Summary: Part two of a three part series for parents and grandparents on teaching respect for God, Others, Self and Leaders.
April 14, 2002
Last week we began our current series on "Help For the Home" by laying down two statements upon which we agreed were necessary for helping our children become better examples of "salt and light" for our community:
1. Lack of respect is epidemic in our society.
2. We must do something about it!
It was duly mentioned that we cannot "create" a national trend. However, we are working on the same premise Jesus used - the trickle-upwards principle. That’s where you start - and continue "one-on-one" winning souls one at a time, until it changes the world.
Tony Evans, of The Urban Alternative, often mentions how if we can get one father to be faithful to his wife and children, it begins to affect other families in the community. As other families are faithful and stand straight, it changes the community, which affects surrounding communities. As those communities stand straighter it affects whole states, which in turn will affect this country, which in turn will have a straightening effect on the whole world.
That’s trickle-up, as opposed to the early 1980’s trickle-down theory of "Reagan-omics". That’s where you give the money to the wealthy, who invest it in their businesses, which creates more jobs and more money so the little guy spends more, and the circle depends on healthy businesses.
Trickle-up starts with the little guy doing right, and society leveling on him. It starts with respect, taught and required in the home, and at church.
The Jesus Model
Last week we started with a definition of respect. The dictionary told us you can respect someone or a principle by admiration. You look at it, evaluate it and think about it as a good thing. It goes no further than data stored on your mental hard drive. The second definition of respect was hands-on. It is deference. That means you do more than admire respect, you defer or obey the principle; you put it into practice in your life. James, the half-brother of Jesus, and the pastor at Jerusalem in the first century church put it this way:
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:22 (KJV)
We taught our children to say "yes sir" and "no ma’am". When they say that because they love us, and are following our Biblical role as parents it is respect. When they say it because they might get backhanded if they don’t - that isn’t respect.
This brings us to the thesis for all four messages - the over-arching principle of teaching respect in the home. Here is how we can successfully teach our children to have respect for God - we must accept and live by God’s purpose - no other gods before Him. Here is our goal, our purpose statement:
We must raise our children in a Christian atmosphere, so they become Christians who mature in grace and knowledge, and therefore contribute to changing this world in accordance with God’s will.
Part One dealt with teaching our children to respect God. This morning we deal with teaching our children to respect other people. The second half of the Ten Commandments shows how God communicated that in the early calling of His special people, the Nation of Israel:
12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13Thou shalt not kill. 14Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15Thou shalt not steal. 16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20:12 - 17 (KJV)
The Biblical Basis for Respect
Aside from the Ten Commandments (which ought to be enough), there are at least three other reasons to teach and require our children to respect others.
1. The Example of God’s Reaction to Cain’s Disrespect
Hopefully you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve’s first sons. Cain, in a fit of rage and rebellion, killed his brother, the first murder in human history. Genesis carries the outcome of the trial…
9And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; Genesis 4:9 - 12 (KJV)
God was not happy, or passive about Cain’s disrespect of his brother Abel. (To say Cain was disrespectful when he took a club and beat him to death is a mild understatement - however, that is the underlying principle…disrespect for life.)