I remember listening to another teacher speak of a meeting with a student, completely disruptive to the learning process and officially labeled "emotionally disturbed." Mom and Dad had lawyered up (mom would later work for me when I was a principal), so the meeting was full of lawyers for the district and the student, and included administrators of special education, the campus administrators, parents, the student, and teachers. During the three hours of deliberation, the student looked at the assistant principal and called her by her first name. The school's attorney stopped the meeting and looked directly at the student and stated, "We will go no further until you refer to her as Mrs. _____." The student and his father objected, but the lawyer had drawn the line. The student's attorney said, "Please John (student), let's call her by her proper name." The student reluctantly agreed.
As you read that, you probably had two thoughts. First, do schools have those kinds of things going on all the time? My answer to that would be that was the 1980s, so given the distance in time, our litigious society has made some things very difficult. Secondly, your other thought was, "The nerve of that kid." Sorry, we had paddling back then and kids like that still existed.
John (the student) had no respect for school personnel (and probably little respect for mom, dad, or anyone else), and he certainly feared nothing. I note that today even more so. There is little fear with regard to adults in the education process, and consequently, it translates to respect.
Yet we witness it in church as well. We've been told that the word "sin" makes some uncomfortable, too legalistic, and in our own congregation, we've heard the confession of sin at the start of each service seems so "yesterday." Some have even gone to find other churches because of that. I'm reminded of Joseph Heller's book, "Catch 22," in which one segment has atheists talking about not believing in God, but they go on to debate that if they did believe in a God, here is the kind of God we'd believe in (the book is about bomber pilots in WWII, so the discussion is a comedic side bar by Heller).
Let's negotiate the kind of God we believe in and let's set the parameters about God and how we perceive him. Yet God's Word speaks clearly about God. Proverbs speaks clearly that the cornerstone of wisdom starts with the fear of God (Proverbs 1). Christ himself speaks uncompromisingly about unrepentance. "I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you (the unrepentant of Chorazin and Bethsaida and assuredly the unrepentant among us)." (Matthew 11)
"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." We confess our sins before God and seek his forgiveness out of fear, awe, respect and reverence for our God and the love He gave us by pouring out his Son's blood for our redemption.
Hope Men's Ministry