Proverbs 20:20

Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

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How you treat your parents greatly affects your future. God blesses those who honor their parents with a good life and a long life. But He punishes and destroys those who curse or dishonor their parents. This matter is very important to God, so it should be important to you also. Your life is affected by how you treat your parents far more than you think.

God inspired King Solomon to write the book of Proverbs to teach you wisdom for success and prosperity in life. If nothing was written about honoring parents, then a major factor for your blessing or judgment would be missing. The proverb here is inspired wisdom. Do not neglect it or reject it. Consider it as seriously as anything in the Bible. No matter how diligent or noble in other areas, your future depends on honoring parents.

In a day when children’s rights are exalted, this proverb sounds harsh and old-fashioned. But God’s words are never harsh or old-fashioned – they are right and relevant. A few governments enforcing this proverb would curb youthful violence in a hurry. For a generation of proud, rebellious, and scornful children, this proverb spells their doom. It is a wonderful proverb, declaring the holy judgment of a holy God against arrogant youth.

What does it mean for a wicked son’s lamp to be put out in obscure darkness? It means to have his life ended like snuffing out a candle. The lamp of a person is the spirit and soul within the body (Pr 13:9; 20:27). Death occurs when the soul leaves the body to return to God – the light goes out! The proverb speaks of not even leaving a spark. He will die in ignominy and shame. Then he goes to hell! God Himself will do the thorough work.

The most certain means of extending your life on earth is to honor your parents (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2-3). The great God made the promise; He wrote it down for you; it is certain. But just as certain is the shortening of your life by dishonoring or disobeying your parents. He also wrote that down (Deu 21:18-21; 27:16; Pr 30:11,17; Mat 15:4). For reasonable persons, the death penalty is appropriate for these acts of ungrateful rebellion.

Is it any wonder that rocker rebels, the young movie and performing stars of recent years, seldom lived out their days? These lamps were put out in obscure darkness at the age of 27: Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. That is young! And the deaths they died confirm obscure darkness. The list of those dying young could be multiplied indefinitely, especially with dead rap rebels of the last two decades.

What does it mean to curse a parent? It means to use expletives or oaths in addressing them or talking about them. It means to verbally wish them harm, in or out of their presence. It means to damn them in God’s name. It means to think any such thing in your heart. Do you think yourself free from these sins? God has cursed every child that is merely disrespectful to parents (Deu 27:16). Even if it is just rolling your eyes (Pr 30:17)!

Parents spoon food into children’s slobbering mouths every few hours, and then those children curse them with the same mouths? They changed your clothing and bedding countless times to keep you from drowning in your own waste, and now you curse them because they will not approve your self-destructive folly? They catered to your every need, secured your education, and protected you from harm, and now you curse them because they do not provide toys equal to your spoiled peers? Your lamp is going out!

Child rebellion proves human depravity, for it is unnatural. But it is also God’s judgment for man’s unthankfulness and rejection of Him (Rom 1:20-32). Today it is widespread among so-called Christians as one more symptom of the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1-5). These effeminate and compromising Christians reject Bible proverbs like this one for hallucinations and purpose-driven twaddle of false teachers (II Tim 3:6-7; 4:3-4).

If you were or are a foolish child that has dishonored your parents, repent now to the God of heaven, repent to your parents, and do something significant to honor them this very day. The blessed God will forgive you through Jesus Christ (Pr 28:13; I John 1:9). And if you are sincere and thorough enough, your parents will forgive you. Humble yourself before the truth and wisdom of heaven to save your life. Run to your parents and thank them for the infinite number of things they did and do for you. Keep your lamp burning!

If you are a parent of children, you must teach them this proverb’s wisdom. You cannot tolerate any parental disrespect, not even in body language or facial expressions. You must cut off the devilish perversions of Hollywood – any program that allows even minor parental disrespect is sinful poison (Ro 1:32). You must cut off disrespectful friends and any other influence that undermines their good manners to have their lamp put out.

For arrogant and profane souls that think they have a right to be disrespectful, obscure darkness is coming soon. For frivolous PTA nitwits that think childish tantrums are cute and/or not very serious, obscure darkness is coming soon for you and your children. Neither group has the right to even question the subject, for God has spoken and settled it. For both classes of rebels, the blackness of darkness for eternity comes next.

Jesus Christ was fully God and God’s Son (Is 9:6; Jn 1:14; Col 2:9), yet He obeyed both Joseph and Mary, His father and mother on earth (Luke 2:48-52), in spite of their faults that He knew perfectly. He even honored His mother from the cross (Jn 19:25-27). For this and other righteousnesses, God raised Jesus from the dead and put Him on the throne of the universe at His right hand (Heb 1:8-9). Love Him and follow Him today!