I am not endorsing or promoting George Swinnock as a true Christian when I quote from him. But perhaps some true Christians can glean something beneficial from this. All emphases are mine (e.g., all CAPS and underlining).
Swinnock writes about how children
“… must speak reverently TO their parents, and respectfully OF their parents. First, TO them. Rachel, though her father [Laban–CD] was wicked, yet speaks reverently: ‘Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise,’ Gen. xxxi. 35” (George Swinnock, Works).
Perhaps the point is not about what Rachel THOUGHT of Laban, but how she outwardly addressed him. The issue might be about outward behavior, and NOT about inward beliefs. Rachel may (or may not) have had negative views of Laban, but she did not show it in her outward carriage toward him. However, it needs pointing out that she was concealing her father’s household gods (idols) which she stole, and thus I would not cite Rachel as a positive example in this case. Certainly Laban was an idolater, but I’m unsure of why Swinnock cites Rachel’s outward deportment as an example of speaking reverently when she stole stuff from him, and presumably did not wish to draw unnecessary attention to herself. But perhaps Swinnock is simply talking about a mere, bare, or seeming appearance of reverent speaking.
Swinnock further writes:
“Secondly, OF them. It is said of parents that have their quiver full of such polished arrows, ‘They shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemy in the gate,’ Ps. cxxvii. 5. Their children will be tender of their father’s credit, and not suffer others, much less will themselves, to cast dirt in their faces, but will, by pleading for them, wipe it off. Oh, how bad a bird is he that fouls his own nest! Those that bespatter their parents’ names, sin even against nature” (George Swinnock, Works).
The ardent and persevering prayer is that the “polished arrows” in this quiver are regenerated-by-the-Spirit-of-God, arrows. But if not, even an unregenerate and irreligious child with a smidgen of sense, rationality, and natural affection for their father and mother’s credit WOULD NOT TOLERATE such slanderous casting of malicious mud upon the face of their beloved father and mother.
Swinnock notes how serious God took the child’s impudent mistreatment and attempt at inverting the natural relationship between parent and child.
“There are children that exceed in this unnatural sin, and instead of commending, curse their parents. ‘But every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death,’ Exod. xxi. 17” (George Swinnock, Works).
A few more Scriptures revealing how children of Belial try to invert the created order and “lord it over” their parents. They would question or challenge the parent’s GOD-ORDAINED authority. And not content with this, they proceed to spew acrid slander into their parent’s faces. They fall into the category of “without natural affection” and of those whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron (Romans 1:30-32; cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). Children of Belial they are who will necessarily desire to do his lustful bidding. That’s what they do. That’s their vocation. That’s their calling in life.
“And he who curses his father or his mother, dying he shall die” (Exodus 21:17).
“For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother, and, The one speaking evil of father or mother, by death let him die” (Matthew 15:4).
“A generation curses its father, and does not bless its mother” (Proverbs 30:11).
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not listen to his father’s voice, or his mother’s voice; even though they discipline him, [he] will not listen to them; then his father and his mother shall lay hold on him and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place; and they shall say to the elders of his city, This son of ours [is] stubborn and rebellious; he will not listen to our voice; he [is] a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die. So you shall put away the evil from among you, that all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
“You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you desire to do. That one was a murderer from [the] beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks [a] lie, he speaks from [his] own, because he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
“Blessed [are] those hungering now, for you will be filled. Blessed [are] those weeping now, for you will laugh. Blessed [are] you when men hate you, and when they cut you off, and will reproach [you], and will cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man; rejoice in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward [is] much in Heaven! For their fathers did according to these things to the prophets” (Luke 6:21-23).
“The boy will be insolent against the elder, and the despised against the honorable” (Isaiah 3:5).