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What Does the Bible Say About..Obeying Parents When They Don't Let You Go to Church?

It says in the Bible to honor your mother and father but what happens if you get grounded and they ground you from church, are you supposed to just stop going to church and youth group just to make your parents happy??


Some people I know would pit Acts 5:29 ("We ought to obey God rather than men.") against Eph 6:1-2 ("Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."). I don't believe the Bible contradicts itself or would cause such a conflict in a person. There are times at which it would be right to say to a parent that obeying God takes priority. Such times might be if a parent asked you to do something illegal or immoral, or told you never to mention Jesus again. It was in this latter context that Peter told the Jewish council that they had to obey God rather than men. My personal feeling, however, is that to break a grounding for a youth group meeting is disobeying and dishonoring parents for something that may not be considered an absolute requirement of God. The same may even be said about breaking it to assemble with the church for worship. I know that Hebrews 10:24 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. However, it doesn't say we have to assemble every time the church does. It says that assembling together is a way of provoking each other to love and good works. It is something that we are not to "forsake", but that simply means we should not be in a habit of avoiding the assembly for no reason. Being grounded does not prevent one from obeying God, even if your phone and e-mail privileges are revoked. Disobeying or even talking badly about one's parents, on the other hand, is disobeying God as well. In the situation you give, it appears to me that the obedience of the parents takes priority over the assembling together with other Christians. When you are again able to assemble with Christians, do so. In the meantime it could be compared to being hospitalized—a person in the hospital may miss the assembly and few people would say that was wrong. If we couldn't be Christians without assembling with the church every week that would be a different matter, but we can be Christians and miss occasionally for good reasons.

Let me add that if they ground you from church, and only from church activities, and it has no ending time, then that might fall under the passage of obeying God rather than man. However, to honor your parents you should explain to them that your religion is important to you and why. Then try to work something out. If that still doesn't work, then you may have to tell them that you are going to "go to church" anyway. Be prepared for some opposition, but stand firm. Above all, do not go behind their backs. Don't sneak out of the house to attend church activities. Be very open about it, and its importance to you. Let your parents know that you respect and honor them in all other matters, but that you must honor God as well. Again, this is only if they tell you that you are never to attend the meetings or activities of the church. If it is only a temporary grounding as punishment for something you did it should not become a major issue.

Remember that doing this may end up in a situation where you have to make up your mind whether to live at home and obey your parents or move out. If the church is what it claims to be, someone should be willing to take you in in such as situation. That should be the very last resort, however.