Parental Responsibility

We want to salute all mothers today for their love, guidance, and most importantly, their faithfulness to God.

The apostle wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). In this clear statement, Paul conveys the divine will that there is a specific relationship between children and parents. Children are to obey their parents, because God has designed the home with this order. “Children” are those who need nurturing, for they are developing; they require instruction and correction (Ephesians 6:4). They are not peers at this stage. There is an authority–subjection relationship in God’s family plan.

This authority is delegated by God, and a parent must exercise that authority with respect to God who gives it. No parent can demand, with intrinsic authority, this or that of a child. Too many parents act as if they are “the Creator” and the child is “the creature.” Parenthood is a gift from God (Psalm 127:3); faithful parents exercise limited, God-given authority for a God-given purpose.

Paul also taught that God’s domestic arrangement involves a special role for parents – authority in action. This is the communication of instructions and the application of correction; children are to listen and obey. Parents must assume the role decreed by God. They must provide instruction and correction, training their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; cf. Matthew 15:19). When parents are not parents, children still grow up, but their spiritual development is compromised.

Paul reminds us that the Christian family includes spiritual responsibilities. The parent-child relationship, and the exercise of the parental role, are designed by God to mature a person who is sensitive to spiritual realities – a person who accepts his own spiritual responsibilities. Children need to learn “what is right” (Ephesians 6:1). They must learn that obedience to the Lord is the ultimate motivation for all behavior (Ephesians 6:1). This is accomplished by parents who regularly teach their children to obey out of a sense of duty to the Lord.

Obedience is not mere compliance. Obedience means listening and doing what is required for the right reasons. According to the Lord, this is best taught early. Wouldn’t you agree? So that we may help our children learn to obey the Lord from the heart – the seat of behavior – we must teach them obedience from the earliest of years.

This spiritual quality is taught by the parents who:

  1. Give clear expectations, some of which are morally inflexible.
  2. Provide consequences to disobedience that are fair and clear.
  3. Show consistent follow-through with rewards and punishment.
  4. Demonstrate a concrete example in that parents themselves are obedient to the Lord.

Parental responsibility means helping your kids go to heaven. It takes time, attention, and divine insight. Be there for your children – be a Christian parent.