If you have any thoughts I’d like to here them about what to do when you have older relatives/parents who espouse the teachings you deal with in this article. If, for example, (just for a friend who was asking, of course) you have older relatives who teach that women can and should speak out in the assembly, need not bother with head coverings, etc., how can you deal with that situation. I don’t believe that the lack of respect that they’re teaching women justifies a lack of respect to my elders, and they do not seem very inclined to listen when I object to their teachings and practices; teachings and practices with which I was raised.
The answer I have is not thrilling, but what I do is, basically, two things.
First, I practice and teach (repeat) what the Bible plainly says. Know it yourself, and tell others that God expects it to be obeyed as He does all His commands. Study the surrounding texts. Know the context so that you can refute arguments and redirect distractions back to the text.
Second, I keep in mind that my behavior is the ambassador of my message. If I am wild and unruly I won’t be respected when I speak up. And if I ignore the traditions they ask of me which sometimes aren’t so clear from the text, then they will disregard me as apathetic, or a reviler.
Third, I don’t back down from arguing what the Bible plainly says. It is not inherently disrespectful to disagree with elders. I think this remark from Peter and John in Acts 4 is the guide:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
I can picture them bowing their heads as the say, “you must judge”, but then standing tall as they finish, “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” They don’t challenge the authority of the priests; in fact they recognize it. They don’t mock them, nor insult them. This is the opposite of common and childish attitude of today which demands, “Who are you to judge?”, or, “I don’t have to listen to you!” They are to judge. We do have to listen. But we don’t have to agree, and we shouldn’t pretend we do.