In his Pocket Catholic Dictionary, Father John Hardon defines obedience as “[t]he moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command.” It is that last part of the definition—“who has the right to command”—which is often forgotten or misunderstood. There are two components that give someone the right to command: the “who” commanding and the “what” being commanded.
First, the “who.” Is the person in a position of authority? If a stranger were to walk up to you and command you to mow his grass, you would have no obligation to obey that command, even if that stranger were the Commander of the Army (assuming you’re not in the Army, of course). A person must be given authority over you, either by another authority or voluntarily by you, in order to demand your obedience.
Well, that is timely– and not in relation to the kung flu, either.
Over at Crossover Queen’s Creative Chaos she made a similar point, with “boundary violations.”
More words to try to put a finger on what, exactly, is wrong with what someone is doing.