Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do…if you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have long life on the earth.” 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. Ephesians6:1, 3-4
Paul takes both parents and children to task in these verses. “Parents” (“father” in verse 4) he says, “don’t mistreat your children to make them angry, and children, honor your father and mother by obeying them,”
Neither of these directives seems easy at times. Our oldest daughter once said that what we were saying to her didn’t make much sense when she was a teenager, but once she was out on her own, everything we had been telling her began to make sense. As we get older, we can see both sides more clearly now.
When was the last time you talked with your children about God’s promise that if they honor their father and mother “things will go well for them, and they will have long life on earth”? I wouldn’t exactly call it bribery; after all, it IS in scripture. But, it may open their eyes to look out for those things that will go well for them in the coming days and years. After all, it’s what God promises.
We live in a world today where our children and families are under attack in new ways. The assault comes at them through social media never thought of 5, 10, or 20 years ag0-and the assault is fast, furious, and potentially devastating to them and to the entire family structure.
Our children need a fresh touch from God in our families. That touch from parents and response from our children must be one of love. Love is the most powerful force available to penetrate the evil and temptation around our children and families. Sometimes it needs to be “tough love,” but it always needs to be love.