5.3.5.5 The Fourth Commandment in modern life

Regardless of their age, children have the unaltered task of honouring their parents.

If their relationship with one another is characterised by love and trust, parents can expect obedience of their children. Adolescents are called upon to become aware of all the care their parents have shown them in the course of their childhood and youth. This leads to a thankful disposition. Esteem and respect should be perceptible in their dealings with parents, as well as in their conversations with them and about them.

There is also an obligation for parents that arises from the Fourth Commandment: they bear a high degree of responsibility in raising their children, and are to ensure–through their own God-pleasing conduct–that they do not make it difficult for their children to esteem them. Through the way in which they treat, speak with, and speak of their own parents and parents-in-law, parents set an example for their children. It is conducive to a harmonious family life when parents and children treat one another with love and thereby build up and maintain a relationship of trust.

Fulfilling the Fourth Commandment also entails loving acceptance of one's parents even in high age. If one's conduct is characterised by thankfulness, love, and trust, the Fourth Commandment is fulfilled and the blessing of God can rest upon it. In the conception of the Old Testament, "long life" is an expression for God's blessing. In the new covenant this blessing reveals itself primarily in spiritual gifts.

SUMMARY

The regulations that apply to interpersonal relationships begin with the Fourth Commandment. It does not contain any prohibition, but rather demonstrates a God-pleasing mode of conduct. (5.3.5)

In addition to the obligation of children to honour their parents, parents also have obligations, namely to provide for their children and set an example for them. (5.3.5.5)

If the commandment is fulfilled, it attracts the blessing of God. (5.3.5.5)

See also