1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
Remember, Paul is writing this letter to Romans who have become Christian. In the Roman culture of the first century, men had absolute power. The oldest male ruled over the household. By the time a children reached the age of seven, they were considered capable of making rational decisions and taking responsibilities around the house. By then, if children angered the father, he had the legal right to disown the children, sell them into slavery, and even kill them.
We see here that Paul is directly speaking to these Roman children. The word “obey” means to listen closely and respond. In the Roman code of behavior, you obey your parents because you want to avoid severe punishment. But now that they are Christians, the children are invited to listen closely for a different reason. You obey your parents because that is what you do when you have a God who adores you and cares for you. Your relationship to your parents comes out of your relationship as a son or daughter of God.
2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
Children listen closely to your parents and honor them because first and foremost you are sons and daughters of a heavenly Father who is absolutely devoted to you.
God gives children parents to care for them and protect them. Parents are to have the same view of their children as God does. They are to adore and care for them because that’s what God wants them to do. So, when we have parents who are devoted to God’s ways we flourish.
But, parents can also harm their children if they are not following God’s model. Parents can rebel against God and not be protective. Parents can choose not to provide all that a child needs. and it is not just physical needs. A child’s emotional and spiritual health are expanded by parents who model themselves after God, as well.
What is the main attitude in popular culture that children are to have for their parents? How does this compare to what the Bible says here?