How lenient are you as a parent? Arguably raising children is one of the biggest challenges we will ever face and this is an age-old question that has no black and white answer. Carly Prooday a pediatric occupational therapist states she has observed a steady decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic performance and believes one of the mistakes parents are making is trying to please their children too much, which is causing them to not understand the word ‘no’. Judith Myers-Walls, PhD, associate professor of child development and family studies at Purdue University says: “There are things that even infants have to learn not to do”.
This is the realm of obedience, which for some is not an easy concept to receive.
In Romans Paul opens with his explanation that he: “received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith” (Rom 1:5). He is saying that he is sent to the Gentiles, the outsiders, to call them to obey the Lord because of their faith in him.
We’d probably all agree to God’s wrath poured out on the disobedience list in Romans 1: the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth, not glorifying him (God) or giving him thanks, futile and foolish darkened hearts, exchanging his (God’s) glory for images, sexual impurity, greed, depravity, evil, murder, strife, deceit and malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, and inventors of ways to do evil.
But one more item included in this all-star list of disobedience is: “those who disobey their parents” (Rom 1:30). This is lumped with all the others and thus by implication is equally an affront to God.
Of course love must come into play in all godly matters, so obedience without love is certainly not what the gospel is about, see 1 Corinthians 13. But in our parenting obedience is important. And we would do well to instill this value in our children and not shy away from it, just as we would not shy away from avoiding the other sins on this list.
And of course in our own lives we must obey the Lord, not just demand this of our children. And as we strive to obey the Lord let’s remember he is good and we know there are blessings in store for us as Paul goes on to say there is: “glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”. Amen!