The Fourth Commandment
Respect, obey, love, and serve all authorities!
This commandment is an invitation to be an active participant in the good for your family and society. You can work for reconciliation in all areas of your life. In our families and familial relationships we can learn to live in an atmosphere of patience and forgiveness. Even though this commandment seems one sided (directed to the sons and daughters), I think the love and care of parents is presumed by God. We are echoing God’s love that is already for us as God’s children.
What about those families, though, that are seriously broken? Are we supposed to honor someone that is abusive or neglectful? What about families where divorce, separation and other problems have ripped apart the fabric of the family and added or replaced some members with virtual strangers? What then, you might ask in frustration? Remember that the Ten Commandments flow from the first, and love is at the center. God is a loving God. So when the attitudes and actions are not loving toward you or even God’s self, you can be an agent of change. When home life is dangerous or harmful to you, that is when you are to obey the authorities that God has called to get you into safety or those that are working to build back harmony. To be clear, God does NOT require us to blindly honor wicked parents or authorities. We have a brain and God wants us to use it. If you are unclear about this, talk to your pastor or someone in authority that you trust and can help you to understand a way forward.
For further study, check out:
Deut. 6:6-7 Matthew 18:15 Romans 12:17 Ephesians 4:15 Ephesians 4:26 Ephesians 6:4 Colossians 3:13
Thanking God for the help and support of parents and those who lead and serve to protect the family.
Ask God to watch over your family and all families.
Pray for strength and patience with those who are working to help families.
Pray for those who are victims of abuse.
Pray for church leaders and governmental authorities, that they would lead and guide with integrity.