Do YOU Respect Authority?

This Election Day, there’s bound to be a candidate elected that you would rather not see take office. Or maybe an amendment that doesn’t go your way. The way parents respond when this happen speaks volumes to their kids!

If we humble ourselves and pray (see 2 Chron 7:14), God’s grace will rule our homes. But if we respond to the election by griping about the incompetent people who are going to ruin our country for the next four years, we model a basic (and contagious) disrespect for authority. This is similar to parents who complain about their boss at the dinner table, criticize their spouse’s cooking, and then expect their kids to quickly obey at bedtime, saying “Yes, Sir/Ma’am, I’m on my way!”

Our children are watching! And learning!

Do YOU respect authority?Think about what your behavior teaches your children about how they should act towards leaders, towards other humans, and yes, towards the authorities in their lives – including YOU! The apostle Paul confidently wrote in Philippians 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” He was very aware of the example he was setting for his “children.”

In his letter to the Romans (13:1,7), Paul speaks to the attitude we should model about authority: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.The authorities that exist have been established by God…  Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Bear in mind that the recipients of this letter were not voters in a democracy with freedom of religion and speech. They lived in the heart of the Roman Empire, a dictatorship that could be ruthless without warning or restraint, and Paul still said to respect authority.

So this election, as the votes pile up, take a breath and remember this verse as you speak about those who are elected. Better yet, print out the verse and talk about it at dinner with your kids, sharing your own journey of growing in respect for authority. Will this make your little darlings jump into single file at bedtime? Of course not. But it will be one of many important steps in gradually building a culture of respect and honor in your home.

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