Date: June 18, 2017
Title: Respect Authority
The Point: Respect the authorities God has placed in your life.
Get Into the Study
A new children’s book released last week entitled “She Persisted.” The author, Chelsea Clinton, based the book off women in American history who persisted despite their circumstances.¹ In your group time, you will be discussing how to respect leaders, even leaders some people may not agree with. As you begin your group time, take a minute to discuss the the new children’s book title and some of the women it includes such as Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony.
Use the following questions in your discussion:
How did these women respect the authorities over them while still persisting with their message?
What does respect bring to a tense situation that disrespect never will?
Share that in today’s session, we’ll study how David respected Saul even though others were advising him to kill the king who was trying to kill him. David persevered by seeking God’s guidance in the midst of a tumultuous season of his life. We are called to exemplify this same attitude.
Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She has a PhD in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.
Use the following illustration to help group members consider the difference between dissent and disrespect.
President Donald Trump is a controversial figure. Many love him and many don’t. Comedian Kathy Griffin falls into the latter category. As with many comedians, she has been known to push boundaries. Her recent decision, however, pushed too far.
Griffin posted a picture of herself holding a mask of what appeared to be President Trump’s severed and blood-soaked head. The outrage was immediate and widespread among both liberals and conservatives. She has since apologized and removed the picture. Nonetheless, CNN terminated their contract with her (she had co-hosted the CNN New Year’s Eve broadcast since 2007).
In posing for and posting the photo, Griffin went beyond mere disagreement. The line between disagreement and disrespect isn’t always so obvious, though. As Christians, we often disagree with those in authority, and it seems that current shifts in culture are putting us more often in a place of dissent. We are not called to be silent, but we are called to be respectful.
Ask: What distinguishes disagreement from disrespect?
How can you be sure to maintain respect for those with whom you disagree?
Nikki Wilbanks is a stay-at- home mom, writer, Bible study leader, and commercial real estate appraiser/investor. She graduated from Pepperdine University, and lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
- What are some of the qualities of the best boss you ever had?
- What are some of the qualities of the worst boss you ever had?
- What traits do you most admire in a leader?
- Do you tend to follow the letter of the law or do you see laws as guidelines?
- How do you typically respond to authority?
1 Samuel 24:3-7
- What are some ways you avoid a revenge mentality?
- How would you define David’s relationship with King Saul?
- How would you have reacted if you had been in David’s shoes?
- What are some ways to deal with a difficult authority figure?
1 Samuel 24:8-11
- What are some ways to show honor to authorities when you disagree with them?
- What are some reasons why it is difficult to confront those in authority over you?
- What can we learn from David about dealing with difficult people?
- How do David’s actions and attitudes compare to what we see in our culture?
- What does it look like to act with grace toward those in authority?
- What do you admire most about David in these verses?
1 Samuel 24:12
- What are the benefits of leaving vengeance in God’s hands?
- What holds you back from trusting God in situations involving difficult people?
- When have you tried to settle a matter in your own way without consulting with God and His Word?
- What does respectful submission to authority look like?
- What do you give up when you leave vengeance in God’s hands?
- How are we to respond when an authority figure fails to do what is right?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Session 3.