“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
After looking at the honoring stage we now see:
- THE HONORABLE STAGE
Just as we saw two parts to the honoring stage, we also see two sides to the honorable stage:
A. Responsible Authority
While Paul is quick to point out how important it is for children to obey and honor their parents, he is equally quick to point out how important it is for parents to be honorable in their dealings with their children! Our use of authority as parents can have a dramatic impact on how our children navigate the stages of “enforced obedience” and “willful obedience.” Here Paul in Ephesians 6 takes time to talk to parents as he instructs fathers not to exasperate their children. That is not be unreasonable with their children. As godly parents we are to exercise authority in a responsible way, not a reactionary and emotional way. Our authority should be based on principles from God’s Word not our whims or personal wants. Are you parenting based on God the Father or your feelings?Are you basing and building your parenting on the Word or on the world? Unreasonable demands in childhood usually mean rebelliousness in youth, and unreasonable demands in youth mean angry adults that do not respond to authority well. A study was done of ninth and tenth graders where they were interviewed and asked this question: “What comes to mind when you think of the word ’dad’?” Answers came immediately from both ends of the spectrum. One end of the spectrum said, “I think of the word jerk” others thought of the words angry, mad, and absent. On the other hand, some of the young people said, “I think of wholeness, kindness, security, safety.” Dad is an immensely powerful word. Dads what do you want it to represent to your kids? Parents are we being responsible in the use of authority and reflecting God’s presence in our lives because second we see:
B. Reflecting Authority
Paul indicates here that if we bring up children in the training and instruction of the Lord, we will not exasperate them why because God’s ways are good as Psalm 18:30 declares, “God’s way is perfect.” But this requires more than just preaching the bible to our kids but practicing it before our kids. The best way to tell them is to show them. As parents we can’t just mouth the message of respect, we have to model it. Because the model we set will probably be the mold that shapes them. One thing I find interesting as I interview the older generation about marriage is that I find that most of them only met with the pastor 1 time prior to getting married and yet most of them have had marriages that lasted their whole life. Yet today because the divorce rate is so high, we have couples go through 10 sessions of pre-marital counseling in our church to prepare them for marriage and we have seen the divorce rate drop for a 50% to 15%. So how did the older generation do it on only 1 session, they didn’t. They actually had 18 years of pre-marital counseling because their parents were modeling marriage not mouthing it. Life is like a mountain, it’s hard because much of it is uphill and if we want our kids to successfully scale it, we have to point out the path. Like a father and son mountain climbing team, where the son calls out to his father ahead of him saying, “choose a good path dad, I’m right behind you”. What you practice today will most likely be the path you put your kids on tomorrow. As parents we need to ask ourselves are, we being obedient or obstinate with our Heavenly Father? What model are we setting for our kids? Because it will not only affect the relationship, they have with other people, but it will have a dramatic impact on their relationship with their heavenly father as well. One study revealed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72 percent of their children remain faithful in attendance. If only Dad attends regularly, 55 percent remain faithful. If only Mom attends regularly, 15 percent remain faithful. If neither attend regularly, only 6 percent remain faithful. Stay at home parents do not produce go to Church children. It’s not about your attendance it’s about your adoration and allegiance to the Almighty, remember its relationship based not rule based.The way we reflect God’s authority in our lives can have a dramatic impact on whether our kids love the Lord themselves! As Billy Graham’s daughter Gigi once said “The only thing that parents can take to heaven is their children.” As parents we want to receive respect but are, we reflecting respect? If a son grows up with the model of an unloving father who is mean to His mother and is allowed to trash her instead of treasure her how do you think he will treat his future wife? If a daughter grows up watching a mom treat her man with constant criticism and disrespect how do you think she is going to respond to her future husband. Men don’t let your sons be unloving and disrespectful to their mom. Ladies don’t let your daughters be disrespectful and roll their eyes as they say whatever to their dad’s. Parents you are the pivot because you not only point your kids to God vertically, but you set the stage horizontally for how they will relate to others. Contrary to what the culture is communicating, you are the most important person in your kids’ lives. You are not just the pivot you’re the anchor to authority. While there can surely be exceptions to the rule, the fact is that most honorable parents will have children that grow up to honor and even emulate them! What we do as parents both by talking and by walking can have a dramatic impact on our children’s lives. Don’t despair mom and dad if you are living honorably and your children are struggling through the stages of obedience, keep praying for them and doing the right things!