CHILDREN AND RESPECT—A FORGOTTEN VIRTUE! I see it all the time and just about in every place in our American society—disrespect for parents. Is this because of a lack of parental training or is it just rebellion from sinful hearts of children as they are being raised—or both? The bible tells us to train up a child in the way they should go so have we as a generation of parents failed our duties to God’s command in this instance and now we are reaping the results of that directive? This is not a new problem in life but I think now it is in epidemic proportions. The Apostle Paul gave God’s directive in the book of Ephesians when he said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth,” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV). I rejoice when I see children of all ages show respect and honor to their parents even when the children are adults and often disagree with their parents who may be much older. Disagreement is no excuse for disrespect or dishonor. I do not see an escape clause in what God has said.
In years gone by disrespect by children would have been met often times by discipline that may have meant a good “whooping” across the posterior, or a missed meal, or a time in solitary confinement in their rooms. My momma used to send me outside to a tree to cut my own “switch” for punishment while my Dad’s punishment was swift with a belt. I can honestly say as I grew up and became an adult I never wanted to disrespect my parents. Today people would probably be arguing jail time for my parents. They would be wrong to do so. The book of Proverbs gives this piece of parental advice, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them,” (Proverbs 13:24 NIV). Discipline in the life of a child is absolutely necessary to produce the honoring of parents that God desires and an end product for the child is that in the normal course of things life will go well for the child and they will enjoy a long life on earth. It is sad to say that many times, in spite of the best efforts of the parents, rampant rebellion and the sin nature of many children will produce disrespectful children who grow to be disrespectful adults. The results are never good and only by God’s grace will this situation be changed. If the outcome with your child-rearing years has been good take time to thank God. If the situation is not so good then keep praying that by God’s grace and mercy He will intervene and produce change in the situation.