Do You Still Have to Obey Your Parents as an Adult?

Psalm 68:6 (NIV) – God places the lonely in families…

When our children were little, I would tuck them into bed, pray with them, read Scripture with them, and sing with them. One night, one of the kids asked what the Trinity was like. 

I was straining to explain this complex concept, and so I said, “The Trinity is three Persons who love each other so much, and do everything together, so that they are united as one.” That child then said, “Oh, so God is like a loving family!” 

Proverbs 15:20 – A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Jerry was in his eighties, and his son Jordan was in his sixties. The father and son were both Christians and spent a lot of time over the years hunting, fishing, and fixing up old cars. Marybeth was Jerry’s wife for more than 60 years and Jordan’s loving and wonderful mother. Marybeth died, leaving Jerry living alone with declining health. Jordan and his wife loved Jerry and were concerned about his ability to care for himself. 

So, they moved him into their home, giving him a guest room, taking on the responsibility as caregivers. Soon, they found that Jerry had a lot of opinions, and felt free to frequently boss Jordan around, telling him what to do. At first, Jordan and his wife endured Jerry’s boorishness, sympathetic to his difficult season of life, and prayerfully and patiently hoped things would improve. Sadly, they did not. 

Jerry, Jordan, and Jordan’s wife attended the church I pastored at the time and asked to meet with me. I was a young pastor in my late twenties or early thirties. We all sat down in my office, I opened our time in prayer, and I asked them to share with me how I might be able to help them. Jerry explained that the problem was Jordan’s unwillingness to do what he was told. 

I asked Jerry why he thought he had the right to frequently tell Jordan what to do and why he expected Jordan’s obedience. Jerry said, “The Bible says to obey your father. I’m the father. He needs to obey me.” I kindly told Jerry that, since his son was old enough to retire from work, he also had the right to make his own decisions. 

For Christians who want to obey the Bible, the key is to obey all of it and not just parts of it. When it comes to the relationship between parents and adult children, understanding and applying the four most significant Scriptures is important. Failure to understand and obey these Scriptures is what causes many relational pains and problems, which we’ll look at more in the next couple of days.

Honor your parents by finding reasons to be thankful, including the fact that they gave you life. Even though they may have made your life difficult, recognize that God can use it to make you a stronger and godlier person for future generations of your family.

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