At Shelton High School in Connecticut, parents and students were outraged when the high school administration chose to enforce the prom dress code. The dress code banned dresses that were backless, had cut-outs, or exposed the wearer’s midriff. Students who arrived at the prom sporting inappropriate attire would not be allowed into the building. However, for many, respecting this rule was simply too much to ask. Students even started a petition protesting the dress code enforcement. A mass rebellion was sparked, simply by asking people to obey a basic rule that was stated in the student handbook.
This story reveals a much deeper root of disrespect in our society. Many young adults and teenagers struggle to obey rules and submit to authority.
Submission is never easy. To the contrary, it may be one of the hardest things we ever learn. However, we must practice it because there will always be someone we have to submit to. Right now, we have to submit to our parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses. In the future, we will have to be submissive and humble if we want to sustain a healthy marriage. Successful adulthood is impossible without humility and submission to authority.
I understand that this is a heavy topic. Discussing submission typically does not make people feel warm and fuzzy. However, it is a vital discussion that we must have if we want society to function correctly.
On a side note, this article was never intended as a direct attack against any individual or group, but rather as a discussion of the general attitude of disrespect that our culture fosters. Thankfully, we have complete and full forgiveness for all rebellion through Jesus’ love and grace. However, we can save ourselves much heartbreak and trouble if we choose now to submit to God and those in authority over us.
The severe consequences of adult disobedience
Our regard and respect for rules and authority in our lives right now will foretell how we respond to rules and authority as an adult. If a young person continues on with their immature flippancy and disrespect towards authority, then the consequences will be severe, even life altering or deadly.
Christal McGee is the perfect example of the consequences of disrespect for rules and authority. According to The Washington Post, in September of 2015, eighteen year old Christal McGee was driving home from work. She decided to use the snapchat speed filter to document her speed. She reached 113 mph. Problem is, the speed limit on the suburban road was 55 mph.
Unfortunately, Christal did not see the other vehicle before it was too late. She crashed into Maynard Wentworth, an Uber driver, going 107 miles per hour. Inflicted with a traumatic brain injury, Wentworth was hospitalized for months.
Not only did Christal hurt herself and another driver on the road, she also risked the lives of the friends who were in the car with her, including a friend who was pregnant. According to another source, Christal is now in jail for her offense.
All of this damage was caused by Christal’s blatant disregard for the speed limit posted on the side of the road. Much heartache could have been prevented if she had simply respected the rules.
The Young Christian’s Response to Authority
Thankfully, those who have received Jesus as their savior have complete and perfect forgiveness, and thus the ability to move forward after making mistakes. God helps us overcome our rebellion and turn to humility instead. 1 Peter 5:5-6 paints a picture of what Biblical submission should look like for the young believer:
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”
God’s grace covers us when we mess up; and gently turns us around when we are stuck in our own pride. James 4:7 instructs us to submit ourselves to God. The purpose of submitting to God is so that we can be closer to Him, thus experience His love and grace more powerfully. Obedience to authority and to God is actually freeing, giving us the power to move forward in life with a clear conscience. I would encourage you to live as a radical example of submission to God and authority in this rebellious society. We can shine a light for Jesus by simply being humble and obedient.