“Love and Authority” – Deuteronomy 5:16

May 14th, 2017

Dt 5:16

“Love and Authority”

Aux Texts: Genesis 9:20-28 & Mark 7:9-13.

Call to Worship: Psalm 47


Service Orientation:  We honor God when we honor the authorities God has established.  It all begins at home honoring mom and dad.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. — Deuteronomy 5:16


Background Information:

  • This commandment focuses on the mature person, no longer under control of parents and now probably stronger than they are in every way. It has in mind elderly parents, the weaker and needier members of the relationship, who may be regarded by grown children as unimportant, burdensome, or unable to control adult children (see Heidelberg Catechsim, Q. 104).  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 84)
  • The Westminster Larger Catechism states, “By ‘father’ and ‘mother’ in the Fifth Commandment, are meant not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as by God’s ordinance are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.” Martin Luther, in his Large Catechism, states it explicitly:  “Out of the authority of parents all other authority is derived and developed.”  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 85)
  • In Hebrew, the word used for “honor” is one whose basic meaning is “heavy.” (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 171)
  • It applies to those who have good, godly, loving parents, and to those who don’t. The Lord didn’t list any exceptions, exemptions, or special considerations.  And just to make sure we understand how profoundly this command applies to us, He made sure it was repeated in the NT (Eph 6:2-3).  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 132)
  • Children are to hold parents in high regard because of the parental position in the family, a position not only in God’s scheme of authority in human relationships but also in the covenant relationship that called for continuation of the people’s status with the Lord. The children’s regard for their parents led to regard for their parents’ relationship to God.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 56)
  • The character of the children’s treatment of the parents is seen in the key verbs of the negative and positive formulations: “no cursing” and “honoring.”  The word “curse (qillel) in this instance means to treat lightly or contemptibly, to regard someone as of little account, as Hagar regards Sarah when Hagar becomes pregnant and Sarah is barren, for example.  It is not a matter of profanities uttered but of any way children treat older parents with indignity.  Honoring the parents is required at all times.  The verb “honor” (kabbed) is the exact opposite of “curse.”  It means to treat weightily and to regard someone as being of great worth.  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 84)


The question to be answered is . . . What is God’s will for us in observing the fifth commandment?


Answer: God wants us to understand that We honor Him when we honor any authority God has established.  The first and most fundamental authority we need to honor is our parents.



AUTHORITY = The right to impose obligations. — R.C. Sproul


“On more than one occasion someone would ask my wife in what appeared to me to be a condescending manner, “And what is it you do, my dear?”

My wife, who is one of the most articulate persons I know, found a perfect response for such occasions.  In machine gun fashion, she would reply, “I am socializing two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition so they might be transformers of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God willed for us from before the foundation of the earth.” (Tony Campolo; Carpe Diem—Seize the Day, 40)


104 Q.  What is God’s will for you in the fifth commandment?

  1. That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish me; (Ex 21:17; Prv 1:8; 4:1; Rom 13:1-2; Eph 5:21-22; 6:1-9; Col. 3:18-4:1) and also that I be patient with their failings (Prv 20:20; 23:22; 1 Pt 2:18)–for through them God chooses to rule us (Mt 22:211; Rom 13:1-8; Eph 6:1-9; Col 3:18-21). (The Heidelberg Catechism, 58)


The Word for the Day is . . . Honor


“As a result of historical developments and changes of psychological habit the idea of authority has been totally severed from the idea of love.” (Harry Blamires; The Christian Mind, 137)


The commonest fallacy among women is that simply having children makes one a mother—which is as absurd as believing that having a piano makes one a musician.  (Sydney J. Harris)


What are the implications of observing the Fifth Commandment?:

I-  Parents, as well as all authorities, are established by God.  (Ex 1:18-21; Dan chs 1, 3, 6; Jn 19:11; Acts 5:29; Rom 13:1-7; Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20; 1 Pt 2:13-17)


Many issues come into view as we now discuss the fifth commandment.  It is legitimate, for example, to bring up, besides the matter of honoring parents, also the matter of honoring others in authority.  The church has always understood this commandment to require respect for the authority of the state, for example.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 161)


Every man is to consider himself as a particular object of God’s providence, under the same care and protection of God as if the world had been made for him alone.  It is not by chance that any man is born at such a time, of such parents, and in such place and condition…Every soul comes into the body at such a time and in such circumstances by the express designment of God, according to some purposes of His will and for some particular ends.  (William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 322)


If it comes down to a choice between God or one’s parents, children must choose against their parents and for God.  That would be a sad situation for parents and a serious difficulty in the life of the children, who would prefer that it could be otherwise.  But the honor due to parents always bears a creaturely character and can never be paid at the cost of the honor we owe to the triune God.  Giving honor to the creature is different than worship and can come into conflict with our duty to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 176)


We have already discussed the limit of obedience.  We might describe that limit this way:  Children must obey their parents only “in the Lord” (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20).  Obedience is no longer proper if, out of respect for their parents, they choose against the Lord.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 178)


Paul’s main view of the state was that the Roman Empire was the divinely ordained instrument to save the world from chaos.  Take away that Empire and the world would disintegrate into flying fragments.  It was in fact the pax Romana, the Roman peace, which gave the Christian missionary the chance to do his work.  Ideally men should be bound together by Christian love; but they are not; and the cement which keeps them together is the state.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Romans, 174)


Every form of government, whether good or bad, cruel or benevolent, is divinely decreed by God.  He has ordained that man should rule over man.  There is no other way to maintain an orderly society.  So it is a basic rule of life that men are to submit to those in power.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Romans, 339)


The universal call to submit to authority touches the root of our corruption.  Everyone is a sinner, and every sin is an act of revolt against authority.  If we respected the authority of God perfectly, we would never sin.  Sin is a refusal to submit to the governing authority of God himself, and God knows that about us.  If we are not willing to submit to God, it is more difficult to submit to the police department, the government, and other authorities that rule over us.  It is the duty of every Christian to be in subjection to the authorities.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Romans, 440)


In addition to rulers (see also Ti 3:1), Paul also calls on believers to submit to their spiritual leaders (1 Cor 16:16) and even to one another (Eph 5:21; i.e., in the ways Paul outlines in 5:22-6:9).  Christian slaves are to submit to their masters (Ti 2:9), Christian prophets to other prophets (1 Cor 14:32), and Christian wives to their husbands (1 Cor 14:35[?]; Eph 5:24; Col 3:18; Ti 2:5).  In each case, one person is to recognize the rightful leadership role that another human being has in his or her life.  (Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans, 429)


Revolutionary subordination commands us to live in submission to human authority until it becomes destructive.  (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 124)


The church is a prostitute, but she is my mother.”— St. Augustine


There are limits to the obedience that children should render to their parents.  Giving respect is different from worshiping.  Over the parents stands God Himself, and it can be necessary for children to choose for Him and against their parents.

This becomes clear by considering once more the function assigned to parents.  Theirs is the task of teaching children about God and His service.  But when parents do the exact opposite, children (who know better) are not obligated to follow the instruction of their parents.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 175)


The fifth commandment covers other forms of authority as well.  Is it exegetically warranted to extend honoring “father and mother” to include the honor due to “all in authority over me” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 39), so that this commandment envisions also the government official, the elder, and the school teacher?  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 178)


The command to honor parents cannot be absolute.  If a parent tells his or her child to violate a civil or moral law, the child has no obligation to honor the request.  Judaism and Christianity place ultimate value on the adherence to God’s law as well as the idea that civil law is part of God’s desire for an ordered society.  Our relationship to God always has precedence over our relationship to our parents.  If doing the right thing alienates us from our parents, we are not culpable for dishonoring our parents.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 158)


It is no small thing to overthrow a government, in the light of Rom 13:1!  But if it must be done, and if God provides leaders for such a revolution, then it is done with respect for authority.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 196)


He (Paul) understood the sovereignty, providence, and mysterious purposes of God from a thorough reading of the OT and knew that it was impossible for anyone in any position of authority to be there outside of God’s establishing them in that position. The Christian, far from standing in hostility to earthly authorities, is the only one who is able to give them the esteem and honor due them.  Others must regard them as a necessary and useful arrangement for the advantage of human society; the Christian knows that “there is no authority except from God.”  In the earthly ruler he sees a servant of God, with only a limited function within the aeon of wrath, but withal a servant of God.  He sees him as one who carries out the work of God in this world.  It is indeed God’s “alien” work, His wrath; but it is still God’s work.  For that reason it does not satisfy Paul if the Christian merely bows outwardly to the ruler.  Paul calls for an inner subjection.  (Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans, 431)


The Lord would be pleased, of course, if all those in authority were decent men.  But wicked and evil men sometimes come to power.  So we find people in authority ranging from cruel kings to crooked cops.  Even so, God backs them for He would rather have them than none at all.  To have no law is anarchy.  That brings ruin.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Romans, 339)


The Christian knows that it is God’s will that he subject himself to the authorities which God, in his providence, has placed over him for his (the subject’s) good.  Accordingly, failure to subject himself results in the accusing voice of conscience.  Therefore, for both of these reasons, namely, to avoid God’s wrath and to satisfy his conscience, one should voluntarily subject himself to the ruling authority.

This matter of conscience must not be passed over lightly.  It should be borne in mind that a Christian’s enlightened conscience is his sense of obligation to God.  Note the words, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men” (1 Pt 2:13).

On conscience see also Rom 2:15, 9:1; further, Acts 23:1; 24:16; 2 Cor 8:7, 10, 12; 10:25-29; 2 Cor 1:12; 4:2; 5:11; 1 Tm 1:5, 19; 3:9; 4:2; 2 Tm 1:3; Ti 1:15.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Romans, 436)


Paul chooses to associate all authority with God.  While the passage here speaks directly of political power, Paul will appeal for the same attitude of submission when the authority is spousal (Eph 5:22-33), parental (6:1-4), social (6:5-9), or ecclesiastical (Phil 2:29).  Paul’s appeal to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21) is not an appeal for believers to be the “doormats” of society, but is rather a solid recognition of the value of respecting and using authority for the good of the whole.  (Clarence L. Bence, Romans, A Commentary for Bible Students, 210)


The Christians are called to believe, though, that the civic authorities, great and small, are there because the one true God wants his world to be ordered, not chaotic.  This does not validate particular actions of particular governments.  It is merely to say that some government is always necessary, in a world where evil flourishes when unchecked.    (N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone, Romans: Part Two, 86)


Paul is not teaching that all the authorities in Rome are God’s servants in the same sense as the believers are God’s servants.  The powers in Rome were arbitrary and often self-serving.  But they were God’s servants, ultimately responsible to the one who set them in place.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Romans, 252)


The OT had denounced pagan nations and their rulers — but some of the very prophets whose denunciations were fiercest also told Israel that God was working through the pagan nations and their rulers for Israel’s long-term good (Assyria, in Isa 10; Cyrus, in Isa 45; Babylon itself, In Jer 29).    (N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone, Romans: Part Two, 87)


God uses even unworthy and culpable men as means to the accomplishment of His purposes (cf. Acts 4:24-28).  But on the other hand the offenses of governments do not undo the fact that it is God who has given the power–even the power which they now misuse–and that He can use even unrighteousness for the accomplishment of His purpose.  (Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans, 428)


We need to be cautious, however, in our interpretation of Paul’s statements.  He cannot be taken to mean that all the Caligulas, Herods, Neros and Domitians of NT times, and all the Hitlers, Stalins, Amins and Saddams of our times, were personally appointed by God, that God is responsible for their behavior, or that their authority is in no circumstances to be resisted.  Paul means rather that all human authority is derived from God’s authority, so that we can say to rulers what Jesus said to Pilate, “You would have no power [exousia, authority] over me if it were not given to you from above.”  Pilate misused his authority to condemn Jesus; nevertheless, the authority he used to do this had been delegated to him by God.  (John Stott, Romans, God’s Good News for the World, 340)


One of the strange ironies of early church history is that, while the Roman government was persecuting the Christian community, the church apologists were writing defenses of Christian behavior to the emperors.  The Christians were not interested in disobeying the civil magistrates in civil matters; they paid their taxes, they did everything that a good citizen was supposed to do.  They got into trouble when they refused to obey commands to worship the state or the emperor, rather than Christ.  (RC Sproul, The Gospel of God: Romans, 213)


The gospel is equally hostile to tyranny and anarchy.  (Charles H. Hodge, A Commentary on Romans, 415)


A country usually gets the kind of government it deserves, and it may be that one of the determining factors is the attitude of the average citizen toward those whom he selects to serve him.  (Abingdon Press, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. IX, 605)


II-  We honor God when we honor authorities.  (Rom 13:1-7; 1 Tm 5:4-8)


The parents were God’s representatives, so a child who honored his parents honored God.  To dishonor them was to dishonor God.

The responsibility of the child is to listen and obey.  The responsibility of the parent is to model God’s truth by example and instruction.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 105-6)


Spiritual parents are to be obeyed not because of their depth of wisdom and knowledge, but because they represent God, who is all wisdom and knowledge.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 106)


What God is to the world, parents are to their children. —Philo


Godly people then are skilled in showing honor.  So in church life we are to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10; see Phil 2:29; 1 Pt 2:17).  In social life, we are to “pay to all what is owed them:  . . . respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom 13:7).  Slaves honor their masters (1 Tm 6:1).  Husbands honor their wives (1 Pt 3:7).  Christians honor national rulers (1 Pt 2:17).  It is especially important to honor those who are older than we are.  Lv 19:32 places respect for elders alongside fearing the Lord:  “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.”  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 196)


Along with this understanding of obedience, there are substantial reasons for a child to choose to obey.  Children ought to obey because parents stand in the place of God to their children.  Of course, they do not take the place of God, but they do function as vice-regents of God for one’s childhood.  From birth, parents, by virtue of their office, perform the God-like functions of loving, providing, and law-giving.  Shakespeare wrote, “The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are Heaven’s lieutenants.”  Thus, a reflexively rebellious spirit intrinsically fights against God.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 100)


The placement of honoring parents as the Fifth Commandment between these two categories suggests a special connection between our parents and God.  Just as we must honor God, the creator of all life, we must honor our parents, who gave us life.  In truth, parents are like gods to their children, especially younger children.  Parents are an important connection to God.  As mentioned earlier, parents can nurture or negate a child’s spiritual relationship with God.  By honoring our parents, we learn to honor God.  By honoring God, we become decent human beings.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 139)


If I refuse for no just reason to submit to the authority of my employer, or my parents, or my teachers, or my government, ultimately I am in defiance of God, and I become a participant in lawlessness which is the spirit of the antichrist.  Christians are to be part of the complex of righteousness, not the complex of lawlessness.  We become models of submission to authority which the world is not.  We are called to obey God, and by obeying civil magistrates we show our spirit of submission and obedience to God himself.  (RC Sproul, The Gospel of God: Romans, 214)


Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.”  —Plato


Why is honoring parents so important?  Submission and honor are an important part of the liberated life.  One of the basic results of the fall, which Paul describes as “not see[ing] fit to acknowledge God,” is children being “disobedient to parents” (Rom 1:28-30).  One of the best ways to describe the rebellion against God that lies at the heart of the fall is that people do “not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Rom 1:21).  Human relationships are intended to mirror our relationship with God.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 196)


1 Tm 5:4.  Here caring for parents and grandparents is given as evidence of the godliness of a person.  A few verses later Paul becomes somewhat caustic and says, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (v. 8).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 202)


Parents hold a unique position with respect to their function as life-givers to their children and as those upon whom continuation of the covenant begins.  A godly society would require that those who were given the stewardship of making God known to the next generation should receive deference and respect.  (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 71)


Paul found it possible for an unbeliever and a believer to stay together in a marriage (1 Cor 7:12-16).  In the same way, surely, children of unbelieving parents must remember that a spiritual rift does not yet entail or require cutting all natural ties.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 176)


It is a part of human development that children need to be taught to be disciplined and civilized.  As children growing up, we yearned to be free and in control.  By being the center of our own universe, virtually idolizing our whims and desires, and wanting to avoid consequences of our misdeeds, we were frustrated by who stood between us and that power:  our parents.  In our internal struggle between our animal and potentially human selves, it is easy to disdain and exaggerate parental faults, maximize negative moments, and so forth, in an attempt to eliminate the lessons, controls, and punishments that thwarted our attempts at supplanting God as the ruler of our universe.  God’s commandment of honoring parents is basically the message that parents are a conduit of God.  Any profanity or harm to the parent is as if we’ve profaned God.  Therein lies the seriousness of this commandment.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 145-6)


Honoring parents not only helps us honor God, it also helps us to honor other people.  The last five commandments would be much more meaningful and easier to obey if we honored people and wanted to avoid hurting them.  Struggling with this commandment, dealing with decency and kindness in the midst of the powerfully wrenching emotions that can be engendered in the parent-child tug-of-war, should make it easier to deal decently with folks who are at a more comfortable distance.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 170)


The logical ramification is simple.  Because civil government is an institution of God, to rebel against government is to rebel against the God who has established it.  In his commentary on Romans, the nineteenth-century Scottish evangelist Robert Haldane wrote, “The people of God then ought to consider resistance to the government under which they live as a very awful crime, even as resistance to God Himself” (An Exposition of Romans, 579).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Romans 9-16, 220)


III-  To honor authority means to respect (Lv 19:3; Dt 27:16; Prv 30:17), submit to (Mt 21:28-31; Lk 2:51; Eph 5:21-33; 6:1-3, 5,8; Col 3:20; Heb 13:17; 1 Pt 5:5), provide for (Mt 15:3-5; Mk 7:9-13; Jn 19:26-27; 1 Tm 5:8, 16), and have an interest in their legacy (Prv 23:22-25).


The most obvious way to honor parents is by obeying them.  Paul uses the fifth commandment to teach about the parent-child relationship (Eph 6:2, 3).  But before quoting this he says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (v. 1).  Elsewhere Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Col 3:20).  The phrase “in everything” should perhaps be understood as referring to everything that you can do as a Christian that is not contrary to the Word of God.  This could be one implication of the expression, “obey your parents in the Lord” in the Ephesians passage.  We obey as if we were obeying the Lord Jesus himself.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 200)


In Proverbs, honoring parents means adhering to their teaching and showing them respect when they are old (Prv 1:8; 4:1-5; 23:22-25), both of which will bring them much gladness.  One must not rob from a mother’s or father’s possessions (Prv 28:24).  Honoring father and mother–in word and deed–is lifted up in Sir 3:1-16, where it says that glorifying and respecting them brings the same to oneself.  (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 287)


One should try not to embarrass or humiliate a parent in public.  This might include not retaliating if our parent behaves inappropriately toward you.  Always let a parent save face or give them the benefit of the doubt.  It is the responsibility of any child, adult or otherwise, to remind the parent, respectfully and privately, of any duty for which the parent is responsible.  The idea is to correct the parent without shaming him, even in private.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 157)


We honor parents by addressing them with respect even if we do not respect them.  It is especially important not to talk to them condescendingly or to raise your voice unnecessarily.  Most of us have seen adult children dishonor their parents by speaking sarcastically toward them or even yelling at them in public.  There can be no worse model of parenting than to raise your voice to a parent in front of their grandchildren.  We dishonor parents when we treat them like errant children.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 166)


In general, to deprive parents of family relationships is to dishonor them.  For elderly parents, connection to family gives meaning to life.  It is sometimes all they have.  We do not believe there is any greater honor than giving elderly parents a connection to the generations that provide a sense of immorality for them.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 167)


We honor parents by not constantly resenting what they are not and what they did not do and then throwing it in their faces.  There are times we simply have to accept their quirks, idiosyncrasies, bad habits, unfortunate personalities, and communication styles.  We do that by passing by that which does not have to be confronted.  For the duration of a visit or a phone call, surely not every objectionable moment needs commentary.  Such deference often leads to a greater number of shared good moments.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 167)


Ultimately, children of immoral or weak parents can greatly honor their roots by being adults who add to the greater good of the world through their own actions.  In this instance, we are honoring what our parents should be living, teaching, and standing for.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 157-8)


Children must let their parents speak first, answer respectfully, be quiet when parents are speaking to them, say “thank you” when they receive something from them, and the like.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 172)


Honoring involves also being faithful.  Children must put this into practice especially when their parents become old and invalid.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 173)


Respecting parents is another way we can honor them.  God says, “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father. . . I am the LORD your God” (Lv 19:3).  The Levites were asked to proclaim to the people, “Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother” (Dt 27:16).  Prv 30:17 says, “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.”  Today children often speak rudely to their parents.  That is something that is not acceptable for Christians.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 202)


It is particularly important to respect parents when they are old.  So we are told, “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Prv 23:22).  Often when parents are old they do things that their children find annoying.  Sometimes they may need to be restrained through a rebuke or some other drastic method.  Often they need to be directed just as we direct children.  But though their actions may annoy us and though we may need to be firm in insisting on some things with them, we must always do so with the respect that is due to parents.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 202)


While Jesus was on the cross bearing the sins of the world and experiencing the greatest suffering that a human ever endured, he asked John to look after his mother (Jn 19:26, 27).  No work is more important than what Jesus did to save the world.  And no work we do is too important to warrant the neglect of parents.  We see in Mk 7:10-13 that when Jesus used the fifth command to present the responsibility to look after parents, he showed how ridiculous it is for people to claim they are giving things for God’s work and in that way avoid their responsibilities toward their parents.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 202)


Here our modern culture’s sin is of scandalous proportions.  As a pastor, I see this regularly in my visits to convalescent hospitals where many elderly men and women who have prosperous surviving children endure months and even years without a visit.  This is a grievous sin!  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 103)


The honor due to parents, the elderly, judges, princes, and teachers includes the duty to obey.  Paul instructs children on the basis of the fifth commandment to obey.  Immediately thereafter, he writes about the obedience that slaves owe to their masters (Eph 6:1-3, 5-8).  Even the husband-wife relationship, in which the wife is obligated to obey her husband, appears in the same series of instructions (Eph 5:24, 33).  Later on in the NT we read that leaders in the church must be obeyed (Heb 13:17), or more generally that the younger men in the church must be subject to the older (oldest) ones (1 Pt 5:5).

Very clearly, obedience is required toward governments (Rom 13:1-7; Ti 3:1; 1 Pt 2:13-17).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 180)


The opposite of respect is disrespect.  Something weighty is treated as if it were light.  That comes to expression quite clearly in Hebrew usage.  Frequently a warning is given against “cursing” father and mother (Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9; Prv 20:20; 30:11), where a word is used whose basic meaning refers to something indecent or despicable.  Figuratively speaking, a child sticks his tongue out at his parents, which means he views them as nothings.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 172)


To honor is to listen, to hear-ken (hear carefully) to their instruction.  Further, to honor is to therefore deserve respect.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 172)


Honoring parents also includes loving them, even though the Bible nowhere explicitly says that children must love their parents.  But this is self-evident; if the general rule of loving our neighbor as ourselves is binding, surely this applies as well to children loving their parents.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 173)


It is more than a friendly gesture toward their parents when children state on their wedding invitations that “the parents of so-and-so” are pleased to announce the upcoming marriage of their son or daughter.  Older wedding forms used to speak of marrying “with the knowledge and consent of parents or guardians.”  This is the usual custom.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 174)


Children are not honoring their parents by treating courtship and marriage as strictly private matters beyond parental control.  Serious dating means the son or daughter is preparing to “leave his father and mother (Gn 2:24), and parents should be able to talk with their children about this departure.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 174)


Nowadays parents do not choose marriage partners for their children.  But they still have a right to be involved in the choice.  That right becomes all the stronger if they see their son or daughter taking a wrong spiritual turn in dating.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 174)


The claim that Romans 13 does not summon people to obedience is exegetically untenable.  The Greek word employed here for “submit” (which supposedly means something other than “be in subjection to” or “obey” presupposes simply an attitude of obedience.  The word appears elsewhere in the NT.  Slaves must be in subjection to their masters, “with all fear,” not only to the good and friendly masters, but also to the oppressive ones (1 Pt 2:18).  Young people must “submit” to older people, with an attitude of humility (1 Pt 5:5).  These things are written by the same Peter who–precisely as Paul in Romans 13–summons believers to “submit” to every human ordinance (1 Pt 2:13).  The fact that these are human ordinances functions in no way to reduce obedience!”  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 198)


We are not commanded to respect our parents, in terms of holding them in high regard.  Instead, we are commanded to behave in a certain way toward them that reflects their status as parents, sometimes in spite of our opinions and emotions about them.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 138)


When parents refuse to be responsible, when they break civil and moral laws or jeopardize life and limb of innocent “neighbors,” you are required to stand between your parents and those laws or innocents.  This may indeed mean that authorities must be notified.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 157)


We honor parents when we are appreciative for whatever they give us; we dishonor them when we expect too much.  Incredibly, many children feel that parents owe them perpetual financial assistance or are obligated to serve as baby-sitters and helpers.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 166)


IV-  God honors us when we honor Him.  (Dt 5:16; see also: 1 Sm 2:30; Jer 29:4-14; Acts 19:38-39)


Give away what you want to come to you.  If you want to be honored, give honor to others.  If you want to be close to others, get close to others.  If you want to be respected, respect others.  —  Gary Ennis


If children do not respect their parents, they are not likely to respect any kind of authority, and thus, a nation where children do not respect their parents is bound to fall.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 94)


I have seen a number of people let go for various reasons.  But as I think back over them, I can see that poor job performance is very rarely the reason.  In most cases, the problem was one of attitude, a rebellion against authority.  Why?  Because they never learned respect of authority at home.  “Why has my life been so miserable?” they ask.  “Why do I have so much trouble in so many different areas?”  Because they never learned to honor their father and their mother.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 95)


When placed as a promised outcome of honoring father and mother, it suggests that each generation honoring and caring for its older members creates and maintains a social climate that enhances the possibility of good and long life for each person in the society and for the society as a whole.  To the extent that indifference to and neglect of the older generation becomes a societal pattern, the possibilities of a long and happy life are diminished for all.  For those who are young become old and will themselves need care and respect to find “length of days.”  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 85)


If you take obedience to the laws of the country lightly–if you say, “Well, everyone is doing it” or “They’re crazy laws anyway” or “It’s not my law; I didn’t write it or vote for it”–if you do that, then you are contributing to a spirit of lawlessness that will issue in anarchy and eventually lead to the loss of civil liberties and to a dictatorial government.  On the other hand, if you obey the laws of the land, you will be contributing to society by helping to sustain a stable and liberty-respecting government.  (James Montgomery Boice, Romans, Vol. 4, The New Humanity, 1666)


The NT promise has been interpreted in different ways.  First, some take this promise of long life as referring to the community and not the individual.  Second, some think that those who honor their parents will generally literally live long, though “in some cases God’s providence orders otherwise.”  Third, some spiritualize the reference to long life and make it to refer to eternal life.  But that seems unlikely as the promise is that “they may live long in the land.”  Fourth, some think the focus should be on the phrase “that it may go well with you” and that Paul means that such “children will live to prove that their true welfare. . . depends on God.” . . . . Whatever the exact meaning of Paul’s interpretation of the blessing of keeping the fifth commandment may be, the general message is clear:  God will bless those who honor their parents.  The other side of this coin is also true:  if we do not honor our parents, we should not expect God to bless us.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 204-5)


When you resist or rebel against godly authority, you create a toxic environment in which it becomes impossible for prosperity, peace and unity to prevail. —Pastor Keith


Humor thy father and thy mother, they haven’t written their wills yet.


We have already seen that the fifth commandment comes to us in the context of freedom, which, in order to remain freedom, requires respect for law.  It is a naive notion that anarchy (a situation without authority, where each may do as he or she pleases) leads to true freedom.  An unrestrained people inevitably produces sooner or later a strong leader who brings order. . . and tyranny.  So the result is not freedom, but its opposite.  It is good to share and distribute authority, but it is absolutely disastrous when authority and respect for authority are absent.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 192)


Even a Communist dictatorship is better than no state at all.  The darkest days in Israel’s history were those days described in Jgs 17:6 when “everyone did as he saw fit.”  Just a few days (a few hours!) without law in today’s world and all would be chaos, just as in the book of Judges.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Romans, 243)


The OT notes that there are nevertheless those who do curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers (Prv 30:11; cf. Ez 22:7), but they do so at great peril.  (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 287)


Today people are reluctant to stick to relationships that they think are threats to their freedom to do what they want and feel like doing.  So commitment is seen as passé.  The loss of faith in the value of objective truth has resulted in people finding it difficult to stomach the applying of binding principles that determine faith and action.  In this environment Biblical preaching and exhortation has gone out of fashion.  Ways of disciplining children, which were normal in Biblical times, are regarded today as abusive treatment of children.  In such an environment we should not be surprised that people are finding it difficult to obey and honor their parents and to express that honor in costly commitment to their welfare.  People do not act with this type of commitment because they feel like doing it.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 197-8)


Perhaps one reason for the difference in the way helpless parents and helpless infants are treated is that the infants were rich with potential, and the parents found their identity in helping those infants reach that potential.  Elderly parents do not look like people with much potential, and in our marketing-oriented culture, going through a lot of trouble for such people is often considered a waste of time.  So often children try to see how they can avoid the nuisance associated with looking after aged parents.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 203)


One of the main teachings of the great love passage–1 Cor 12:31-14:1–is that love is not just a means to an end; it is an end in itself.”  For Christians the primary motivation for loving is not the prospect of the results that love produces.  It is that love is part of our lifestyle.  We love because we want to love.  Our reward is having the privilege of loving.  And if we have loved we have been successful.  Parental love is part of the Christian lifestyle.  So we do it whether those for whom we care are able to respond to that love or not.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 203)


Insecurity is one of the sad consequences of the disposable relationships that have become normal in society today.  People give up friends, churches, jobs, girlfriends and boyfriends, and even spouses when they become a nuisance.  They do not know the security that comes at the end of serious threats to a relationship that, after a heavy struggle, remains intact.  They are afraid to fully give themselves to a relationship because they do not know when they will have to end it.  If you do not give yourself fully to a relationship, you will not enjoy it fully, either.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 203)


Christians often do things they may not necessarily like to do.  They are not emotional cripples who want to do only what they like to do.  They are skilled in taking up their cross daily (Lk 9:23) and in giving their bodies as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1).  They know that their joy is not taken away by hardship, but that it can be taken away by disobedience.  Because our primary source of fulfillment–God–is not put off by the pain, and because the primary expression of that fulfillment–the joy of the Lord–can coexist with pain, we are able to go on without becoming disillusioned.

What a contrast this life of joy is to the guilt that people live with over not caring for their loved ones and to the unhappiness that is the inevitable result of a self-centered life.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 203-4)


The Fifth Commandment is explicit about the grace that comes from honoring one’s parents—“so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”  To begin with, honoring one’s father and mother would bring national/corporate grace to Israel in the form of extended prosperity in the land.  Obedient children were, and are, a national treasure.  Today’s children are tomorrow’s politicians and teachers and scientists and preachers.  And when they honor their parents in both the growth years and mature years, they effect a strength of character that diffuses grace and prosperity to all….The Fifth Commandment obeyed is a Word of corporate grace!

Individual Grace…long life…emphasized in its parallel expression in Dt 5:16 (“so that you may live long”) and in its exposition in Eph 6:3 (“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth”)….There are always exceptions, but the general rule is that unruly children who have rejected natural affection will lead shortened lives….Spiritual rebellion may then produce psychological aberrations—complexes, phobias, compulsive desires….Finally, physical trauma often results from rebellion—bad habits, drugs, violence, and illicit desires. (R. Kent Hughes; Disciplines of Grace,, 105)


Two benefits will accrue to those who observe the fifth commandment.  First, they will live long.  Second, the events of that long life will go well.  No other commandment of the Decalogue gives such specific blessings.  (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 72)


He wants to protect us from destructive thoughts and attitudes right now. And right now, if I settle this matter of honoring my parents, I can be a different person.  A son or daughter who forgives from the heart can be a different kind of parent to his or her own children.  An honorable parent.  A parent free from bitterness.  A parent–and a child–that the heavenly Father can bless and use in unimaginable ways.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 133)


You may have been hurt or abused or neglected because of their selfishness.  How do you honor such a parent?  How do you walk in obedience to the fifth command?  By forgiving him.  By forgiving her.  Forgiving means “to let go,” or “to send away.”  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 144)


Jesus knew what it meant to be ill-treated, abused, and falsely accused.  He knew what it meant to have loving words thrown right back in His face.  He knew how it felt to be betrayed and abandoned by someone close to Him.  He knew what it was to be so misunderstood by His own family that at one point they tried to have Him committed.  Yet He forgave.  He loved.  He laid down His life.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 145)


The Jewish tradition respects experience and the wisdom that comes with age.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that worships youth, looks, power, and health.  We have lost the sense that the elderly have anything to offer us.  By denying their worth, we cheapen the worth of society and find ourselves having to reinvent the wheel with each generation–cutting down the time we can actually benefit from those things that their wisdom could afford us.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 168-9)


Without respect, awe, and even appropriate fear of their parents’ disapproval, and all adults, and legitimate authority figures, our children become lost in the moral and emotional chaos of a Lord of the Flies culture, which they construct out of their untempered desires and impulses, immature decisions and reactions; in order words, they give in to the innate animal nature that has not yet been honed into honorable humanity by training, learning, and revering something bigger beyond themselves.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 131)


A rabbi is sitting next to an atheist on an airplane.  Every few minutes, one of the rabbi’s children or grandchildren would inquire about his needs for food, drink, or comfort.  The atheist commented, “The respect your children and grandchildren show you is wonderful.  Mine don’t show me that respect.”  The rabbi responded, “Think about it.  To my children and grandchildren, I am one step closer in a chain of tradition to the time when God spoke to the whole Jewish people on Mount Sinai.  To your children and grandchildren, you are one step closer to being an ape.”  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 133)


A state is essentially a body of men who have been covenanted together to maintain certain relationships between each other by the observance of certain laws.  Without these laws and the mutual agreement to observe them, the bad and selfish strong man would be supreme; the weaker would go to the wall; life would become ruled by the law of the jungle.  Every ordinary man owes his security to the state, and is therefore under a responsibility to it.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Romans, 174)


Criminals claim that they were rejected by parents, neighbors, schools, and employers, but rarely does a criminal say why he was rejected.  Even as a young child, he was sneaky and defiant, and the older he grew, the more he lied to his parents, stole and destroyed their property, and threatened them.  He made life at home unbearable as he turned even innocuous requests into a battleground.  He conned his parents to get whatever he wanted, or else he wore them down through endless argument.  It was the criminal who rejected his parents rather than vice versa.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 13)


As a child, the criminal shuts his parents out of his life because he doesn’t want them or anyone else to know what he is up to.  When a teenager skips school, hangs out at a pool hall, joyrides, drinks, smokes pot, and steals from stores, it should be no surprise that he tells his parents little about his day.  In fact, he will greet parental interest and concern with accusations that the parent is prying into his business.  No matter how hard they try, mothers and fathers cannot penetrate the secrecy, and they discover that they do not know their own child.  He is the kid who remains the family mystery. (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 18)


Despite a multitude of differences in their backgrounds and crime patterns, criminals are alike in one way:  how they think. …All regard the world as a chessboard over which they have total control, and they perceive people as pawns to be pushed around at will.  Trust, love, loyalty, and teamwork are incompatible with their way of life.  They scorn and exploit most people who are kind, trusting, hardworking, and honest.  Toward a few they are sentimental but rarely considerate.  Some of their most altruistic acts have sinister motives.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 20)


Beginning as early as during the preschool years, patterns evolve that become part of a criminal lifestyle.  As a child, the criminal is a dynamo of energy, a being with an iron will, insistent upon taking charge, expecting others to indulge his every whim.  His appetite for adventure is voracious.  He takes risks, becomes embroiled in difficulties, and then demands to be bailed out and forgiven.  No matter how his parents try to understand and guide him, they are thwarted at every turn.  This youngster is unlike most other children, including his own sisters and brothers.  While the others are seeking recognition through schoolwork, sports, or social activities, this child thumbs his nose at it all.  He establishes himself by doing what is forbidden.  His mother and father do not perceive a pattern unfolding but assume that his waywardness is merely a stage of development.  This “stage,” however, never ends.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 26)


CONCLUSION/APPLICATION: From where does instruction and example come for children to know how to honor their parents?




Children may close their ears to advice, but they open their eyes to example.


The obligation for each generation to honor their parents is for their own sake so that their children will eventually care for them.  Perhaps this is meant by the promised “lengthening of your days.”  If we take care of our parents, our children will take care of us, helping us to live longer.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 147)


Let a nation have good mothers, and she will have good sons. — Napoleon


Many parents are too busy to parent at all, so they settle for being a buddy to their child.  They forget their responsibility to teach them.  In Hebrews, the word horim, “parents,” is related to the word moreh, “teacher.”  Parents are teachers of faith and morality.  What God is to the world, parents are to their children.  Unfortunately, some parents become so focused on the element of friendship or their own convenience, comfort, self-fulfillment, happiness, or love life that they forget their job is to help mold moral character so their children will have the strength to do what is right in a world that sometimes encourages them to do otherwise.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 129-30)


Minnesota Crime Commision late 70’s early 80’s released a statement concerning crime & children:

“Every baby starts life as a little savage.  He is completely selfish and self-centered.  He wants what he wants—when he wants it.  His bottle, his mother, attention, his playmate’s toy, his uncle’s watch.  Deny him these and he seethes with rage and agressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless.

He is dirty, he has no words, no knowledge, no skills.  This means that all children, not just certain children, but all children are born delinquent.  If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy; given free reign to his impulsive acting to satisfy his wants; every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, or a rapist.”


Parents either practice what they preach or become the surest means yet devised by humans or the devil of sending their children to hell.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 335)


Children need pats on the back.  One high enough to encourage them when they do right, and one low enough to discourage them when they do wrong.  Effective discipline requires knowing which end of the child to pat.


When parents allow their kids to argue about every order or assignment, there is an authority problem in the family–and it doesn’t necessarily belong to the children.  There are plenty of parents who either have refused to accept the authority that goes with having children or have not realized they are supposed to take it.

During the sixties all authority came under question, and today we are living with the consequences.  Although respect for authority died three decades ago, authority itself did not.  The world is still set up in such a manner that God, as Creator, has authority over it, and He has given parents authority over their children so they will learn respect and obedience from a loving source.

Children know instinctively that someone has to be in control, and they figure “Why not me?”  When a parent stumbles at all in this area, questioning even for a moment his or her own authority, children jump at the chance to step in and take over.  If this happens regularly, the parents may as well say, “Look, being the authority is too much trouble, so whenever it’s easier for me, you can be your own authority.”  One of the many problems with this scenario is that the child is somehow supposed to read the parent’s mind and know who’s in charge of every different situation.  This, of course, is impossible and leads to the kind of scene we see so often in public places:  parents begging for obedience. (Jay Kesler; Ten Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers, 19-20)


We must re-endow our elderly with the respect they deserve, to see them as national treasures rather than national relics.  “It is true that youth is bursting with strength and vigor, but a person’s worth is not to be measured by physical endowments.  The body is but an accessory of the soul” (Rabbi Naftali Reich, Legacy).  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 169)


Thanks to the invention of the printed word and other forms of modern communication, older people, including parents, are less indispensable than earlier.  It used to be that parents passed on stories orally, but now you can read them in books.  According to some, this is one of the factors that can explain why youngsters no longer respect older people and their own parents.  They need their parents for instruction, for occupational preparation, and for future direction far less today than young people did in previous centuries.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 163)


Yahweh rewards children who honor their parents who have passed on to them His commandments.  Such children will enjoy a long life in the Promised Land (Ex 20:12), and it will go well for them there (Dt 5:16).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 166-7)


A group of adult inmates in a Minnesota prison brain stormed 77 ideas in response to being questioned about how schools could help eliminate crime.  Their suggestions revealed a perspective unchanged from childhood, namely that schools should cater to the student and make few demands of him.  Among the inmates’ suggestions were “more spontaneity,” “dump dress codes,” “more rap sessions,” “supervise kids and not teach them,” “let kids teach some classes,” “let students choose teachers.”  Additional proposals were offered, but most were directed toward giving students free reign while requiring little personal responsibility.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 72)


Because of the close parallel between Dt 5:16 and 4:40, we can assume that the basic issue in this commandment was the continuity of the covenant.  Parents were responsible for teaching their children the covenant, and the result was that both children and parents would prosper in the land and see the fulfillment of the covenant promise of God.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 106)


Thus far, I was dealing with what Mrs. Wesley called “follies and inadvertencies.”  Then we turned a corner.

They do not emanate from willful, haughty disobedience.  In my opinion, spankings should be reserved for the moment a child (age ten or less) expresses a defiant “I will not!” or “You shut up!”  When a youngster tries this kind of stiff-necked rebellion, you had better take it out of him, and pain is a marvelous purifier.  When nose to nose confrontation occurs between you and your child, it is not the time to have a discussion about the virtues of obedience.  It is not the occasion to send him in his room to pout.  It is not appropriate to wait until poor, tired old dad comes plodding in from work, just in time to handle the conflicts of the day.  You have drawn a line in the dirt, and the child has deliberately flopped his big hairy toe across it.  Who is going to win?  Who has the most courage?  Who is in charge here?  If you do not answer these questions conclusively for the child, he will precipitate other battles designed to ask them again and again.  It is the ultimate paradox of childhood that a youngster wants to be controlled, but he insists that his parents earn the right to control him.

The tougher the temperament of the child, the more critical it is to “shape his will” early in life.  However, I must hasten to repeat the familiar disclaimers that have accompanied all my other writings on this subject.  I am not recommending harshness and rigidity in child-rearing techniques!  I don’t believe in parental oppression, and indeed, our own children were not raised in such an atmosphere.  Furthermore, I want to make it clear that corporal punishment is not to be imposed on babies. (Dr. James C. Dobson; Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, 91-2)


Manipulations!  It’s a game any number can play, right in the privacy of your own home.  The objective is to obtain power over the other players, as we have seen.  It will come as no surprise to parents, I’m sure, that children can be quite gifted at power games.  That is why it is important for mothers and fathers to consider this characteristic as they attempt to interpret childish behavior.  Another level of motivation lies below the surface issues that seemingly cause conflicts between generations.  For example, when a three-year-old runs away in a supermarket, or when a nine-year-old refuses to straighten his room, or when a twelve-year-old continues to bully his little brother, or when a sixteen-year-old smokes cigarettes or drinks liquor, they are making individual statements about power.  Their rebellious behavior usually represents more than a desire to do what is forbidden.  Rather, it is an expression of independence and self-assertion.  It is also a rejection of adult authority, and therein lies the significance for us. (Dr. James C. Dobson; Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, 112)


Worship Point:  Worship the God Who loves us and wants us all to enjoy the best possible life here on a fallen planet.  That can only happen when we have a proper regard for authority.  


The laws of God are not illogical mandates drawn up whimsically by some uncaring god wielding lightning bolts.  They are sensible rules, founded on a Divine logic.  In fact, if you sit down and analyze the Ten Commandments, you’ll see they are the shortest, most concise, perfect guarantee for the greatest good for the greatest number ever imaginable.  They are Divine stop signs.  (Jay Kesler; Ten Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers, 49)


The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was entertaining a visitor one day when the conversation turned to children.  “I believe,” said the visitor, “that children should be given a free rein to think and act, and thus learn at an early age to make their own decisions.  This is the only way they can grow into their full potential.”

“I would like you to see my flower garden,” Coleridge interrupted his visitor, and he led the man outside.  The visitor took one look and exclaimed, “Why this is nothing but a yard full of weeds!”

“It used to be filled with roses,” said Coleridge, “but this year I thought I would let the garden grow as it willed without my tending to it.  This is the result.”


Someone has properly said that the opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is indifference.  It’s safe to say that few, if any, parents have hated their child, but many have been indifferent to their child’s interests.  When you never get up from the chair and walk across the room to look at something that has been laid out in Legos or blocks, when you never admire a picture that has been colored within the lines, when you never listen with interest to a new song that has been learned, you set a negative tone of rejection.  (Jay Kesler; Ten Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers, 82)


Gospel Application:  Only Jesus perfectly fulfilled the comprehensive implications of the fifth commandment.  Look to Jesus to have credited to your account what you are never going to be able to accomplish.


This spiritual legacy has three major aspects.  First, every person is born in the image of God, with a God-given personality and distinct abilities (Gn 1:26-27).  Second, every person is born with a sin nature, a general bent toward evil inherited from Adam (Rom 5:12).  And third, each of us has a specific bent or tendency toward evil handed down from our immediate forefathers.  (Charles R. Swindoll; You and Your Child, 11)


The sentimentality, art, and music, the isolated acts of kindness all support the criminal’s inherent view that he is a good person.  He sincerely believes that any sin he might have committed is more than compensated for by the good that he has done.  When others praise him for a good deed or for a talent or skill, he assumes that they are voicing their unqualified approval of him as a human being.

Some criminals are religious, and this figures prominently in their good opinion of themselves.

…As with everything else, the criminal exploits religion to serve his own purposes.  He not only presents God with his list of wants, but he also asks God to be an accessory to his crimes.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 168-9)


Spiritual Challenge: See every authority as having been established by God.  But, a proper conformity to the fifth commandment can only begin when we have properly observed commandments 1 through 4.


When a teenager questions us, it’s usually not because he or she wants to be sassy or question our authority or be disobedient.  Teens simply want to know where we got our information and why we believe what we believe and why we want them to do certain things.  (Jay Kesler; Ten Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers, 45)


“Why do I have to do this?”  When the question comes, you had better know the answer.  (Jay Kesler; Ten Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers, 46)


As a child, the criminal has contempt not only for his parents’ advice and authority but for the way they live, no matter what their social and economic circumstances.  To him, their lives are plodding, dull, and barren.  If his parents are poor, he scorns their lack of success.  If they are affluent, he scoffs at their achievements. …To him, having a good time is what life is all about.  Work and other duties have nothing to do with having a good time.  “What is life for?  You live it and die,” said one delinquent from a middle-class family.  He had decided that he would live as he saw fit and not be a slave as his parents were.  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 39)


The criminal values people only insofar as they bend to his will or can be coerced or manipulated into doing what he wants.  He has been this way since childhood, and by the time he is an adult he has a self-centered view of the world in which he believes that he is entitled to whatever he wants. (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 95)


If the criminal is later held accountable, he blames the victim for the violence because he interfered in the successful execution of the crime.  Exclaimed one man who shot his victim during a robbery, “That man must have been nuts!  It wasn’t my fault that he was crazy enough to risk his life over the fifty bucks in his wallet.   …“If I started feeling bad, I’d say to myself ‘tough rocks for him.  He should have had his house locked better and the alarm on.’”  (Stanton E. Samenow; Inside the Criminal Mind, 115)


So What?:  We will never enjoy the security, stability, encouragement, and prosperity God desires for us to have unless or until we honor authorities.


Randall Terry

Question:  In a Christian republic based on biblical law, would non-Christian religions be banned or would they have as much freedom as they have now?

People who reject the Law of God cannot bear to be consistent with their own lawless world. They’ll say, “The seventh commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ —that’s not binding for today.”  But they don’t want someone sleeping with their spouse.  They don’t want someone stealing their car.  They don’t want somebody usurping their parent’s authority.  So it’s funny that they mock us, but in a world without the law of God, you have chaos, oppression, tyranny and everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.  And they cannot bear consistency with that chaotic world.  It terrifies them.  If they were to be successful in eradicating the Law of God and the mores of Christian civilization, what would they have?  They would have the collapse of their whole world.  Just go to a country that doesn’t have the Ten Commandments as its foundation.  Go to a chaotic Hindu nation, some of the African nations, or a Muslim nation.  Look at the oppression, the tyranny, the chaos.  Do they want that?  It’s the Law of God that gave the stability to Christian civilization that they enjoy while they mock us.  When the Planned Parenthood types and People For the American Way folks say all great world religions are basically the same, I want to laugh.  Go to Haiti where witchcraft is one of the dominant religions.  Go to a voodoo hut and look at the little skulls of little children.  Go to India and talk to some of the women who used to be child prostitutes in Hindu Temples.  Or maybe go see a widow tied to her husband’s funeral pyre against her will and burned to death.  This is the fruit of a non-Christian religion.  Or go to the Mohammedan countries and look at the oppression of women there.  Where would you rather be a Buddhist?  In Tibet or in America? — Where would you rather be a Hindu?  Downtown Madras or America? — Where would you rather be a woman Muslim?  In Tehran or in America?

The umbrage of Christian freedom because of the Founder’s love for the Law of God gives more liberties, freedoms, rights and protections to Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims than countries based upon their own religion.

For those who would say:  “Go to Holland.  They have euthanasia, legalized drugs, homosexual rights.” I would say:  “Go to Holland.”  Look at that country.  Look at the venereal disease, the suicide rate among kids, the lives destroyed by drugs.  Look at the women whose lives have been destroyed on street after street of legalized prostitution.  That is a country that is debauched and is dying.  If people want America to become like Holland, my advice to them would be:  “Go to Holland.”


Sociologist and historian Carle Zimmerman, in his 1947 book  Family and Civilization, recorded his keen observations as he compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures. Eight specific patterns of domestic behavior typified the downward spiral of each culture Zimmerman studied.

*Marriage loses its sacredness…is frequently broken by divorce.

*Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.

*Feminist movements abound.

*Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general.

*Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion.

*Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities.

*Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery.

*Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.  (Chuck Swindoll, The Quest For Character, 90)


Cubicles of Authority by Molly Marsh

We each are inclined

To build our own cubicles

around our ego.

They are constructed

Of our own authority,

Maintained to endure.


Little do we know

They are imprisoning us,

Not protecting us.


They have blocked God’s love.

Cubicles are meaningless

When we put God first.


We need give to God

Our self-sought authority:

Then walls are removed.


We become aware

And enlightened by God’s love . . .

Dark cubicles flee.


Choose to give all your

Authority to Jesus\.

He died, to save you.


Ask to receive him . . .

Let cubicles fall away . . .

Fully LIVE God’s LOVE.


Bosses and supervisors want employees who will follow instructions and avoid hassles with co-workers.  Incidentally, in another study of people who were fired from their places of employment, fewer than 20 percent lost their jobs for the lack of technical knowledge and skill.  More than 80 percent were released because of their inability to get along with people.  That is their Achilles heel, despite their aptitude for a particular kind of work.  Thus, the easy-going young man or woman has a distinct advantage in early positions of employment.  That is precisely what we found.  (Dr. James C. Dobson; Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, 47-8)




Love is the chain whereby to bind

a child to his parents.  — Abraham Lincoln




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