1Children with good sense
from their parents,
but stubborn children
ignore it completely.
2You will be well rewarded
for saying something kind,
but all some people think about
is how to be cruel and mean.
3 Keep what you know to yourself,
and you will be safe;
talk too much,
and you are done for.
4No matter how much you want,
laziness won't help a bit,
but hard work will reward you
with more than enough.
We know we are to honor our mothers and fathers (refer to the 10 commandments in Exodus 20). That’s non-negotiable, but what if the advice our parents gave wasn’t always good?
Some people who grew up in non-Christians homes really wrestle with this. But it may also be a concern for some who grew up in Christian homes where the parents struggled in their walk with Jesus.
It seems so straightforward: “Children with good sense accept correction from their parents, but stubborn children ignore it completely” (v 13). (It’s especially straightforward if you’re the parent!) But do we always need to accept our parents’ advice in order to honor them? Also, how old do we need to be before we can make our own decisions and be free from their correction?
In this passage, Solomon isn’t talking about parents who are trying to rule the lives of their adult children. He also doesn’t have in mind parents who lead wicked lives and give evil advice.
The advice Solomon is giving throughout Proverbs is the kind of advice he’s talking about. Here he says, be kind, know when to speak and when to be quiet, work hard. Hard to argue with.
Verse after verse in this book of the Bible, Solomon has contrasted what is wise (and, thus, what is godly) with what is unwise (and, thus, what is evil).
He expects parents who love God to pass on their wisdom to their children. He also expects the children of godly parents to listen, no matter how old they are, because “to accept correction is wise, to reject it is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). There is no expiry date on that.
Heavenly Father, you are wise beyond our ability to understand, and you want us to live wisely. Please teach us the humility we need to listen to godly advice from our parents, so that we will make good choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen.