Is there ever justification for disrespect?

I was accused recently of disrespect, and of teaching my children the same, so this is a question rather dear to my heart. Yes, I know that at times I have been disrespectful, and my attitude is not always what it should be. I have almost certainly been guilty of making unjustified sarcastic or slighting remarks.

My question is, can there ever be a time when truth should overwrite respect? When a wrong cannot be exposed without sullying the name of an authority figure, is it still right to expose that wrong? Or should an injustice be overlooked out of respect for the leader in question?

This is an issue that seems obvious, and yet it is not. The Bible tells us to respect those in authority over us, and yet we as Christians are also supposed to stand for the truth. When those two are in conflict, what is the solution?

In Acts 23:3-4, Paul calls Annas a whited wall, then when he is informed that this man is the high priest, he immediately apologizes. He had certainly known that the man was an official before, so was he repenting of his remark completely or was he only sorry that he had insulted the high priest, a position that God ordained?

I’ve been mulling this recently, and have several other thoughts on it, but I’d be interested to hear what the rest of you have to say. I’ll post more later.

Edited to add:  I should explain that I’m not necessarily talking about name-calling, like Paul did.  I simply mean that when an authority figure is questioned, it is often interpreted as disrespect, no matter how kindly it is stated. 


About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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5 Responses to

  1. fwren says:

    Well, when does NOT saying something become condoning the wrong?  Or being a part of it?  These are hard questions in our day ~ very relevant.  We are between a rock and a hard place much of the time, it seems.  Being kind when confronting those in leadership with apparent corruption or “abuse of power” (yikes) should not be viewed as disrespect, but should be accepted with an open mind and humility ~ but human nature usually rears up in self-defense and indignation ~ citing the concern as disrespect is a defense mechanism.

  2. I was heartily convicted one time by the example of a fellow sister who said, “I don’t want to give a bad report.” (Well, there was more to the conversation, but that was the line that stuck.) If I avoid giving “bad reports” of anyone, then I think I will avoid slander, gossip, and showing Christ to be anything but who He is. Yes, Christ called people hypocrites, but I have a big enough “log” myself without looking at the specks!

  3. TLpaints says:

    Depending on the spirit in which it is done, I do not believe that questioning an authority figure is disrespectful.  I always try to keep in mind that everything is perceived differently by each person so, maybe in your mind you weren’t disrespectful but in the authority figure’s mind you were.  They probably just felt threatened by your concern.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When those in authority speak their minds, their opinions, they are not considered disrespectful. But when we speak our mind, or opinion, based on God’s Word, when WE have a concern, we are considered disrespectful.  It would be nice to be able to listen to what each other had to say, without bristling, or feeling threatened. 
    We are all human, and we all sin.  We all make mistakes.  When the one who is in authority makes a mistake, (if and when), who’s to correct him, or suggest there might be a concern? 
    I’ve been struggling with not being able to speak what’s on my mind, also lately, because it is taken wrong.

  5. mamaglop says:

    I do not think pointing out a wrong, especially if it is shown to be contrary to scripture and not just a different opinion, is wrong at all!  If you were in their place and going down the wrong trail, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you?  Disrespect is shown when two wills or opinions are at odds, and is an expression of selfish pique. Pointing out a wrong or expressing a different opinion could also be DONE disprespectfully, and that shouldn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean to express it is wrong.   People have broadened the definition of “censorship” to try to squash dissent, now they are doing it with “respect”.  That quote from Paul, -I’ve wondered about that.  He was obviously showing respect for the office. 

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