Let me know if you haven’t seen this stereotype in a movie or tv show before: there’s a teen in a family that’s consistently rebellious and disrespectful to his parents and other figures of authority in their life. The truth is, the stereotype is found almost everywhere. The world has an expectation that all teens are normally rude and rebellious to leadership. But just because that’s what some expect of us, it never means that we should stoop to their expectations.
Here’s the thing; our parents are there to protect us. We as teens want to be adults, but at the same time, do we really? There’s so much that adults have to deal with that we don’t even give any thought to. The same goes for all in authority over us. Now granted, they aren’t perfect, just like we aren’t. But God has put our elders in authority over us for a reason: to keep us from harm and guide on a righteous path.
I know that not all parents are loving, and not all parents have the best in mind for their children. Sometimes, parents aren’t even there for us, and that hurts. The pain turns us off from all leadership.
Here’s the thing though: we each have a good Father that cares more perfectly for us than even our earthly parents can. Generally speaking, our parents love us so deeply that they would be willing to give their life for their children. If we mean that much to them, doesn’t it only make sense that they genuinely want what’s best for us?
In the Ten Commandments, God puts a great emphasis on respecting our mother and father regardless of their imperfections.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Exodus 20:12 NIV
Not only is it emphasized right there, it’s emphasized throughout the Bible. The first commandment that comes with a promise. The promise is, as it says above, “that we might live long in the land the Lord you God is giving you.”
So, even when we don’t like their decisions, their guidelines, or actions, what do we do? How do we react? It’s an old fashioned question, but one that’s more relevant than ever today, and also one I think we need to re-evaluate. I make mistakes, too! Sometimes I speak out of turn or rudely. But, we don’t leave it at that. That’s the point where we turn around and ask for forgiveness. It sounds naive in today’s world, but let’s reconsider.
Suppose there’s a party down the street. It seems like it’d be a lot of fun, and there’s a bunch of your friends going to it. Your parents, however, told you no. So, perhaps you speak to them harshly and scream something like, “You never trust me or let me go out and do something fun!” Your feelings are hurt as are your parents’, but they remain steadfast in their refusal.
You wake up the next morning only to find out that two of your best friends had been in a head-on collision with a car while driving underage and under the influence. A situation you might have found yourself in had you gone.
You see, rules are not in place to make our lives miserable. They’re instead in place in the hopes of keeping us safe. Your parents didn’t refuse your going to that party because they didn’t want you to have fun. They did it because they genuinely care about what’s best for you. Do you see why we may live long in the land if we follow this commandment?
““Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”
Ephesians 6:2 NIV
A command, not a request. Notice that. If we love God and want to seek the right path, then honoring our parents as well as those in authority becomes more than a nice idea. It becomes a vital command.
Blessings follow the doer of good, and honoring our fathers and mothers is a great place to start. Respect for authority over us can be challenging at times, but we can never forget that it’s for our own good. Our parents love us more than we can even fathom. Let’s not take that for granted.