Scott Gage

PO Box 3425
Fayetteville, AR 72702



May/June Issue 2008 - Volume 27   Number 3


And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Exodus 20:1-7

My wife, LaDonna, and I have had several conversations over the past year or two regarding the matter of respect. She works in an elementary school with kindergarteners and first graders where she says she sees a lack of respect in many of the little tykes that grace the classrooms where she is privileged to work. The teachers and aides and others at school are working hard to teach the children to respect authority figures at school such as teachers, secretaries, the principal and other adults. In addition they try to train the children to respect one another. She says that it is very hard to overcome the attitudes and values these kids learn at home. When some of the parents visit the school, it is easy to see why the children seem to have no respect for others.

I have often heard friends and others relate stories about times they misbehaved at school. The punishment they received at school was often lighter than what was dished out at home when mom & dad heard about the incidents. The parents backed up the disciplinary actions of principals and teachers. Unfortunately, that is not always true today. Many schools are so afraid of a lawsuit that they won’t even paddle a child anymore. What has happened to respect for authority? Can we no longer teach self-control and restraint? Is it the fault of lawyers and judges? Is it the fault of the schools and churches in our communities? Or should we look closer to home for the solution?

While the schools and churches wield some influence in teaching people to show respect, the home is still the primary place where such values must be modeled and taught. In an inauguration speech, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley stated:  

I’m asking school boards to implement a plan for character education to educate our students’ hearts as well as their minds. It is working well in many counties - we can expand character education to all counties in North Carolina….we’re going to put more discipline in our classrooms so that those students who want to learn will have every opportunity to learn. No parent should ever have to take their child out of public school because they fear for their child’s safety, and no teacher should ever be asked to tolerate disrespect….And we all like to believe that children are taught respect, responsibility, and character at home and in church - but the sad truth is; some are not. And, if they don’t learn it at the schoolhouse, the next stop is the courthouse.

It is commendable for the governor to encourage the schools to teach wholesome character traits to students. Both schools and churches can and should teach good moral standards. However, respect and other traits of character and morality begin in the home. In fact, schools should be more concerned with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. The schools should not have to do the job of the home in raising children. When things are in balance as they should be, the home takes seriously its responsibility for teaching children and the schools and churches reinforce what the children learn at home. At the same time, the home will reinforce what the children learn at school and at church.

I looked at an online dictionary and here are a few of the definitions for respect:

Re-spect [ri – spekt] (Dictionary.com)


  1. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
  2. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.


  1. to hold in esteem or honor: I cannot respect a cheat.
  2. to show regard or consideration for: to respect someone's rights.
  3. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person's privacy.

We may admire or esteem someone because we are in awe of his ability, but to defer to someone is a completely different matter. As someone has written, “The admirer of God is someone who stands off, checks things out, and says, ‘Wow, He’s good!’ The one who defers to God comes near, bows down and says, ‘I’ll obey!’ Many people today are willing to admire (respect) God. Far fewer are willing to defer to God’s ways – to obey Him. This is the lack of respect for God we constantly see today.”

One of the keys to the lack of respect we see in classrooms, churches and the community as a whole is the lack of respect many have today for God and His word. The first four of the Ten Commandments concern our respect for God and how we should relate to Him.  The last six commandments concern how we should respect the person and property of one another. We have banned the Ten Commandments or any mention of them in schools and other public places, and then we wonder why people disrespect one another. That’s like removing the chain from a bicycle and then wondering why it doesn’t go anywhere even when you peddle faster and faster. Respect for God and respect for one another is the chain that drives a decent and orderly society. No matter how furiously we peddle, we will never go anywhere until we put the chain back in place.

Isaiah wrote this about God’s judgment against Damascus and Samaria, “In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers have made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars” (Isaiah 17:7-8). Isaiah prophesied that God’s dealings with Damascus and Samaria would teach some honor and respect for God and His name. People would turn away from the work of their own hands and honor the God of all creation in whom we truly live and move and have our being.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12). This passage is set in a context of showing honor and respect to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are encouraged to learn to build one another up and not tear one another down. The warning in this passage is to show proper respect to one another because ultimately God will call us to give an account for how we have acted. Respect for one another begins with respect for God and His word. God is the one to whom we will finally answer.

Of course, we can teach and preach on this subject until we are hoarse and can no longer speak. But we must not only speak it we must show it. There is a cartoon in which a preacher’s wife is letting the dog out and she calls after him, “And remember, Beauregard, you are the preacher’s dog, and all the other dogs will be watching you.” As with most other things, our example must model our message. If we want to preach respect then we certainly must show respect.

What do we expect our children and others to learn from some scenarios like these:

A teacher arrives late for every class. A child learns you don’t have to pay attention to schedules or anyone else’s needs - leaders are all about being in charge, not serving.

A preacher does nothing but condemn everything…preaches on Hell every week and seems genuinely glad that half the congregation might wind up there. A child learns there’s no sense in going to church. It doesn’t do any good - everybody’s bad, and the preacher doesn’t like me anyway!

A church member complains each week the temperature is too hot or too cold and if they don’t change it to suit him, he’ll just find him another church. A child learns that the only person in the room that needs to be heard is me. I am number one!

The service is over, twenty groups of friends gather on the front steps of the church. Half light up their cigarettes. The non-smokers complain to each other about walking through a cloud of smoke. A child learns it is alright to talk behind someone’s back about their habits - and as long as you can get a few others to agree with you, it’s not gossip. They also learn if something you do offends someone else you don’t have to do anything about it as long as it is legally your right. A child learns to divide.

Of course, there are ways to be tactful and we don’t have to be right in someone’s face telling him exactly what we think of him and his behavior.  Paul admonished Timothy, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…”(2 Timothy 2:24-25).  Peter also encourages us, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…”(1 Peter 3:15). We are instructed to be gentle and patient in talking to others about our differences. However, no matter how long or hard we pontificate or plead on a subject, our example usually speaks louder than our words.

I ran across this article that indicates some people today are trying to take disrespect to an all-new low. The white wedding dress is a symbol of purity and chasteness. Is this new behavior just another attempt to undermine Christian values? The article states:  

The hottest new wedding activity is to trash the dress. Yes, that dress. The white one the bride is wearing. The one that cost at minimum several hundred dollars and most likely well over $1,000.

The Associated Press reports that a favorite way to "trash the dress" is for the groom to fire colorful paintballs at it while a wedding photographer captures all the fun and hysteria. One such couple who did this was Dustin and Jessica Sanders of Russell, La. They not only trashed Jessica's $500 beaded gown with pink, orange and yellow paintballs but then washed off in a public water park. "It's different, and we're pretty unconventional," Jessica told AP, adding that she and her new husband didn't want to destroy the dress--just capture some unusual pictures that reflect their sense of fun.

"'Trash the dress'" photo shoots like this have become an offbeat phenomenon across the country," writes AP reporter Kathy Hanrahan. Sometimes the bride and groom purposely pose for a photo in a place they know will subject the gown to water or mud, such as in the ocean surf, in a tree, in a cornfield, on horses, in a tractor or in a swimming pool. For some, it's not about destroying the dress. Wedding photographer Adam Hudson of Ridgeland, Miss., told AP, "It is just taking it in a place that you wouldn't normally go. Not worrying about it too much. I think that a lot of brides are getting tired of the stand-in-front-of-the-altar shots."  (Compuserve Whats New 5/1/08)

We certainly don’t want to create an issue where there is none. But what does this kind of behavior indicate? Trashing a wedding dress is the only way we can capture some pictures that reflect our sense of fun?  This seems to be just another example of a society that has lost its sense of respect. We are tired and bored of stand-in-front-of-the-altar shots, so we just “don’t worry about it” and head out to the nearest mud hole to stand in the muck so we can express our sense of freedom and fun. If we feel that way about the dress that symbolizes the sanctity of marriage, how do we feel about marriage itself?

I have been thinking about my own childhood and what I was taught about respect. I was taught that a child doesn’t just come up and interrupt a parent who is in the middle of a conversation with someone else---unless it is a real emergency!  I was taught at church dinners that I shouldn’t just grab a plate and try to be first in line, and when I went through that line I was taught that it is impolite and disrespectful to others to take 3 or 4 rolls on my first pass through. I was taught that it is disrespectful to take things that belong to my siblings without asking their permission. I was taught that life isn’t all about me and my wants. I was taught the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I didn’t learn these things in the sandlot or out in the neighborhood.  In fact, very often I found that in those places a completely different code of ethics was in force. Kids in my neighborhood sometimes took things without asking permission, and it always seemed that they took care of their own wishes and desires before asking me about my own wishes. I learned respect from my mother and father first. And these lessons were reinforced when I went to school and when I went to church.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to endure the chastening of the Lord (Hebrews 12:5-11). In this connection he writes: “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9). This is an important truth and I have found Hebrews to be right about where I first learned respect. I first learned about respect from my father and mother. This is so important because learning to respect God and His word grows out of our learning to respect our own mothers and fathers. In fact, if I don’t respect my earthly father who I have seen, how can I respect God who I have not seen?

“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:32 (NLT)

...scott gage

Fayetteville, Arkansas


You Gotta Have Faith

There was a little old lady, who every morning stepped onto her front porch, raised her arms to the sky, and shouted: "PRAISE THE LORD!"

One day an atheist moved into the house next door. He became irritated at the little old lady. Every morning he'd step onto his front porch after her and yell: "THERE IS NO LORD!"

Time passed with the two of them carrying on this way every day.

One morning, in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted: "PRAISE THE LORD! Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving, provide for me, oh Lord!

The next morning she stepped out onto her porch and there were two huge bags of groceries sitting there. "PRAISE THE LORD!" she cried out. "HE HAS PROVIDED GROCERIES FOR ME!"

The atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted: "HA! HA! THERE IS NO LORD I BOUGHT THOSE GROCERIES!!"

The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted: "PRAISE THE LORD! HE HAS PROVIDED ME WITH GROCERIES AND MADE THE DEVIL PAY FOR THEM!”

Romans 8:28,  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose".

...ABBA 09/26/07



          Ol' man Lister and I were just getting our first refill of afternoon coffee at the Bottomless Cup Coffee Shop when Mugsy Tharp came striding through the doorway.  He had an air of confidence about him and a spring in his step that told us something had happened that had really made an impact on him.

     “What’s up, Mugs?” Lister asked.

     Mugsy could barely contain himself.  “Lister, I’m in love!  I met a girl over in Limburg a few weeks ago, and I am here to tell you that she is the one!  I’m gonna marry that girl!”

     Ol’ man Lister pried a little, as you might expect.  “What attracts you to her?  You know it’s important to have a lot in common, such as values, faith, common goals.”

     “Actually, we don’t have much in common at all,” he answered, “but that doesn’t matter.  You know what they say; ‘opposites attract.’”

     Lister said, “Mugsy, let me assure you, just being man and

woman is opposite enough."

You know...I reckon he's right.


...Steve McLean

Lockney, Texas


“Christian Responsibility”


We are found

To find another;


We are told

To tell another;


We are won

To win another;


We are saved

To save another!


—author unknown—-

Sepulveda Church of Christ Bulletin 3/2/08