How to Live Long and Well
November 10, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear. - Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NKJV.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” - Ephesians 1:1-2 NKJV.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. - Colossians 3:20 NKJV.
In the Daily Oklahoman, a small article caught my attention. The title of the article was, “Prisoners reflect on their teenage decisions.” Two men who were convicted of murder when they were 16 years old expressed their thoughts. One man Davin Douma, who is now 37 years old, said this: “Murder is a crime of passion. You act without thinking. And I definitely acted without thinking of the consequences.” Douma’s victim made homosexual advances toward him. Douma says of himself, “Mostly, I just see myself as a dumb kid who made a lot of bad decisions.” He is eligible for parole next year.
Johnathan Williams never expected to spend decades of time in prison but does know why it happened. Williams says that it happened, “Cause I didn’t listen to my mother. I was hard-headed. When you’re young like that, you don’t realize your actions weigh on you for the rest of your life.” Williams will be eligible for parole in 2010.
One of the worst decisions that children and young people can make is to decide that they know better than their parents do. The title of the television show, “Father Knows Best”, is filled with truth. A young person who decides to rebel against their parents is only asking for trouble. They may not commit murder, but it is in the realm of possibility for many. Johnathan Williams said that he never expected to end up in prison. That could be the statement of most who are incarcerated in their teenage years, or even those going to prison later.
Prison, I think we can agree, is something that nearly all of us want to avoid including young people. Isn’t it worth the time to consider for a moment how to avoid spending decades of your life in such a place? High on the list of the things that a young person can do to avoid incarceration is obeying their parents. By not being rebellious and instead being obedient to your parents (Unless they require you to do something that is obviously immoral.) you gain the support of God Himself. You gain the blessing of God on your life by being an obedient child. The command to obey your parents comes with a promise, “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Take a good long look at the statements and lives of Williams and Douma and those like them. If only they had obeyed their parents. If only they had listened to reason. If they had, their victims would be alive and they could have been leading productive, successful, and happy lives all the years they have spent behind bars.
If you are a young person, I would encourage you to give it a try - a real try. Ask God to help you to be obedient to your parents. Ask God to lead you, direct you, and to give you wisdom; and see if things are not going better for you in only a few weeks of time. Try it. It could very well change your life, and the lives of many others for all eternity.