Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 26 : Honor Your Parents | Day 178

Trace Disrespect to Dishonor!

A frustrated father appealed to me for counsel, saying, "What am I doing wrong? I have taught my children the Bible, but they just won't respect or obey me."

I asked him, "Growing up, were you respectful and obedient to your parents?"

There was silence as he thought a few moments before responding. "I think so. I was not really that rebellious."

I decided to approach the question from a different perspective. "If I were to ask your father and mother, 'Was your son respectful and obedient to you,' what would they say?"

He immediately answered, "They would say, 'No.' ”

This father was compensating for his past disrespect by being too strict with his children and provoking them to anger. (See Ephesians 6:4.)

Solomon appealed to his son on the basis of the loving relationship that he had with his parents. (See Proverbs 4:1-4.)

God did not say, "I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," but “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (See Exodus 3:6.) God's character is unchanging, and His principles remain the same. Because of this, we can learn many lessons from the lives of these men, especially in the area of honoring parents.

Abraham had a strong respect and honor for his parents, as indicated by the fact that they traveled out of Ur together. (See Genesis 11:31.) Abraham's son Isaac honored Abraham by obedience even unto death and received all the riches of his father. (See Genesis 24:36.) In contrast, Jacob deceived his father, and as a result he had years of hard labor, marital problems, and family conflict. In the same way that Jacob dishonored his father with lies and deception, his sons dishonored him in the matter of Joseph's disappearance. (See Genesis 37:31-33.)

What parents do in moderation, children do in excess.

We are given a striking account of four types of wicked generations in Proverbs 30. Each generation listed is progressively worse. The last one is described as “a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men." This depicts a brutal and ruthless disrespect for people and life. However, it is significant that the first generation in this sequence begins with one “that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.”

This explains what I have witnessed for many years: Parents wonder why they have rebellious children who do not respect God, the law, their parents, others, or even themselves. The problems often can be traced back to parents who did not honor their parents. If this is the case in your family, it would be wise to ask your parents to forgive you and then to encourage your children to learn from your failures, rather than saying "don't do what I did."

“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death” (Matthew 15:4).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard