Ephesians 6:1. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
The Greek word for children here is little born ones. indicating children who are young and still under their parents’ protection and authority.
It is also important to remember that Paul is writing this letter to the churches, so his readers are believers–including the children who are old enough to understand salvation. He is not writing to children who have no knowledge of God, but to those who are “in the Lord.”
And why should little children obey their parents? Well, because it pleases God. Because it is the right thing to do. Because it prevents chaos in the home.
In Romans 1:29-30, disobedience to parents caps a long list of horrible behaviors that we can safely assume will follow disobedience to parents. “Filled with all unrighteousness; fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.”
The other day I watched a totally frustrated mom trying to control her young son, who was maybe six or seven. He was wiry and strong, full of energy and had a really hard time holding still. They were sitting side by side in a meeting, and he was all over the place. She would grab his arm, his shirt, his hair. Once she just barely caught his foot as he was making his escape. She had him by both arms at one point, and went nose to nose with him, giving him a severe “mommy face,” and saying something I couldn’t hear. He gave the severe face right back at her and squirmed away. At that point he curled up on the floor under his chair, and stayed there for several minutes. It was a reprieve for both of them, and for those of us who could see what was going on.
I can guarantee you that nor many years down the road the boy will strike out physically at his mom. She will be visiting him through prison bars, and he will be making demands of her for help getting him out. He will be angry and hateful, and she will be brokenhearted because she won’t have any idea what went wrong.
The main thing that will have gone wrong is that God will not have been preeminent in that home. I don’t know if there’s a father involved; I do know that there is no understanding of scriptural instruction in child rearing. While I found the boy’s behavior annoying, I also felt great pity for both the mother and the son. Unless a wise, godly mentor appears, there will not be a happy ending.
Even Jesus made Himself subject to Mary and Joseph.
Parents need to learn to command obedience from their children. Children need to be taught the positive rewards to be gained through obedience.