Romans 13:7-10 – Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
We live in a culture of dishonor, completely antithetical to what the Bible calls us to when it says, in Romans 13:7, to give “honor to whom honor is owed”. As Americans who separated from Great Britain, Protestants who separated from Catholics, and living on the backside of the countercultural revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s, our default is anti-authority.
I see this a lot when I travel to preach. I’ll go speak at a church or conference, someone will pick me up at the airport, and on the drive to the church, the person driving will say “We’re so glad you’re here. Our pastor is an idiot and here’s everything that’s going wrong. If you could talk to him, fix him, and straighten him out, that’d be great.”
This is before I’ve barely even said hello and now, I’ve been tagged in as the complaint department.
One of the last times this happened, it was really negative, and I didn’t even know this person. So, we arrived, they walked me into the senior pastor’s office, and he asked, “How was the drive?” and I looked at the guy who gave me a ride and said, “Why don’t you tell him what you were telling me in the car?”
He was shocked that I called him out and he played shy and said it wasn’t necessary to tell him, but I didn’t want to be the one to say it, because I didn’t want to gossip. He said he’d never told the senior pastor how much he didn’t respect or liked him, but I told him if he had an issue with him, he should work it out between the two of them.
He still didn’t want to say it to the face of the senior pastor and the point I was trying to make is that you can’t honor someone to their face then dishonor them when they’re not in the room. That’s not honor, that’s lying, that’s pretending.
We all, at some point, are under some authority that we have a hard time honoring and we have one of two choices – stay there and honor the authority or leave in a way that is honorable.
Let’s say you’re working for a company where you don’t like the boss, business model, how they treat clients, whatever the case may be. You have the ability to leave and to honor is to leave honorably. Honor while you’re there and, if you can’t honor, then leave in a way that is honorable.
To have a good beginning, we need to have a good conclusion. If you’re moving from one thing to the next, you want one thing to be good at its conclusion so the next thing can have a good beginning.
How are you doing at honoring God and those in authority over you?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.