Ellen G. White Writings

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Homeward Bound, Page 277

Parents, Set the Right Example, September 8

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.—Ephesians 6:1.

The best way to educate children to respect their father and mother, is to give them the opportunity of seeing the father offering kindly attentions to the mother, and the mother rendering respect and reverence to the father. It is by beholding love in their parents, that children are led to obey the fifth commandment and to heed the injunction, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth.”

When children have unbelieving parents, and their commands contradict the requirements of Christ, then, painful though it may be, they must obey God and trust the consequences with Him. The Lord has expressly enjoined the duty upon children of honoring their father and their mother. As they have opportunity and ability, they are kindly to care for their parents. This commandment to children stands at the head of the last six precepts which show our duty to others. But while children are commanded to obey their parents, parents are also instructed to exercise their authority with wisdom. Paul writes, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Great care should be exercised by parents lest they treat their children in such a way as to provoke obstinacy, disobedience, and rebellion. Parents often stir up the worst passions of the human heart, because of their lack of self-control. They correct them in a spirit of anger, and rather confirm them in their evil ways and defiant spirit, than influence them in the way of right. By their own arbitrary spirit they thrust their children under Satanic influences, instead of rescuing them from the snares of Satan by gentleness and love. How sad it is that many parents who profess to be Christians, are not converted! Christ does not abide in their hearts by faith. While professing to be followers of Jesus, they disgust their children, and, by their violent, unforgiving temper, make them averse to all religion. It is little wonder that the children become cold and rebellious toward their parents. And yet children are not excused for disobedience because of their parents’ unsanctified ways.

O that every family professing to be devoted to God, were so in deed and in truth! Then would Christ be represented in the home-life, and parents and children would represent Him in the church, and what happiness would exist!—Review and Herald, November 15, 1892.

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