Who Says We Need to Respect the New President?

Matthew 15:14, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

From an early age, we are all taught to respect authority. It begins with our parents and teachers when we are children. We hear “Don’t talk back to me” and “Do what I say” and “Because I said so.” These words we hear instill in us to respect authority without question. As we grow older, we are sometimes all too eager to go along with someone who is merely clothed as an authority or has an authoritative manner, title or reputation.

Although, much of the time blindly respecting the advice of these authority figures is in our best interest, it is not always. In fact, in some situations this unquestioning acceptance may have a detrimental effect on our lives and wellbeing.

“The phrase the blind leading the blind is used to describe a situation where a person who knows nothing is getting advice and help from another person who knows almost nothing.” — The Cambridge Dictionary

People all around us will want to give advice. On social media, there are people that will speak with so much authority that we may feel as if we’re receiving advice from the mouth of God. Everyone knows some blind, incompetent people who love to lead others who are also incapable. In fact, there is an abundance of precarious advice right here on Medium.

Illustration by Kate Greenaway for Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

Just because someone speaks with authority, does not mean anything. Never blindly accept anyone’s advice.

There are times when it’s definitely wise to question authority — especially if our wellbeing is at stake. And the time to do this is when we get a gut feeling that something just doesn’t feel right. Accepting authority may be wise, but blindly trusting authority can be terribly detrimental.

I learned at the age of thirty-six, when I was bedridden and pregnant with my first child, that I needed to question the decisions of the doctors. Being in the hospital for almost four months with two pregnancies, there were times that I had to refuse to comply with what the doctor wanted. Although, he may have been displeased when I challenged him, I found that as long as I was respectful and explained my line of reasoning, he usually worked with me to find another solution. Doctors are human and can make some bad decisions and terrible mistakes. Another thing is that I recognized early on that none of my doctors knew more about my body than I knew. Of course, they have more medical knowledge, but I am more in tune with my own body than anyone else. As the boss of my body, I am doing a disservice to myself and my unborn children if I do not communicate my own insights and evaluations with the medical staff.

This observation is not limited to my situation or to medical professionals. It can be applied to any area of life where we have to interact with authority figures. As long as we keep in mind that everyone is fallible and that no one knows more about us and our world than we do, we should respectfully question or disagree with authority. And if we follow and trust our instincts, we will know when to stand up for ourselves.

Knowledge is not the exclusive property of doctors, teachers, or any other authority figures. There is no reason to blindly follow anyone’s advice without first determining for ourselves whether it’s the most advisable choice.

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You can find more stories by Danna Colman here.

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Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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