but by doing this I’m being obedient to the Lord.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Along with the fifth Commandment I also use Ephesians 6:1-3,
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
The fifth Commandment is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Our children will enjoy God’s blessings, have his hand upon them, and life will go well if they follow his word. The promise for those who obey the commandments of God are peace, serenity, and a long life.
The big picture of this statement is if you disobey and don’t learn respect, life will not go well for you because you don’t respect authority or laws and you may end up in prison or have an early death. Remember, the fifth commandment is a building block to the rest of the commandments which state thou shalt not:
- commit adultery
- bear false witness against your neighbor
- covet your neighbors house
These are all commands that deal with man in society.
To bring this down to a level my kids can understand and what is relevant to them at their current age I tell them they will not have a happy and fun life (childhood) because they will always:
- be grounded
- have toys taken away
- lose privileges
- be crying
God has entrusted me with my children, to raise them according to His word and will. He has faith in me so I should have faith in myself. He has also given me the instructions on how to do this.
Honor and respect of parents is lifelong. As a adults, these commands still apply to us for our aging parents. We are a model for our children. If you still have living parents be a good example for your kids and show reverence for your mother and father.
Somedays, well to be honest most days, I feel defeated and feel that it’s a lost cause. I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle, even though it feels like it sometimes. I just have to figure out how to handle it, if I’m going to go it alone and do what I think is right or do it God’s way and have him help and lead me in this parenting adventure.
Do you have the same struggle? What do you do to teach your kids obedience?