Obey your Parents – Colossians 3:17-25
Obedience means to do what you are told. Paul was adamant about the responsibility of children belonging to believers to do what they are told by their parents. In the context, Paul is speaking to children who are living under the roof of their parents. Also in the context, Paul is addressing a healthy relationship within a family. In a parallel passage found in Ephesians, he substitutes the words “in the Lord’ for the words used in Colossians, “in all things.” Context is important. Perhaps there was something different about the Ephesian church in comparison to the Corinthian church that caused Paul to substitute the language. Perhaps his earlier words in Col. 3:17 puts this verse into context in such a way as to nullify the need of using the words, “in the Lord.” If the parents are doing everything in the name of the Lord, the children should obey the parents in everything. With wives submitting to husbands and husbands loving wives, an environment is created where children can easily, obey their parents.
A disobedient child serves to disrupt an entire household. It robs precious energy from other children in the home. It sometimes creates a financial hardship when parents must cope with the consequences of disobedience. It causes distrust and destroys otherwise healthy relationships. It can be costly. Instructing a child to look both ways before crossing the street is extremely important. In fact, it is a life and death situation. Parents often give instruction to children to prevent their harm. Failing to obey can be costly to the family and those around the family. The responsibility of the parent is to gain the respect and trust of the child and to then teach them to obey. Teaching them to obey is part of the process of gaining their trust.
The child who refuses to obey his parents is a rebellious child. In the Levitical law, it was considered to be so serious the child could be stoned by the elders of the community. 1 Samuel 15:23 equates rebellion to the sin of witchcraft. It is demonic in nature and causes much strife. Rebelliousness in this area often leads to rebellion in other areas. The connection between disobedient children and adults with turmoil in life is clear. The one who grows up rebellious to parents is often a rebellious adult getting into all kinds of trouble. They are rebellious to all kinds of authority including supervisors in the work place and law enforcement officers on the street. They will likely be rebellious to God’s authority as well.
Is this command applicable to the adult? The key to teaching a child to be obedient to the Lord is teaching them to obey their parents. However, ultimate allegiance must be given to God. If the parent is diligently seeking to be obedient to the Lord, it is a very natural transition for a child to transfer his obedience from a parent to the Lord as they become an adult. In fact, it is appropriate for a parent to teach a child that they are ultimately accountable to the Lord. This can be carried out even to the place of telling the maturing child, “if I have told you to do things that are disobedient to God, choose to be obedient to God first.”
How is your obedience to your parents? Have you been a submissive child or a rebellious child? You are never to old for repentance and to seek the forgiveness of your parents. You are never to old to obey.