Recycled: Children and Respect

I wrote this many years ago, but it seems a good one for what is going on in the world today. We want to put the finger at our young people, but maybe some of what is happening needs to be owned but those who came before.

Respect … have you ever considered that respect in the way it is typically viewed, might be a worldly view and not a Christian view? Consider the scriptures that pertain to respect:

Gal 6:1-7  Brothers [and sisters], even if a person shall be overtaken in any transgression, _you*_, the spiritual [ones], be restoring such a one in a spirit of humility, watching out for yourself, lest _you_ also be tempted.  …  (4)  But let each [person] be examining his own work, and then he will have with respect to himself alone the [grounds for] boasting and not with respect to the other [person].  …  (6)  Now let the one being instructed in the word be contributing to [or, sharing with] the one instructing in all good things [or, be sharing in all good things with the one instructing].  (7)  Stop being led astray [fig., being deceived]: God is not mocked! For whatever a person shall be sowing, this also he will reap.

This scripture calls for examination of self and through that he will find reason to respect himself. It also calls for teaching by example.

Eph 4:20-32  But _you*_ did not so learn Christ.  (21)  Since indeed you* heard Him and in Him were taught, just as truth is in Jesus,  (22)  you* [are] to put off [or, be done with], with respect to your former manner of life, the old [or, former] person, the one being corrupt according to the desires [or, lusts] of deception,  (23)  but [you* are] to be continually renewed in the spirit of your* mind  (24)  and to put on the new person, the one having been created according to God in righteousness and holiness of [or, dedication to] the truth.  (25)  For this reason, you* yourselves having put off falsehood, “Be speaking truth each one with his neighbor,” because we are members one of another. [Zech 8:16]  (26)  “Continue being enraged, and stop sinning;” stop letting the sun go down on your* angry mood, [Psalm 4:4]  (27)  and stop giving place [fig., an opportunity] to the Devil.  (28)  The one stealing let him no longer be stealing, but rather let him be laboring, working the good [thing] with his hands, so that he shall be having [something] to be sharing with the one having need.  (29)  Stop letting any rotten [fig., harmful] word come out of your* mouth, _but_ if anything [fig., what] [is] useful for building up [fig., edifying] of the need [fig., as needed], so that it shall give grace to the ones hearing.  (30)  And stop grieving the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you* were sealed [or, secured] for [the] day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness and rage and anger and clamor [or, angry shouts of dissatisfaction] and slander be removed from you*, [along] with all malice.  (32)  But continue becoming kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in Christ forgave us.

This scripture again calls for change of action in self, not in others. It requires that the one knowing put off the old ways and walk in the new ways of being kind, compassionate, and forgiving. There is no requirement to someone else to do anything to deserve these actions.

Php 4:8-9  [As to] the rest [or, Finally], brothers [and sisters], as many things as are true, as many as [are] worthy of respect [or, honorable], as many as [are] righteous, as many [things] as are pure, as many as [are] acceptable [or, lovely], as many as [are] commendable, if [there is] any virtue [or, moral excellence], and if any[thing] deserving to be praised, be meditating on [or, thinking about] these things.  (9)  What [things] you* both learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these [things] be practicing, and the God of peace will be with you*.

This scripture calls for actions that are worthy of respect, righteous, pure, acceptable, commendable … all those things that have been learned and received, heard and saw in the actions of Jesus and in Paul.

Col 3:17-25  And every [thing], whatever you* shall be doing in word or in deed, [be doing] all [things] in [the] name of [the] Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the God and Father through Him.  (18)  The wives, be subjecting [or, submitting] yourselves to your* own husbands, as is fitting in [the] Lord.  …  (20)  The children, be obeying your* parents with respect to all [things], for this is well-pleasing in [the] Lord.  (21)  The fathers, stop making your* children resentful, so that they shall not continue becoming discouraged…  (23)  And every [thing], whatever you* shall be doing, be working from [your*] soul [fig., heartily] as to the Lord and not to people…  (25)  But the one doing wrong [or, acting unjustly] will receive back what he did wrong [or, did unjustly], and there is no accepting of faces [fig., partiality].

In Eph 5:33  Nevertheless, _you*_ also, let each one individually, be loving his own wife as himself in this manner, but the wife, that she should be respecting her husband. However, here that respect is clarified as subjecting AS IS FITTING IN THE LORD.  This means only to such as are agreeable to the will of the Lord, and not contrary to the Gospel of Christ, not in things that are not agreeable to the Lord.

This is the only place where respect and children appear together, but it isn’t the respect that we naturally think of.  The word respect here could be eliminated because it is used to mean “in regards to.” Children are not told to respect their parents, but to obey. So this particular scripture is inappropriately used if we are using it to say that a child is disrespectful because of a tone or something said. This scripture would be used in regards to something that the child was told to do and did or did not do it. The scripture is not about respect, it is about obedience.

Interesting enough, just under this instruction to children is an instruction to fathers. It says to stop making your children resentful so they won’t be discouraged. Let’s take a look at what that means. It actually says to stop provoking or stimulating your children to anger because they will become spiritless or disheartened.

And just to make sure it is understood, he ends this subject with reminding each one to do everything as if unto the Lord and that what ever wrong you do, will be done back to you. Again, the instruction is directed at self, how you should treat others, not how other’s should treat you.

1Ti 3:8-9  In the same manner, deacons [are to be] worthy of respect, not double-tongued, not being given to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain,  (9)  holding the secret [or, mystery] of the faith in a pure conscience.

This scripture is talking about deacons in the church. Interestingly the deacons were not the pastors of the church, they were the attendant’s of the church. The Greek word here means: 1) one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master, a servant, attendant, minister; 1a) the servant of a king; 1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use; 1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink.  Yet even the deacon is called to be WORTHY of respect. It doesn’t tell people to respect the deacon. It is required of the deacon to BE worthy.

Tit 2:1-2  But _you_, be speaking what is fitting [or, proper] [for] sound teaching [or, doctrine].  (2)  Older men [are] to be temperate, worthy of respect, sensible, sound in the faith, in love, in patient endurance. …  Tit 2:6-8  The younger men, in the same manner, be encouraging [them] to be thinking sensibly.  (7)  showing yourself concerning all things [or, in all respects] [to be] an example of good works, in your teaching [showing] integrity, dignity, incorruptibility,  (8)  sound [in] word, above criticism, so that the [one] from the opposition [fig., an enemy] shall be ashamed, having nothing evil to be saying concerning us.

In this scripture, it instructs older men to be temperate (Cool; calm; not marked with passion; not violent; as a temperate discourse or address; temperate language), WORTHY of respect (honorable: – grave, honest), sensible (self controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion) curbing one’s desires and impulses), sound (uncorrupt (true in doctrine ) in faith, love, and patient endurance. The literal translation of the original Greek for verse 6 is: Tit 2:6  The younger men, in like manner, be exhorting to be sober-minded. It isn’t instruction young men to be sober-minded, it is saying to encourage, invite young men to be sober minded (self-controlled). In verse 7 he tells each on to SHOW all these things, be an EXAMPLE, TEACHING these things. He doesn’t say to demand these things, he says DO these things.

1Pe 3:7-9  The husbands, likewise, [continue] living with [your* wives] according to knowledge, as with a weaker vessel, with the feminine [one], showing respect, as also being joint-heirs of [the] grace of life, for your* prayers not to be hindered.  (8)  And finally, all [of you* be of] one mind, sympathetic, loving [one another] as brothers [and sisters], compassionate, friendly;  (9)  not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but on the contrary, giving a blessing, knowing that for this [reason] you* were called, so that you* shall inherit a blessing.

Here the husbands are called to respect (honor) to his wife. It goes on to say that ALL should be sympathetic, compassionate, friendly, and blessing. It again is about self, not what should be expected of others.

The only places where someone is told to respect someone is in Eph 5:33 the wife is told to be respecting her husband, the more literal translation would be reverence (an attitude of admiration or esteem). And in 1 Peter 3:7-9 the husbands are told to show respect to their wives, which is also more literally translated as reverence.

In all other places in regards to respect, is about self actions, not someone else’s. The Bible does not tells us to EXPECT respect, but instead it instructs us to live WORTHY of respect.

I’m not saying that we should not teach our children to be respectful, that would be a dumb comment. If we don’t teach them to be respectful, then they won’t be later in life. BUT, the way to teach respect is to live WORTHY of respect and by GIVING respect. We teach by our actions, not by our words.

When dealing with a child we need to ask ourselves some questions. Was he disrespectful or disobedient? If he was disrespectful then … How was he disrespectful to you? In his tone, his words, his looks. Consider this, in regards to your actions toward him, were you being kind, compassionate, forgiving toward him? Did you get back what you did? Did you sow what you reaped? Were your actions temperate, worthy of respect, sensible, sound in the faith, in love, in patient endurance?

Why was she disrespectful of you? Consider this: Did you make her resentful? Were you practicing what you learned and received, and heard and saw in Jesus? Were your actions worthy of respect? Did you encourage her to be thinking sensibly? Were you showing yourself as a an example of good works, in your teaching [showing] integrity, dignity, incorruptibility, sound [in] word, above criticism?

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