Tidings for Tuesday

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

On October 22, 2013, police in Santa Rosa, California, noticed a teenager carrying what appeared to be an AK-47 assault gun in the city’s Moorland Avenue neighbourhood. Although it was an airsoft gun (a non-lethal replica), the device did not have an orange tip, which is a legal requirement for all toy guns. Carrying it was 13-year-old Andy Lopez, a grade 8 student who attended Lewis Opportunity School in Santa Rosa, who also had a replica pistol in his pocket. There are conflicting reasons given as to why Lopez was carrying the replica firearms, with some stating that he was returning them to a friend and others saying that he was supposedly going to use them to try and scare a friend as a joke. Two police deputies approached, one of them remaining in the police vehicle while the other called out to the teenager to drop the weapon. Instead, young Lopez turned and aimed his gun at the officer. At that moment, the officer in the police car opened fire, and the teenager was dead. Apparently, Andy Lopez had never been taught to obey his parents. So when it was critical that he obey the police, he didn’t think it was necessary. We do our children no favours by not expecting them to obey their parents.

Children who never learn to obey their parents have a difficult time adjusting to a world where obedience is a necessary part of society’s structure. Disobedient students get poor grades in school and find few opportunities for employment. Disobedient employees are usually demoted or fired. Disobedient citizens land in jail. Disobedient friends find themselves alone. There are times when every one of us need to do as we are told, and the place to learn how is in the home. Sadly, far too many homes are broken and disfunctional these days, and far too many children do not get their training they need. This should never be the case in the Christian home, where the Word of God is read and the order of God is observed. Children will thrive in such an environment, and will be prepared for a life of both service and leadership. But while our text is an important one for parents to note, it is not specifically directed at the parents, but at the children.

Paul does not say, ‘Parents, make your children obey’. No, he directly addresses the children. The Greek term used in the original refers to children who are under their parent’s care, both pre-adolescents and teenagers. This verse is specifically for them, telling them that obeying their Christian parents is the right thing to do. The term ‘in the Lord’ refers to parents who are living for the Lord and who desire their children to do likewise. Such parents will use wise judgment and scriptural principles in leading and directing their children. And the children will be truly blessed to obey them.

Rather than suppressing children, our text offers them an opportunity to rise to the best that their parents – and the Lord – would have for them.  -Jim MacIntosh

Leave a Reply