Respectfully Saying No to Authority

A good example of how to respectfully disagree with parents or other people God tells us to honor and/or obey.

In We Need It: A Submissive Heart, I explained that we honor God by honoring those God tells us to honor.
In this devotion, I want to share a practical way to show a parent respect when you don't agree with them.

I was married with two adult children when we moved temporarily back to my hometown. My father, a retired contractor, felt we should buy a lot so he could help us build a house. Whenever he mentioned this, I told him we were too unsure of our future to do something that permanent. But he kept suggesting it.

Then, one day as I was praying, I felt the Lord convict me that I was not treating my father’s advice in an honorable way. I was treating it like the advice of a friend, but God calls us to a higher standard in our relationship with our parents.

So I went to my father, apologized for not taking his advice seriously, and told him that my husband and I would make it a matter of prayer. 

We took a week to sincerely pray about the situation and felt the Lord leading us not to build. When I explained this to my father, I could tell he appreciated the respectful way we'd handled it. He was finally able to accept our answer.

Honoring a person does not necessarily mean agreeing with them, but it does mean listening and treating their advice with respect.

I encourage you to consider how you interact with your parents. Ask God if there are ways you can be more respectful, grateful, or considerate. Sometimes it's not what we do but how we do it that matters.

💙Beyond 1-minute for those who want more:

While this devotion specifically addresses parents, the principle applies to others in authority as well.

Please look through the Scriptures below that encourage respect for parents, remembering that our respect for our parents is based on our respect for God's laws and not dependent on their "worthiness."

A good example of how to respectfully disagree with parents or other people God tells us to honor and/or obey.

Proverbs 1:8: "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching." 

Proverbs 23:22: "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old." 

Leviticus 19:24: "Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD."

1 Timothy 5:1: "Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father."

1 Peter 5:5: "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" 

Philippians 2:3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."

And note this negative description of those who judge their parents unworthy of their respect: 
Proverbs 30:11-14: "There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful; those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind." 
Note: Children who have been physically or sexually abused by parents must seek godly Christian counsel in handling their adult relationship with their parents. 

Bible Love Notes


  1. A wise son brings joy to his father,
    but a foolish son grief to his mother
    Proverbs 10:1

    A wise son brings joy to his father,
    but a foolish man despises his mother.
    Proverbs 15:20

  2. Dear Gail. I so agree with all you say in this post. To my shame and regret I did not treat my late dear Mum and Dad with the kindness, love and respect I know I should have done many times in my life. I have written to you before about this under your post 'The Serious Consequences of Dishonoring Parents', on February 14 this year. I came across a very moving article written a few years ago by someone called Eleni Kyriacou - They're My Parents. I Miss Them. If only I had seen this article when it was first written, perhaps it might have made a difference to me. I'll never know. But I hope and pray it might make someone else stop and think a little about their attitude towards their own parents. When you lose them it's too late to say 'sorry' or more importantly, 'I love you'. I also came across a poem called 'To a Rebellious Daughter' by Fay Inchfawn. Words that touch the heart and should make everyone realise just how precious our Mothers are. As I said in my previous comment, our parents may have faults, but we ALL do! If we really want God to love us and forgive us our faults and our sins, we must do the same to others and especially to those we should love the most. I have learnt a very hard and bitter lesson but I hope my heart is changing and being changed every day through Jesus Christ our Lord. I pray that what I have said will help someone else. God bless you all, Christine.

    1. I appreciate so very much your repentant heart, knowing that our Lord completely forgives you, and I hope that your comment will encourage others, whose parents are still alive to heed your words.

      God bless you.

    2. TY! Christine for sharing that poem. It brought tears to my eyes. My Mom passed on when I was only 20 (she was 50). That was 47+ yrs. ago and I still miss her, though I look forward to being reunited with her one day soon in the presence of our Lord Jesus.

      I find myself, at times, crying for my own daughter for I know my passing will be difficult for her. We went through 5 yrs. of a very rocky road, she would not even speak with me for 2 of those yrs. and it was extremely painful. Now, we rarely allow a day to pass without at least a text of 'I love you'. I feel greatly honored when she asks for my help with something or simply needs a listening ear. I greatly love all of my sons, but there is something quite special between a Mother & Daughter.

      If only folks knew how simple it really is to Honor our Parents. (((HUGS)))