Leadership: Respect for authority

I once knew a man who would frequently complain about his out of control teenage son and his lack of obedience and respect toward his parents.  My co-worker also was often very vocal in his disdain for the leadership in our department and that of our President.  And, he was often the first to cut corners regarding his work day responsibilities.  It occurred to me that this man was modeling the very behavior which frustrated him about his son (very often in front of his son).  That is, his general disrespect for authority.  Jesus had very little negative to say about the nearly universally hated Roman rulers of his day.  In fact, he spoke of “rendering unto Caesar that which he is due.”   Jesus was more focused upon the Kingdom of Heaven, as we should be.  That we should avoid hypocrisy in our words and actions.  The Apostle Paul spoke clearly of how we workers should show respect for our employers and others with authority over us.  This included respect for those in authority over us with whom we might disagree.  Our words and actions of integrity and compassion speak volumes concerning our values, much moreso than the negative things we say.  As our model, Jesus sought to build up the Kingdom of God, as opposed to tearing down the authority of government.  As he stated to Pontius Pilate prior to his crucifixion, the government would have no authority were it not allowed by God.  That is not to say that we should not work toward justice through earthly authority, but that we should respect that authority and model our respect for legitimate authority to our children.  As the expression goes, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you’re saying.”  Or, “Action speaks louder than words.”   If we say that we respect authority, but our actions indicate otherwise, we are teaching our children and those under our authority to do likewise.


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