There have been kids on the earth for a long time. They are a wonderful blessing from Jehovah (Psalm 127:3-5).
When we speak of “children/kids,” we have reference to anyone who still has at least one living parent. A “kid” could be young, but in many cases “children” are adults. Today’s young children will be tomorrow’s youth; today’s youth will be tomorrow’s young married couples; today’s young married couples will be tomorrow’s aging grandparents. This is the cycle of life.
Much is said in the Bible about how parents should deal with their kids. What about the children themselves? How should they treat their parents? What responsibilities do they have to them?
Children need to honor/respect their parents. God’s clear message to kids is, “Honor your father and mother” (Ephesians 6:2). The opposite of respecting parents would be to disrespect them. One might show disrespect to his parents by saying unkind things to them or about them, by mocking them, disregarding their needs, or turning a deaf ear to their advice, instruction, or communication of any type.
Some immature children think their parents are the most unintelligent people who have ever lived on the planet. The Bible says, “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). Out of all the children in the world, it should be the case that Christians and their kids are the most respectful children anywhere.
Children also need to obey their parents. Parents would agree with this, but why is it the correct thing to do? Hear what the Bible says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Yes, it pleases the Lord when kids obey their parents (Colossians 3:20). Jesus set a great example for all children, as He was in subjection to His parents (Luke 2:51).
How does God look at disobedience to parents? In Romans 1:28-32, we read of different types of disgusting actions and attitudes. There in that list of ungodly matters which includes sexual immorality, murder, and haters of God, “disobedience to parents” is mentioned, too. In God’s sight, failing to obey one’s parents is deplorable. Did you know that under the old covenant, the penalty for being a stubborn and rebellious child was death? (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
God wants children to love their parents. The Bible teaches that God wants us to love our enemies, our neighbors, our spouse, our kids, yes, love all men (2 Peter 1:7). That would include loving our parents. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified, and wisdom says, “I love those who love me” (Proverbs 8:17). If that is the correct thing for wisdom to do, surely it is proper for kids to do that, too . . . love their parents. It is a beautiful sight to observe children showing genuine love for their parents. On the other hand, nothing is more ugly than seeing children fail to show natural affection for their folks.
Children ought to take care of their parents. In some cases, parents need little care from their kids; in other instances, they become totally dependent on them. In the early years of life, parents care for their kids. As time passes, those roles may be reversed. The Bible says, “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents, for this is good and acceptable before God” (1 Timothy 5:4).
Part of “providing for our own” (1 Timothy 5:8) is helping take care of our parents. No one should think this always is an easy process. It can be extremely challenging to deal with parents who have serious health issues, lose their memory, become grumpy, are bossy, are irresponsible with money, and, in general, act in a childish manner. Through it all, though, they still are our parents . . . still worthy of our love!
When children are Christians, they have an added responsibility. If their parents are not members of the church, Christian children need to teach them the gospel. Our parents are part of “every creature” who needs to hear and obey the gospel (Mark 16:15,16). This requires patience, politeness, persistence, and prayer, as we try to help them learn how to become saved people.
Thank God for the children who put forth their best effort to treat their parents in the proper way.
— Roger D. Campbell