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    Honor to Whom Honor

    November 8, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Yesterday, my nephew was huffing about the election of Obama. My son had been doing the same thing. These little boys knew who the adults around them had voted for, and they were disappointed by the loss. They weren’t sure what to do with their first defeat in an election.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell them to get used to it.

    I also didn’t say much to them as they growled about how they just “couldn’t believe it.” Mostly, I was amused at their burgeoning interest in the world around them. Not long ago, they were babes that thought of nothing other than food and play. Now here they were, expressing an interest in politics, of all things!

    As they complained, I thought of Romans 13:7:

    Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

    The boys’ focus moved to some other subject, so I decided to let this conversation go for now, but I do think it is important to teach our children respect. Come January, Obama will be our president. He was elected fairly {as far as I can tell}, and it is my responsibility as an American to respect him. This is something that is lacking in our postmodern culture. We have this idea that respect must be earned. To some extent that is true. But we cannot forget that wonderful idea of hierarchy.

    Some folks are to be respected because of the position they hold.

    Sure, it is easier for me to respect a president with whom I agree {not that we’ve ever had one of those in the years I have voted}. But I must still respect and honor a president because of his office.

    Does this mean we cannot disagree? Of course not. It is not disrespectful for me to critique Obama’s website or speeches. It is not disrespectful to think through what any ruler has done and whether or not it was right. But to say that he is not my president or to call him horrible names is to engage in disrespectful acts with which I should not be associated with as a Christian.

    The Bible places an emphasis on honor. We are to honor our parents, regardless of how well we think they did their job. We women are to honor our husbands, even if we think they’re making a bad decision. Honor entails, among other things, respecting God’s order for the culture, even when we don’t agree with those who hold the positions of power.

    So when the little ones around me are moping about the election, I think I will have to remind them that their new president is just that: their new president. And they should respect him because it is the right thing to do. Dissent can be accomplished without dishonor.

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  • Reply Brandy November 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    It really is hard to know what to say to our children sometimes. I don’t know about everyone else’s children, but I think most are like mine and very black and white, so telling them that someone is a “bad man” (not that I’ve done this in regard to Obama…yet…sigh) means that they think they have the right to huff and puff and complain, etc. It’s hard. I liked Rachel’s suggestion that we remind the children that we are all, without Christ, “bad men.” That is not only true, but it keeps us humble. Another thought I had recently was to remind the children that when someone acts like our enemy, we are to love them and pray for them…and then actually make plans to pray together for said person.

    Unfortunately, I think it is true that we will all have some “character building” going on for a while…

  • Reply Kari November 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with my girls all week. Again, that is.

    I think the Lord is going to use the next four years to build the character of all of His children – young and old(-er).

  • Reply Rachel R. November 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    We’re all “bad men.” Some of us, by God’s grace, have had opportunity to learn and know and learn to love God’s ways, but we are inherently no different from anyone else. That is what I would tell a little one who asks if Obama is “a bad man.” 🙂

    Thank you, Brandy, for the timely reminder.

  • Reply Kansas Mom November 9, 2008 at 2:29 am

    My son has been asking us if Obama is a “bad man.” I’m not exactly sure where he got the phrase since I don’t think it’s one my husband or I have used, but I’m having a hard time answering him. At the very least, he seems extremely misguided and certainly supports evil practices, but I want First Son to respect our electoral process and the presidency and I certainly don’t want him walking about calling our President a bad man when he doesn’t really understand what that means (but other people will make all sorts of inferences).

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