Yesterday I ventured out of my office into the public arena. Cultural observations are inevitable. My first encounter with the cultural milieu was the lack of respect for the authority structure of the culture. There were designated parking areas for handicapped people. Having acquainted myself with the qualifications for a handicapped placard, my first observation was a young male without any manifestation of the qualifications for handicap parking, park in a handicap zone and exit his vehicle and almost run toward a store with the vigor of a young athlete. It was at that point that I thank God for allowing me to understand why people think and act without integrity, respect, and dignity. Based on my acquaintance with the culture in which I reside, I would suspect that young man was the product of a one parent home, at best.
The familial structure in western culture is like an unexposed cancer that eats away the life of a person, slowly and surely, until it is discovered too late. Is it too late for cultural recovery? No, but recovery begins with God’s people. They must first realize when they point their forefinger towards the culture, there are three fingers pointing back. If you don’t understand my metaphor stop and read James 1:13. And for the preachers, if you don’t know James 3:1, stop and read it first.
The breakdown of the American culture is a lack of understanding or teaching the principles that regulate the culture. One reason that young man showed no respect for handicapped parking is someone did not teach him the law of authority. I wrote a book that summarizes the law of authority. It is a Brief Study of the Ten Commandments.
The fifth commandment is a general principle expressed by familial language. The fifth commandment, like the other nine must be interpreted in the context of the whole Bible. If Christians consult the whole counsel of God, they will find this commandment is a theological concept that may be best summarized as the law of authority. The biblical doctrine of authority is a general principle. The fifth commandment teaches that authority demands respect. The fifth commandment mandates the respect and honor due to those who have authority. An understanding of the biblical doctrine of authority, especially in the context of this commandment is necessary for order in society. Human nature is such that pride will protest against authority. Furthermore, this commandment is a necessary condition if Christians expect to understand the next five commandments on human relationships. Disorder, chaos and confusion are common among the nations of the world. It was that way when there was no king in Israel and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Ungodly ambition and individualism are enemies of order and harmony. The purpose of the law of authority is to maintain mutual order and respect for those of authority and those who are subordinate to that authority.