When bad science won the debate and expelled God from the classroom, something else left also, something very precious. A generation later we see the results.
I’m not sure how to describe what we lost. It is beyond a simple one-word answer. But certainly we lost the restraints that held back lawless behavior, rampant promiscuity, senseless violence, and worst of all- we lost the notion of honor.
When the degree of disrespect makes it difficult for an elderly woman to be around her grandchildren, what we are seeing is the seed of dishonor now grown up like weeds and rooted in our offspring. Respect toward old folks is an attitude we learn. We get it first by reverence for God as we humbly submit to him and value his ways. We find those ways of life in the wisdom that is in the Bible.
We who are church folks can sit back and compare ourselves with ourselves and think, “Well, my church is okay. We are actually growing. Look at your youth group!” That makes us just like folks on the Titanic: “My cabin doesn’t have water in it!” Yet we are sinking in secret sins, social chaos, unrest, and growing anarchy. While our youth group may be large, it is likely filled with spoiled kids who don’t fear God.
The Bible’s truths cannot be disregarded without suffering the consequences. The principle is this: “If you cease to honor God, then those who should honor you, will not do so.” You see- honor flows down, from above. Let’s put it another way: “What goes around, comes around.” Or, “Whatever you sow, you will reap.” Rebellion is like the gigantic iceberg that ripped open the side of the Titanic.
This principle is infallible. Creation is designed to work a certain way. In nature, the force of gravity makes objects fall to earth or makes water flow down hill. Without it we would all fly off into space and die. Likewise in the spiritual dimension, there is a force called authority that flows downward from the throne of God. All authority is derived from God, both good and bad, even when corrupt men misuse their authority or abuse their power to control others in an illegal way. Authority commands respect. God’s authority is HUGE but it is also kind.
Authority is to the spiritual world what gravity is to the material world. It is a force that is always at work. If we defy it, we do so to our own harm. Jesus said, “If you honor me you honor the one who sent me.” Likewise, if teenagers dishonor parents, they dishonor God who established the family. Let’s go back to the notion of honor.
Honor is “manifested esteem.” Honor is the deference we owe to folks with gray hair. Honor is the salute a soldier gives to an officer. Honor describes the way a child pays attention and looks directly into the face of mom or dad. Honor is the way students should treat their teachers. Honor is what disciples owe to those who teach God’s word. Honor is what teenagers should learn as a character trait even before they learn how to drive a car. Honor in the spiritual dimension is what causes us to give adoration to the Lord, and in turn, causes us to be honored by him as he covers us with his wings and pours out grace and blessings upon us.
When we ignore God’s holy honor, we may try to shore up our sinking ship. We can substitute carnal manipulation, coercion, threats, and bribes as we try to make deals and keep order. But it smacks of illegal authority and has no aroma of heaven.
That’s why so many families’ lives are like hell. Heaven’s grace-filled rule (Christ’s divine order) is missing. All that’s left now is a futile attempt to stop the ocean water from coming into your cabin as your ship slowly sinks from sight.
Ron ministers at Trinity Assembly of God. Hear his show “The Father’s Power” each Sunday at 103.3 FM at 8 and 7. www.trinitymeridian.com 601-483-8189.