In this world where many people live by whatever standard is right in their own eyes,
where truth is relative, we can see how the idea of Authority and child discipline are words that leave a sour taste in their mouths. I have seen firsthand in a society where the principle of Biblical authority and child discipline generally is not practiced, you can see the results even as high as in the government. Without consistent discipline, whoever threatens the best has his way. We will discuss this below.
Children and Parents
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Slaves and Masters
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. 9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who instituted authority. In your world of subjectivism and relativism, I created authority structures on earth to reflect my authority structure in heaven. In me, words like submission to those placed above you are not bad words of power mongering and dictatorship. Within my Godhead they are mutual, and servant hood is motivated by love and honor. So too, this mutuality must be modeled in the home and taught to your children early on so that when they grow up, they can function with proper honor in society on all levels of interaction. From children to parents and children at school, all the way up to adults under the authority of employers, and various levels of government (See Romans 13).
Fathers, and all persons of authority, the phrase “do not exasperate” means to live a life of consistency, integrity and living by My principles as revealed in My Word as an example to your children and to others; do not exasperate those under you by inconsistent living and/or unpredictable expectations. Don’t change the boundaries or goals without cause or reason. Nothing undermines your authority in the home or workplace more than when those under your care do not know how to act so as to please you. And by all means confess and apologize when you fail in your responsibilities of modeling proper authority. Children, slaves, and whoever lives under the authority of another, give honor to them that are over you. Men in particular tend to function better when they feel that they are honored and respected in their positions, and they tend to pass that respect back to you when they know you mean it. Thus this passage contains a self fulfilling promise of mine to you. When they see that honor reflected in honest work they will reward you with honor and more responsibility. I will see to that; “He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.” “He who sees in secret will reward you openly.” So whether you are under someone’s authority or over someone else; perform in your function by faith knowing that I AM watching and will recompense you accordingly.
I remember when flying in one of our small planes, I overheard a mother of a small child behind me warning her unruly child, that if he did not settle down during the flight, then I as a white person sitting close, (and as many parents tell their children in this country), would turn around and eat his fingers off. The kid piped down right away when I turned and smiled at him (I couldn’t help myself).
In cultures where the Bible is not the historical norm or standard for raising children, there is a tendency not to have consistent discipline, rather in order to attain obedience from children, it is necessary to threaten to use physical force to curb unruly behavior. I live in one such culture where young kids, who are called “insects” or “monkeys” get under the skin of their adult counterparts, the adults (or anyone older than themselves) will find sticks and rocks to threaten and chase them into submission. Children’s responses to not getting their ways have “Temper tantrums.” Usually involving crying uncontrollably for what seems like hours on end in a “sing song” like wail. These tendencies are reflected all the way up to adulthood in society where the police only threaten action until they are fed up and finally use excessive force like burning down entire villages. Inconsistency is the norm. Exasperation is reflected among the adult citizenry by actions such as road blocks, destroying communication towers, and putting logs across the national airport’s runways to disrupt the government’s functions until the people get what they want, whether promised by the government or perceived to be.
God shows us a bit of his character in this passage in that one thing we can be sure of is the consistency of God’s faithfulness to follow through on what he says that he will do by His Word. Every story of the Old and New Testaments show us this so that we can trust Him in all things and as a result, we too can live our lives consistently accordingly. This is why it is important to believe in God’s Word as authoritative truth in this life. God is truth, and we can take him at his word.
More to come,