Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3

Should children always obey their parents?

Colossians 3:20

Christians desire in all things to do what pleases God (Ephesians 5:10). God is completely good (Matthew 5:48); therefore, to please God, Christians should always do what is right and good.

God wants families to be strong in their relationships, both with the other family members, and with God (Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Psalm 78:1-7; Malachi 4:6). Therefore, his command is that children should respect and obey both of their parents (Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:1-3). That duty is not just for young children; it continues for as long as the parents remain alive (Mark 7:9-13). So when the parent becomes old, the children have a duty to look after him or her (1 Timothy 5:4).

However, God’s law does not force the child to obey any wrong or evil instructions that a parent may give. So the child can only obey the parent’s instructions when that pleases God. Even when the child cannot obey his parents, he must still respect them. He must never insult them or act cruelly towards them. Instead, a Christian child should pray for his parents – especially if they are not yet Christians. That child should remember that God is eager to forgive his parents and to change their lives (Isaiah 55:1-7; Matthew 11:28-30). Christ died so that they too can receive a right relationship with God (John 3:16). God wants those parents to invite him into their lives.

In many parts of our world today, few children truly respect their parents. Christian children should behave differently; and that is powerful evidence of what God has done in their lives.

Next part: Advice to parents: do not stir up strong emotions in a child (Colossians 3:21)


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