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I’m having a hard time figuring out whether the “children obey your parents” verses apply to adult children as well. My parents feel I need to obey them until I am married, but I’m pretty sure God directed those verses at children who were still being reared. What’s your opinion? And if it’s true that I don’t need to obey my parents anymore, how do I proceed to have a good relationship with my parents?
This is a really good question. As you know, I work for my parents, so we have the added layer of boss in the mix—it’s made for some very interesting “discussions” over the years. I can’t say it’s always easy, but I do know that when I speak calmly and seek to understand where they are coming from, they are much more apt to listen to me as well.
I don’t think you always have to obey your parents.
(Mom and Dad, please don’t fire me.)
I believe you can honor your parents by thanking them for their desire to instruct and give you wisdom. And when you find yourself disagreeing, I would simply ask them about the “why” behind their request. Unless your parents are malicious, the main reason they are instructing you to do or not do something is most likely because they care. Granted, some parents operate more out of fear than rationality, but usually their love for you is still at the root of it all. If their request is based in fear, asking questions should hopefully help reveal that as the root issue.
Once you can unpack their fear, then you can hopefully work together to dispel it.
Now, if they have fears that are founded in your foolishness, then you can hopefully understand and be empathetic to their reasoning. And I would genuinely ask them what you could do to rebuild their trust so their fears could eventually be laid to rest.
Unfortunately, the reality is that some parents are stubborn just for the sake of being stubborn. As much as you try to have a mature conversation with them, you and your parents just may not see eye to eye.
So, then what?
If you are an adult and no longer living under their roof or being supported by them financially, then you really are free to make the final call.
You can thank them for loving you and caring about your well-being, but let them know that you have sought other wise counsel, prayed about _______, and feel a freedom in your spirit to move forward. (If this is the truth.) Respectfully thank your parents for their input and pray they can understand that you have no desire to disobey or hurt them, but that you don’t feel like _______ is wrong for you.
Ultimately, it’s between you and God.
And you know if you are manipulating the situation or not; if you use my suggestions and say, “Well, Joy said I don’t have to listen to you…” then you are completely missing the point and I hope your parents ground you. I DONT CARE IF YOU’RE 35!
The main point is this: Sometimes we feel a freedom to do something that someone else doesn’t feel the freedom to do—it doesn’t mean either person is sinning. That’s pretty clear in Scripture.
Ask your parents to pray before you discuss your conflicting opinions. Be open to having your mind changed as you both seek to listen to each other’s point of view and trust that your parents’ hearts are invested. Sometimes they get emotional and heated because most likely…they love you.
If not, you could always take the Macaulay Culkin route and divorce them.
From my Home Alone loving heart,
p.s. Check out another similar question to yours HERE.
p.p.s. Now if you were 13 and your parents had just given you an iPhone… (read about this story HERE).
p.p.p.s. See the discussion about the iPhone article on our LRN Facebook page HERE.
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.