As a kid, my Mom and Dad instilled the behavior and value of honor. My parents were not Christ followers but they understood honor. It began with honoring my Mom; this was the only area where my Dad would become unhinged. If we disrespected Mom in any fashion – correction came quickly. Some say he went too far when we were not allowed to call Mom ‘her’ or ‘she.’ Dad would say, “she lives down the road – this is your Mother.”
We were instructed and reminded to speak to ALL adults in a respectful tone with “Yes Ma’am,” “No Ma’am,” “Yes Sir” and “No Sir.”
One time I came home and I explained to my Dad that the reason my grade was low was because a teacher had been unfair and didn’t like me. He said: “You mean to tell me she went to school for 4 years, has taught for 10 years and there are 25 other students in your class and she has decided to pick on you? I am not buying it – I will set up a parent teacher meeting.” I never brought that subject to the table again – Dad always started on the side of the authority.
Needless to say all authority figures were given the benefit of the doubt.
I have had several people tell me what they believe the “Why” for that deterioration is. I do believe there is plenty of blame to go around. Yet, if we don’t find a way to get it back and re-instill it in our culture, we will miss out on God’s best. I really believe we should treat everyone with dignity and respect.
I have served in churches for years. I know the hurt a staff member can feel and an attender may experience. I decided years ago that I would never speak despairingly about the church and here is why. My wife, Sandy and I have been married for 37 years. Let me share a hypothetical situation: Let’s say Sandy has a fault and I decided to elevate my concern. My guess is that it would be a tough conversation for both of us, but we would eventually land the relational plane safely. However, if another man decided he wanted to confront my wife with his perception of a fault in her life, I would be less than gracious. I would probably throat punch him and and move on graciously. Why? Because, no man wants to have another man speak in a demeaning manner about his wife.
So – why this illustration? Thanks for asking. The Church is the Bride of Christ. I refuse to speak poorly about His Bride. Is the Church perfect? No – that is why Christ died. Does that does I put my head in the sand and live in denial? No, however – it does mean I will not dishonor what Christ gave His life to save!
- You may have been hurt by the church, I get that. Refuse to diminish her – speak with honor.
- You may disagree with politicians (I do). Please refuse to dishonor our leaders especially on social media.
- You may have an authority in your life that has wronged you. Treat them with honor.
What do we do if we need to speak to someone about their objective behavior? Begin with:
Matthew 18:15-17 (NLT)
- 15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
By the way, how do you treat a “pagan” or “corrupt tax collector?” By not expecting them to act like a Christ-Follower. Decide you will try and help them find a relationship with Jesus Christ.
A passage we all need to be reminded of that will bring clarity:
1 Peter 2:13-17 (MSG)
- Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.