Today, we look into our relationships with our parents and our children.
The Ten Commandments teach us to honor our parents—not love, not trust, not admire, not enjoy, and not obey, but honor them.
Some parents are obnoxious and make it difficult to love or enjoy them. Some parents are not trustworthy. Some parents are not admirable. Some parents are not safe to obey. Also, one day, a child should leave the parents’ authority and be united with his or her spouse (Genesis 2:24).
But we are still called to honor our parents, no matter how flawed they are. This is a choice and is not sentimental. We are commanded to treat our parents with dignity, courtesy, and respect. We should try to follow the custom because what is considered respectful differs by culture.
To honor them, sometimes we need to forgive them, particularly when they are really bad or manipulative.
To honor is different than seeking their approval. Many yearn for their parents’ approval, but we must remember that our parents can’t be our God. We mustn’t let our need to please them dominate us, lest their approval become an idol.
Remember that we have God’s unconditional acceptance. We don’t have to prove that we are good. That knowledge can empower us to freely honor our parents.
As to our children, Ephesians 6:4 teaches us to bring them up in the training and instruction of God—again not love, trust, admire, enjoy, or obey. Training involves discipline, and instruction involves teaching and counseling.
In traditional families, fathers have absolute authority. After the industrial revolution, many parents now leave home to earn a living, and they delegate others to bring up their children. But parents should not have absolute authority and should not delegate.
Parents need to bring their children up. This is a kind of servant leadership. The bringing up is in the discipline and teaching of God.
To conclude, we don’t need to get our approval or acceptance from our parents or our children. Our approval and acceptance are from God. This will free us to honor our parents and to bring up our children in God’s training and instruction.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
以弗所书6：4教导当在上帝的训练和指导下抚养儿女。 同样地，不是爱，信任，欣赏，享受或服从。而是在上帝的训练(意味着纪律) 和指导(包含教导和辅导) 下抚养。