Obedience or the habit of doing what we are told to do. is one of the hardest things we have to learn. But it is so necessary, that if we do not learn it, we shall make a mess of our lives.
For obedience is a part of our training-indeed the most important part.
Obedience is due from children to their parents, from pupils to their teachers, from servants to their masters, from soldiers to their officers, from subjects to their government, and from all men to God.
Why should children obey their parents and teachers? Because they are ignorant and do not know what is best for them. If they are allowed to have their own way, they will hurt themselves and make themselves unhappy, and grow up untrained and useless men and women. Obedience is a kind of “co-operation”. This is a long word that means working together with another person. When a child willingly obeys his mother and father, he is really working with his parents in their efforts to help him and make him good, happy, and useful. A disobedient child is spoiling himself by stopping wiser people from helping him.
Why should a servant obey his master? Because he has promised and is paid to do what his master wants; and if he disobeys, he is a dishonest man who is not keeping his promise.
Why must a soldier obey his officers? Because an army is of no use without discipline. If soldiers in battle do just what they like, they will be defeated, and the whole object of the army will be missed.
Why must subjects obey the government? Because if they do not, there will be no law and order or justice, and society will break up in confusion, to the damage of everyone.
But there are times when obedience would be wrong. If a master orders his servant to do a wicked deed he should not obey. Why? Because we must obey God and our conscience first. And if any man’s orders are against the laws of God, we must disobey man in order to obey God. Obedience to God is the first law.