PO Box 3425
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.”
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.
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
looked at an online dictionary and here are a few of the definitions for
Re-spect [ri – spekt] (Dictionary.com)
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,
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
do we expect our children and others to learn from some scenarios like
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.
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.
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.
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
(Compuserve Whats New 5/1/08)
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)
Gotta Have Faith
was a little old lady, who every morning stepped onto her front porch,
raised her arms to the sky, and shouted: "PRAISE THE LORD!"
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!"
passed with the two of them carrying on this way every day.
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!
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!"
atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted: "HA! HA! THERE
IS NO LORD I BOUGHT THOSE GROCERIES!!"
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!”
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".
VISIT WITH OL’ MAN LISTER
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
“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
“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
is opposite enough."
know...I reckon he's right.
Sepulveda Church of Christ Bulletin 3/2/08