By Fred Gori
Everyone needs to read this. Sometimes, when everything seems to be going well, we may be overcome with excitement and pride and in the process dishonour people and institutions God wants us to honour.
There are people, institutions and authorities we MUST respect even if we disagree with them. In particular, watch your mouth and watch what you write when it comes to the following:
1. The Lord God. He is the Creator. He does not share his position with anyone. Even if you are atheist, be careful. Do what you do but don’t play around with the name YWH.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
2. Everything that the word of God calls Holy. This include the scriptures, the Sabbath, any place which is called by God’s name or where God is worshipped, Tithe, to name but a few.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
3. Your mother and father.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ” Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” ( Ephesians 6:1–2,)
4. Your elders
“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ~ 1 Peter 5:5
Honor widows who are truly widows. 1 Timothy 5:3
6. People in authority: This include all representatives of the people either by appointment, election or popular will. Among these are leaders who are honourable and those who are evil. Regardless of their standing, respect them in the Lord. It is honourable to criticise, to hold accountable and to vote against leaders you disagree with. But do so with respect, always. Do you remember how the Prophet Nathan confronted David after the latter sinned? That was a classic case of how to treat a leader.
I recognise, however, that the people are always sovereign. They can remove a leader from office either by voting or by civil disobedience if the way of the ballot is not available. But even in such circumstances, treat the leader with dignity and respect. Give them and their families safe passage and respect them in retirement. Even if a leader is to be charged in court for wrongdoing, do not embarrass them. Do it because the law requires it and not to prove a point. However wicked they are, no leader can occupy a position of honour if the Lord does not permit it. Please note that permitted does not mean anointed and anointed does not mean always anointed.
‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ~Acts 23:5
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17
7. Men of God: Pastors, Bishops, Elders:
Now, in our age there are false teachers and prophets. Jesus, however, warned that there would be many of them in the last days. You are free to disagree with their teachings and prophesies but do so with respect and love.
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” ~1 Timothy 5:17
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you” (Hebrew 13:17).
These are just but a few of the people and authorities that we must respect. I will share more in due course.
In the meantime, let us be careful especially now that the political environment is charged and ethnic bigotry has become almost sacred. Some children have taken the liberty to throw epithets at people who are old enough to be their grandparents. Restrain yourself for your own good. Keep your tongue from slander. Criticise with utmost respect. And remember, silence is golden. When you see agemates insulting one another, don’t join the slug fest.
Finally, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
~2 Timothy 3:16