The national pastime of Australia is “questioning authority”. It is encouraged by every adult. Students who listen to their teachers and do their homework are called “too serious”. Peer pressure and teacher comments subtly ostracize obedience and diminish behavior which would earn a medal of honor in most other countries. Not here. Students are encouraged to be funny. Employees go out for a smoke break and call their boss an idiot. That gets a laugh. We call our national leaders by their first names, that’s when we want to show them respect. There is no “Mr. President” here. It’s “John,” “Julia,” “Kevin,” Tony,” “Malcolm,” not “Prime Minister Howard, Gillard, Rudd, Abbott, Turbull,” or whoever happens to be prime minister this year. Rebellion against one’s own political party’s authority has been so rampant that it has resulted in a musical chair of prime ministers that the electorate can hardly keep up. One wonders what was the point of voting?
If you question authority, you sound like a free thinker. If you don’t question authority, you are suspected of being a “sheep” – that’s a very nice word to Jesus, but a cringe word to the average Australian. When and how this word took on this twisted connotation are questions which may only be answered by asking the convicts aboard the ships that sailed from England to Australia. The following Scriptures make zero sense to the average Aussie:
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep…” (John 10:14)
“…I lay down my life for my sheep” (John 10:15).
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold…” (John 10:16).
“My sheep hear my voice…” (John 10:27)
When I used to work double jobs to support myself – day time in retail, night time and weekends pastoring – I would share my faith to my boss, an athletic Aussie bloke. He was the typical Aussie who maintained a respectable aloofness to anything religious, yet was curious about an Asian who converted to Christianity. He was curious why people came to my church, and somewhere along the line, as I was explaining that it’s a family to them, I affectionately referred to my church members as “my sheep”. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind. He told me, “Australians don’t want to be sheep.”
Since sheep is a neutral word in most cultures, and even a positive word among Christians, this response may need a translation for non-Australians. This was his way of saying, “Australians don’t like obeying authority. Australians like questioning authority.” I know a Korean migrant here who worked so hard at his job that he got fired. It made middle management think that he was a suck up to the big boss. He quickly learned in Australia, you question authority, not obey them. Then you get ahead. Just like our Prime Ministers. They got the position not by general election, but by undermining their previous leaders. Well, some of them. Not Tony Abbot at least.
How is this relevant to the preservation of Western culture, the progress of our nation, and the Christian revival God would like to see in Australia?
Every time a person mocks authority, they are undermining their own authority. Parents who mock teachers and pastors need to realize they are grooming children to mock them in old age. When Australian teenagers rebel and swear their heads off at their own parents, they are doing what they have seen done. Their parents showed little honor for authority, so they grow up suspicious of pastors, teachers, bosses, policemen and any authority figure.
In our home, we have never said a bad word about any pastor or minister to the children. As far as they’re concerned, pastors and ministers are wonderful people. I know some who aren’t, but most are. In this way, our children grow up learning honor, respect and obedience. As Dr. Mike Murdock says, If you teach your children honor, you have taught them enough. Every pain in your life can be traced to someone you dishonored. Every success in your life can be traced to someone you honored. Every commandment of God is a commandment of honor. That’s why we cannot hope to have Christianity influencing our culture without restoring a culture of honor.
There are probably two main institutions in Australia where Australians can still learn about honor: the military and church. The national service in Singapore and South Korea turns boys into men. Honor is drilled into them. They not only become more responsible, they become more honorable, which in turns helps their social cohesion and economies.
Can you imagine what would happen in the military if the primary value taught is to “question authority”? There should always be channels of feedback and for lodging legitimate grievance, but to make a career and even industry of questioning authority would spell disaster. We would never win any wars.
When children grow up not learning honor from their own parents, then they will break one of the Ten Commandments. This is a detriment to their future. God knows what it takes for our children to succeed. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the and which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
What is the reward of honor? Long life.
What is the consequence of dishonor? Short life. Dishonor may well be a contributing factor to the rise of shocking childhood sicknesses in Australia. We have invented new terms and professions around this aberration: pediatric oncologist, for instance, means a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. Diseases associated with aging are now common in children. Yes, we should partially blame junk food, GMOs, environmental toxins, but aren’t these in nearly every nation? Yet not every nation is suffering an epidemic of ADHD, autism, cancer and depression in youth as Australians are suffering.
According to God’s Word, a long good life is promised to our children when they learn honor, beginning in the home. The best gift we can give our children is to maximize their chance of living a full and long life.
When children learn to be centers of attention, to be jokers in class, to be pampered princesses at home, to show no respect for their parents or pastors, families in our country will become weak. Just as in the military, so too in the family the most important value to pass on is not to dishonor authority.
“BUT I DISAGREE. WHAT IF I JUST CAN’T AGREE?”
The Bible does not say, “If your parents are nice, then you may wish to respect them.” God does not have to tell us to obey authority we agree with. That would be superfluous. We already agree with them. God tells us to love our enemies, because our flesh naturally disagrees with that commandment. It is superfluous to say let’s love our friends.
God tells us to honor leaders we disagree with, without making it difficult for them or demanding that they explain themselves to our satisfaction. The only limit to obedience is that it must not cause you to disobey God. If someone were to tell you to hate another person, you would be disobeying God’s command to love. Children are to commanded to honor their parents, wives their husbands, employees their bosses, citizens their leaders. This kind of honor is key to success spiritually, relationally and financially.
Australian parents have strayed from God’s mandate in the home. The result has been disastrous for our youth. Yet the worst offense is among Australian pastors who have often strayed from God’s mandate in the church. The result is no Christian revival. Instead, Islam which teaches order in the home, clear separation of genders and chastity for women, seems to be gaining ground.
Very few Christian pastors these days have preached the following Scriptures from their pulpits, yet they remain true and beneficial to us if taken in the right spirit.
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1 NKJ).
“Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:7-8). There is a connection between honor and love. There is no love without honor. The most loving people are also the most honoring people. The most hateful people are also the most dishonoring people.
All people, even those you disagree with, deserve some honor. “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood (Christians). Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). Notice “fear God” is in the middle of these instructions. It is not first. It is not last. It is not the only instruction. People tend to assume they can honor God while they dishonor fellow Christians. It is impossible. The degree to which we honor God is shown by the degree to which we honor other humans who God loves and whom He redeemed by the sacrifice of His Son’s life. George Washington once wrote as a 14-year-old, “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.” No wonder God could use this man to win the Revolutionary War, change a culture, and become the First President of the most powerful nation on earth.
To prepare yourself and your children for God’s Destiny:
THE REWARD OF HONOR (2 DVDs)
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