The Holy Family: R. E. S. P. E. C. T

I got good news today! I’m not gonna sing. I’m not even gonna lip-sinc. (‘Seems that’s got a bad name these days.) Gracious sakes, I’m not even gonna break out my clarinet or put wax-paper-to-comb and play my Kazoo! But I am, brace yourself, gonna quote a little Aretha Franklin from me to you!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T
Find out what it means to me.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Whoa, babe… A little respect… sock it to Me!

This is not a lyric limited to Aretha, or to me. And if you think it’s a little dated, I got big news for you. You don’t know the ½ of it. ‘Turns out God Godself has been singin’ this song since centuries before Jesus. Why, just poke around in Proverbs. Here we go.

Son/daughter, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. Bind them on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they’ll lead; when you lie down, they’ll watch; when you wake, they’ll talk with you. The commandment is a lamp, the teaching a light, the discipline a way of life….

So show a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T for Heaven’s sake… and your own!

O, how we do go on! In an age, place and time when we so want to hold onto family, keep it safe and holy against all odds, we make a great pretense. We pretend it’s O-so-hard. It’s not. It’s just not that easy either. God's instructions for a holy family are straightforward.
Love (husbands), Respect (wives), Train (parents), obey (kids).
To me, the R-Word captures and catches up the rest. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

High regard for. Esteem. Observance of boundary. Sense of order. That’s it. Practice respect in the family and Holiness can take hold!

Here’s the key thing we need to learn for our time and all time. Respect is not earned. It is commanded of God. We do not give honor in the family because each of us is necessarily honorable, but because it is a matter of honoring God, who expects and requires it! This isn’t just a ‘tween-you and me thing, a social or phyche thing, a politically correct thing. It’s a spiritual thing! It’s rooted in how God’s ordered the universe and revealed God’s face.

Get this. Objection will not be heard by the Judge of Heaven. God has already laid down the Law. Here is the divine order of things.

Whether between women and men, parents and kids, respect does not mean anyone is inferior or beneath another. Just because someone is under the authority of somebody else, or serving them doesn’t imply that person is less, only that God is more! Paul writes in I Cor. 11:3. “I want you to understand. Christ is the head of everyone…and God is the head of Christ.” The Bible makes it very plain. God the Son is both co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father. Yet, over and over we read that Jesus willingly submitted Himself to the authority of His heavenly Father. The reason why you and I have a chance of going to heaven is because in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus looked at His heavenly father, and though He did not want to go to the cross said, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but You will, Father.” It’s just that kind of love that steps aside, gives up, gives over, that gives us a chance at heaven. And even a little heaven-on-earth, called family! This turns everything upside down! And in a good way. A God way.

Think about marriages. Yours, your kids’, your neighbors. Let’s grasp this principal. A web piece: “A Bad Upgrade” illustrates. A guy writes to tech support: Last year I upgraded Girlfriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0. The new program began unexpected child processing. Brochure doesn’t mention this. Wife 1.0 installs itself into all other programs. Applications like Fishing 10.3, Bowling 2.5, Hunting 6.4 no longer run. I can’t purge Wife 1.0. Or go back to Girlfriend 1.0. Un-install does not work. Help!… … The response: Sir, this is a common problem. Men who upgrade from Girlfriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0 think Wife 1.0 is just a Utilities or Entertainment program. It’s an Operating System designed by its creator to run everything. It is impossible to un-install/delete/purge.You can’t go back to Girlfriend 1.0. Wife 1.0 isn’t so designed. Some install Girlfriend or Wife 2.0, but end up with more problems! See: alimony/child support in your manual. Recommend you keep Wife 1.0 Just deal with it!. I have Wife 1.0 myself. Suggest you read the entire system regarding General Protection Faults (GPFs). Caution: You must assume all responsibility for faults and problems that occur. Recommend you push apologize button, then reset as soon as lock-up occurs. System will run smoothly as long as you take the blame for all GPFs. Regards, Tech Support. Love and respect flow not from our program options but God’s operating system and are well summed by Scripture’s principle. “Hold onto each other the way Christ holds onto you.” Freedom and commitment, sacrifice and joy, honor and praise, correction and grace. These are the stuff of family. Holy family.

There’s stuff for kids here too. But it is not mere kidstuff. We pray our boys grow into Prince Charming. Sometimes we get Shrek. Our girls: Princess Bride. Sometimes we get Witch of the West. We know how to do, get, be: Better! “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (with this promise): it will be well with you. Parents, don’t provoke your kids, rear them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” So: how do we do? 

Three ways, perhaps:

A. Actively teach our kids what’s required: Teach the right lessons of God! To begin, all kids need to be taught to obey, follow the rules, live in the boundaries. It just ain’t natural! You gotta teach it. The Good Book’s right. “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58 Minnesota’s Dept. of Corrections study is right. All kids are born delinquents! (You and me both!) We have to bend the curve! The 10 Commandments help. Sorry for the cliché. It’s just true. Jesus will help above all. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and your neighbor as yourself!” “Love one another as I love you!”

B. Teach the kids what’s right. “Feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick & in prison.” Teach them the world does not revolve around them. Teach them good is right and evil is wrong. And that most things don’t so much hurt because they are wrong as they are wrong because they hurt. Don’t tell ‘em the preacher says that, Jesus does.

C. Teach the kids what’s rewarding. Only Jesus can truly promise, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

And teach them in the right way! Not by your words, but by your example. Show them respect and they will return it, 100 fold.

At the last, it isn’t dear Aretha who owns the lyric, it is God in Christ. R.E.S.P.E.C.T Find out what it means to me! Whoa, my babies!

And the place to learn is in families, HOLY FAMILIES! 

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