I’ve been teaching and working with youth for almost 10 years now and there is a comment that almost never fails to take me by surprise.

What is the comment? It goes something like this…

“I’ll show them respect when they show me respect!”

I’m always taken a little off guard by that comment even though it is one that I’ve been taught since my university days. Back in my early education as a teacher we were taught to earn the respect of our students. We were told that they would respect us if we respected them. This has led to a not-so-subtle influence that has crept in that says if you show me respect then I will reciprocate.

As I consider God’s Word I struggle with this philosophy. Take these following passages as examples.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ephesians 6:1, ESV).”

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (Romans 13:1, ESV).”

If I consider these words and take them seriously, I see that respect is something I show because of God’s authority in my life and the fact that God has placed other people in authority over me. It doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with whether or not I “feel” respected.

Don’t get me wrong, being disrespected is certainly wrong and usually does cause a lot of frustration and even anger. In fact, anger is what I’m going to address in my next Pet Peeves post. It does not, however, give any reason to respond back with a lack of respect towards that person in authority.

It may seem a little stern to have an approach like this but I also see it as being biblical. The principles found in Ephesians and Romans are the same principles that I try to instill in my students and in my young daughter.

These are also principles that I need to do a better job of implementing myself.

Is there anyone that you need to show more respect to? Maybe a boss or another person in authority?

Do you need to rethink your position on this and encourage others to show more respect?

Is my thinking even correct on this?

Give me your feedback! Let me know. I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts.