We are about to enter one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Ephesians 6 has so much to tell us about Christ and the life He desires that we live in and through His powerful indwelling Holy Spirit. Remember Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”? This is the driving verse for the discussion about relationships between a husband and wife and it continues in Ephesians 6 with children and parents, then employee and employer.
Ephesians 6:1-4 deals with parent-child relationships. “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
The admonition from God to obey and honor our parents was given in the 10 Commandments. Exodus 20:12 ““Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Living a life with peace begins in the home. Rebellion, strife, anger, harsh words and discord can flourish in children both young and old (meaning even you at your age) if not curbed with honor, respect and love. We are selfish creatures and as such want our own way. This command to honor and obey our parents has a promised return- a long and full life in the Lord. Honor and obedience lead to peace and harmony that will lengthen the quality our lives just as disharmony, discord and dissent will shorten it. Paul does not end with the children but goes on to admonish all parents. He says we are not to provoke, needle, irritate our children intentionally or be unnecessarily angry with them for anger sake. We are to practice a parenthood that reflects Christ and remember His submission to the Father on our behalf. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we (both parent and child) are able to submit to one another with love and respect.
These are sobering words that call all of us to think about our parent-child relationships. Are they honoring in God’s eyes? In these last days of Lent, spend some time mediating on Paul’s words and seek God’s guidance in your relationships.