Do you demand respect?
Webster defines “respect” as feeling admiration for someone because of their value, good qualities, or abilities. Aretha Franklin sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me. Yes, we all want to be respected by others: bosses, co-workers, our spouse, kids, and other family members. The Bible tells us to care about and to show respect to others as we humbly recognize their value in God’s eyes.
But what happens when you don’t get respect? Do you respond in anger and demand it? Ephesians 6:4 warns fathers in particular, “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”. Yes, God wants your children to learn to be respectful, but if respect is something you demand to have and you sin because you do not have it; it has become an idol in your heart. An idol is something that you value more than your relationship with God and certainly something you place above the relationship with your child. It is easy to lose sight of your role as God’s representative in training, disciplining, and instructing them.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)
Children will be disobedient and teenagers seem to enjoy finding our weaknesses and exploiting them. When we demand respect, they often become less and less willing to show it. This is wrong on their part, but responding by becoming enraged and shouting will not produce the resulting change in their hearts. It is sin. As a father, I recognize this in my own heart, and confess to what I thought was righteous anger. It turns out it was just ugly pride.Heart Check
We need to calmly point out their disrespectful words and actions to our teenagers, but it is up to God and His Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and change their hearts. There may be consequences for their sins, but we need to keep our own hearts in check and make sure the goal of our discipline is their growth and not our own pride.