Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
–Proverbs 1:8

In the opening chapter of Proverbs, the wisest man of his time urges us to heed what we learned from our parents. Solomon wrote, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). He also wrote, “A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (13:1). Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon stresses the importance of the parent-child relationship.

The Bible is clear that God also understands the importance of the relationship between parents and children. It is no accident that in the Ten Commandments, the first commandment that addresses human relationships deals with the parent-child relationship: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12). What exactly does it mean to “honor your father and your mother”?

As children, to honor our parents means to obey our parents. If you are a child or a teenager, one of the primary ways God directs your life is through your parents. God set into order a chain of command in every part of society, and He communicates through that chain of command.

If you are a young adult, this commandment has a different meaning. God’s plan for us is to move from dependence on our parents to independence. Genesis 2:24 says, “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” This is not just a physical leaving but also an emotional leaving. There comes a time when you emotionally leave your father and mother to cleave to the spouse God has ordained for you.

When you marry, your relationship with your parents changes. They are no longer your authority figures; nevertheless, you ought to seek their advice. It does not mean you have to follow their advice all the time, but you would be wise to seek it. Your duty as a young adult is not to obey your parents but to respect your parents.

In Proverbs 6:20-23, Solomon said, “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” Throughout our lives, we ought to consider and apply the godly counsel we may have received from our parents.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Honoring Your Parents” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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