“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name.” – Malachi 1:6
In many cultures of this world, the respect for parents is religiously unwavering. It seems to not always be that way here in America though. I recall from my high school days how kids were somehow “embarrassed” by their parents. Looking back, it all seems silly – just about all of those parents were perfectly lovely people doing a great job of being parents.
Unfortunately, there was just no way to be cool around your parents. So, the kids would continually distance themselves from the parents. It was either spatial distance (not being seen with them) or philosophical distance (going out of their way to express to friends how their parents were silly, or ignorant, or in some other way uncool).
One wonders the extent to which this mindset has pervaded modern church circles. Do the young Christians (or even the old ones) today find themselves wanting to be cool with their friends while at the same time being Christians?
Ask yourself this. How many times have you, or your Christian friends, backed off of some clearly defined Biblical truth in a conversation with non-believing companions? Surely we’ve all done it, right? But why?
I suspect the answer is rather simple. We want to be cool. We want to be liked. We want to be fully committed to God and yet also fully rooted in the in culture. Clearly these won’t both fly.
In Malachi 1, the Lord lays it out plain and clear. If He is Lord, if He is Master, if He is Father, then He is to be respected as such.
While on the one hand it sounds austere, it is also quite comforting. It is a declaration that there is no need to shy away from Him. There is no need to apologize for being a Christian. There is no need to back off from Biblical truths. There is no need to befriend the world for the sake of acceptance by the world.
God’s query on the nature of respect for Him, in Malachi, comes also with a firm recognition that respect is well warranted. He can be trusted. He can be respected. He can be honored. There is nothing lost in giving it all to Him. It is encouraging for the believer indeed.