Monday, December 5, 2011

Obedience, Children, and the Bible

I've talked at length about how to raise children and why I'm not big into teaching obedience, but I didn't realize that I've never covered it as a topic within the Bible.

The Bible doesn't say to obey one's parents especially not in the strictest sense.  Here's some of what I mean.

The Bible does talk about honoring your parents see (Ephesians 6:2, Mark 7:10, Exodus 20:12) .  According to a few sources (since I've only got the internet for this which isn't as reliable), the Hebrew word used in multiple verses and in the 10 Commandments is "kabed" which means "to be heavy."  In other words, honor is the more appropriate translation since honor means to give reverence or weight too.  Obey means to comply or follow.

Then there are several instances listed in the Bible where Jesus talks about this topic specifically.  
Matthew 19:17-19, Mark 10:17-19 have Jesus discussing the Commandments

In Luke 8:19-21, Jesus shows that his ministry is more important or weighty if you will.  Here he says that those who follow him are his mother and brothers.

In Luke chapter 2, Jesus tells his parents who are frantically looking for him that he was in his Father's house doing his Father's business (Luke 2:49), which is an awful cheeky remark for a "obedient" youngster to make.  Again it shows that his ministry is more important.

Faith to God above obedience to family is something that Jesus also applies to us.

In Matthew 10:21-22, Jesus warns that we will be hated even by our own family because we follow God.  Thus obeying ones family members above Jesus's teachings is out.

Matthew 10:37-38 reiterates that.  Here Jesus specifically says that if you love your parents or your children above God then you are not worthy.

So what can one conclude that Jesus intends that we honor and respect our parents but not blindly obey them.  Our true obedience is owed to God.  This is why I don't intend to teach my children to obey me, but rather to obey God because let's face it I have no idea what God's plans are and I'm a sinful person.

CCC 2215:  Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace.

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