Does loving God mean I have to agree with my parents?
A few months ago, my family had a discussion about me working at a camp as a teen counselor. The problem was, Dad, and Mom agreed that I should go, but I didn’t think I should.
I had so many great reasons why I shouldn’t go. I mean if I went, I would have to miss out on some ministry opportunities here at home. And am I really qualified to be a counselor? I mean kids look up to their counselors . . . would I be a good example? I’m nineteen and the idea of being in charge of a room full of teenage girls sounds CRAZY!
I had so many fears and concerns, I didn’t want to go and I didn’t feel like God was giving me any reasons to go, but my parents wanted me to go. We’ve all faced situations like this before.
Your parents don’t want you listening to a certain kind of music, but you don’t think there’s anything wrong with it and God hasn’t told you not to listen to it. Or maybe it’s more serious. Maybe your parents want you to marry someone, or don’t want you to marry someone, and you don’t agree with them. Shouldn’t God give you directions that agreed with your parents’ wishes?
You’ve all heard people say things like ‘You can’t let your family run my life. It’s your life, and you need to make your own decisions’. But is that really right? Yes, we wanted to make our own decisions, but we can’t really ignore our parents’ wishes either.
So I began doing some serious thinking. I asked myself what the most important thing in my life should be, and I came to the conclusion, that the Bible is right. The greatest command is to love the Lord with ALL of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I knew that was what I wanted. But how does that relate to listening to my parents?
The Bible says in John14:15, that if we love God, we WILL keep HIS commandments. The Bible commands us to honor and obey our parents, so therefore, if we love God, we will keep his commandment and honor and obey our parents. You’ll notice, if you study the Bible, that it doesn’t say we only have to honor our parents when they deserve it. Neither does it say that we only have to honor and obey them until we’re over eighteen and then we can do what we want. It doesn’t give any excuses, just a command. Honor your parents.
So I came to the conclusion, that if I love God, I will obey His commandments and honor and obey my parents all the time. The only exception being when a parent commands you to do something that is forbidden in the Bible. Like if your parents tell you to steal, then you don’t have to obey because the Bible says in Acts 5:29 ‘…we ought to obey God rather than men.’ But if you have saved parents, you shouldn’t have to deal with that.
I studied the Scriptures and there wasn’t a single verse that told me NOT to go to camp. So even though I wasn’t at peace about it, and I wasn’t excited about it, I sent in an application with faith that if God didn’t want me to go, He wouldn’t let me get accepted. It was what my parent wanted, and to love God, I had to keep His commandments by obeying my parents.
Then I got accepted. At first I was a little bewildered. I mean didn’t God know that I wasn’t supposed to be accepted? Then it all clicked. God’s not so concerned with which ministry I’m working with, as He is with my attitude about it. God wasn’t trying to make me doubt myself; He was trying to help me learn to trust. Now, I’m EXCITED about going to camp this summer! I can’t wait to see how God’s going to work in my life, and how He’s going to use me to work in the lives of others! Yet even with this lesson, I still don’t always do exactly what my parents want me to do without questioning them. Yes, I SHOULD always do what my parents want me to do without questioning them.
It sounds crazy, that as a young adult, I would feel like we ought to honor our parents’ decisions in a day when young people are told to follow their dreams. It’s your life to live, and don’t let others tell you how to live it! Yes, I believe we should pursue the dreams God gives us, but I believe before our dreams, should come our obedience to the obvious commands in Scripture. Because it’s when we obey God, that we love God. And loving God is the GREATEST command of all.
How are you doing with keeping the Greatest Commandment? Are you loving God? Are you keeping His commands? Are you honoring your parents?