Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thoughts Regarding the Matter of Respect: October is almost gone. Two more months and the year 2005 A.D. will be history. I remember as a kid thinking in terms of the 20th century. It simply did not enter my head that I would also be living in the 21st century. Well, here we are. The things I grew up with are now found in the history books.

Respect. How do you view it? You can talk all you want about respecting the office, President, Supervisor at work, Pastor or elders at church, and so on. But the truth as much as you may respect the office, the person holding the office needs to earn your respect and maintain it. How many in positions of leadership squander the respect of those under them. (Bill Clinton comes to mind as an example.)

I've thought about this issue of respect with regard to a former church we left several years ago. Simply put, the leaders of that church did not conduct the over all ministry of the church in a way that maintained my respect. So we as a family "fired" them by leaving that church. Respect for the leadership was squandered by a pattern of disrespect by that leadership for the integrity and conscience of God's people. Sorry, but my rational and critical thinking facilites will not be left at the church door. Being an Elder does not nesecarrily equate with being wise and knowledgable. A pattern of un-wise decisions and pulpit statements indicating a lack and deficiancy of knowledge and discernment does not engender and maintain respect. What it does do is indicate that those in leadership are not qualified for the office they hold.

This leads to a critical conclusion. I can only care about a person or group's opinion to the degree I respect that person or group. The degree of caring is proportional to the degree of respect. Realizing that truth is liberating indeed.

Sola Deo Gloria,

~ The Billy Goat ~


Paulos said...

You're certainly right about respect or honor. We ought always show respect to whom respect is due and show honor to whom honor is due (Rom 12:7). Thus, it is always first and foremost because of the position one holds that we are obliged to show respect or honor. Precisely because the position calls for respect or honor such positions are to be occupied by people who are worthy of respect and honor. When dishonorable individuals occupy high seats that require our honor, they force upon us a schizophrenic response. For on the one hand, we are obliged to show respect due to the position, office, or rank; but on the other hand, we cannot show them full honor because such individuals are dishonorable. Such was the case with President Clinton. Because he was our President, we owed him honor, and were we to have been in his presence, we would have been obliged by God's appointment of him as our governor to show him the honor due his office. Nevertheless, because he was a dishonorable man we held back from showing "double honor," the honor we show one who is truly honorable who also occupies the position of honor. Double honor is a delight to show, such as when I have had the privilege of being in the presence of two honorable Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

You know, of course, that I understand quite well your reference to a particular church and its leadership, with regard to showing respect or honor. The apostle Paul speaks of showing "double honor" to elders who rule well but especially to those who labor in preaching and teaching (1 Tim 5:17). Many scratch their heads as to what Paul means by "double honor." It is not so difficult to understand his sense. Double honor is honor shown an individual for two reasons: (1) for the honorable position one holds; and (2) for being an individual who holds the position honorably. In other words, double honor is due to one who occupies a position to which honor is due but occupies that position with character and discharge that is itself worthy of honor.

I speak from experience. With regard to church matters, there is nothing that I delight in more than to be able to show "double honor" to church leaders, particularly to those ministers who labor well at preaching and teaching. Consequently, few things disappoint me more than when those to whom I am obliged to show honor and respect become dishonorable in character and unworthy of respect because of their character flaws that render them unworthy to occupy a position of honor. How sad! How pathetic is the dishonorable person to whom honor is due for position! How painful and oppressive for all who are obliged to show honor to a dishonorable and disreputable individual whose position calls for respect and honor!

Paulos said...

My comments turned into an essay as the words kept flowing. See my essay on the theme at

Elfstone said...

hey Dad,
the name of Mr. and Mrs. V's xanga is MDPTLSL
you can find a link to it under my subscribers on my site.