Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Col 3:20)
The Enduring Word commentary says, “Paul has in mind children who are still in their parents’ household and under their authority. For these, they must not only honor their father and mother (as in Ephesians 6:2), but they must also obey them, and obey them in all things.”
But what does this look like practically? As parents, what should we expect and enforce?
If your kids are in your household or dependent upon you financially, if you can claim them as a dependent on your taxes, or let’s say you are funding their college education, then they are not independent and therefore, I suggest you have the right to authority over them.
Just because your children may be 18 or older, I don’t believe they have the right to do whatever they want if they are not able to live independently of you (financially or otherwise).
Specifically, I’m saying that you should not help fund the sin of your children.
Don’t pay for their dorm room, tuition, cell phone, car payment, car insurance etc if your kids are living an openly, ungodly lifestyle.
Yes, be kind. Assure them of your continued love for them and tell them this is exactly why you can’t financially support a sinful lifestyle.
At the very least, kids will have less time to do wrong things if they have to work and help support themselves.
The truth is, part of loving our children is to help them not to sin, and some parents are actually doing just the opposite…they are footing the bill.
In addition to funding sin, some parents are turning a blind eye and refusing to confront sin in their children’s lives. I’m mainly thinking about the teenage years here….
Many parents are not confronting immoral behavior in their kids because they bought the lie that they can’t hold their children to a standard that they themselves didn’t hold to at that age.
But that’s wrong thinking. Let’s don’t let the enemy trip us up with this confusion.
For example, let me just tell you, my high school and college music choices were less than stellar.
I loved rock ‘n roll. Those mostly, awful lyrics can still ring in my ears with just one note from one of those old songs.
So how could I ask my kids to turn off their garbage-filled, profanity-laced, sin-glorifying music when I used to listen to much the same?
Wasn’t I being a hypocrite? Nope.
And here’s why:
Because if our kids call themselves Christ followers, or if I’m parenting them to follow Jesus, the standard is Jesus Christ, NOT their momma!
As a Christian parent, my goal is to continually point my kids to Jesus and right living.
Of course, we want to live godly lives in front of them now, but as a Christian parent, I do not default to how I lived as my goal—but how Jesus would have us live.
Can we parent this way and our kids still go the wrong way? Yes. Will they pitch a fit, threaten, and break our hearts? Possibly.
But as parents, just like we do everything else as believers, we must trust and obey the Lord first and foremost.
My kids are all adults now, but I will always want them to love Jesus and walk close to God and reap the amazing blessings that come from that. This will impact my counsel to them.
And I’m still mindful and still thankful that Jesus is their standard… not their momma.