Respecting the Authority of Abusive or Disrespectful People
Q: How can I respect authority of people who are abusive or disrespectful to me?
A: Jesus gave the Church one commandment—to love one another as God loves us (John 13:34). Anytime we see people controlling others, whether it is through physical, emotional or spiritual abuse, we find the works of darkness. God does not desire that you or any of His children be treated in such a way.
To understand true, God-given authority, we must first understand how and why man was created. God created us in His image to have fellowship with Him and to carry out His will on the earth (Genesis 1:26-27). When God created man He gave him authority on the earth, which included dominion over the fish, birds and animals (Genesis 1:26-28).
Likewise, Jesus has given the believer authority in the spirit realm and the empowerment to do mighty works (Matthew 16:19; Mark 16:15-18). But at no time has God ever given us dominion over other people. God did not create us to rule or control one another, nor did He create us to be ruled or controlled by other people. Jesus set the captives free (Luke 4:18)!
Abuse of authority occurs any time one man takes from another the God-given ability to make choices. God gave man this right and ability because He desired to have a true, loving relationship with us. Love is pure only when it is birthed out of a choice made by one’s own free will. God could control us, but He refuses to take away our freedom (Deuteronomy 30:19).
God’s Word and His Spirit are to be the directing forces in our lives—not another person. God has not given any man or institution the right to take away the opportunity for people to receive personal direction and guidance from His Word. The purpose for which God has ordained governments and given us ministry gifts is for all of us to grow together in unity as a strong Body (Romans 13:1-4, Ephesians 4:7-16)—free of lawlessness. He established natural and spiritual authority for our protection and development, not for control and manipulation.
Follow the peace of God inside you. If something doesn’t seem right to you, most likely it is the Holy Spirit telling you that something is not quite right. In John 10:4-5, Jesus said His sheep know His voice and a stranger they will not follow. You are His sheep. Obey His voice, and by obeying Him you will keep yourself from harm.