He Who Mistreats His Parents Brings Reproach




He who Mistreats his Parents Brings Reproach


In the midst of two lengthy New Testament series of condemnations, a somewhat surprising entry appears.


The first appears in what we call the initial chapter of Paul’s letter to the first century church of Christ at Rome. It describes the behavior of certain pagans who did not see fit to acknowledge God and did what ought not have been done–a list of sins that includes the expectable murder and maliciousness, but which also adds being “disobedient to parents.”

The second series is also the work of the prolific apostle, a second personal and canonical letter to the young evangelist, Timothy. In its third chapter, Paul describes a wave of individual apostasy that will come to define this last dispensation of human history. His list is another rogues’ gallery of infamy – arrogance, abusiveness, treacherousness, but again, disobedience to parents shows up.


Its dual inclusion will surprise many modern readers who have simply come to accept that children – especially teenagers, but even tweens and toddlers – will revel in disobedience. “Boys will be boys,” they aver, but that does nothing to explain the burgeoning disrespectfulness of the girls. It does nothing at all, actually, to excuse any child disobeying parents.


Rebellion seems to be a rite of passage for children these days and perhaps it has ever been so. The disappearance of corporal punishment, however, seems to have intensified the severity of the rebellion. It is not uncommon to hear young people speak disdainfully of their parents, even in front of them and in public. So many parents appear impotent to deal with the disrespect, which only feeds the rebellion. It is a rebellious attitude that can often be transferred onto all authority – legal, educational, social and divine. Yes, souls can ultimately be lost because the home was not structured with mutual respect, but parental authority.


Wisdom calls again from the Hebrew proverbs: “He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach” (Proverbs 19:26). Strangely, that describes quite well the circumstances of many homes where children mock their fathers and reject their mothers’ wisdom and emotion. It is heartbreak for the parents and self-destruction for the children and yet it persists. While many are able to repair the damage a few years later, those intervening years can be marked by great misery and foolish choices.


It is axiomatic that children should obey their parents in the Lord, for the promise involves great blessing, both on Earth and in eternity. So many foolish decisions can be averted and Heaven is so much more within reach when the young respect those who gave them life and seek their welfare.


–Jeff Smith (Woodmont Beacon, Aug. 12, 2012)





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