Respect. What is it anyway? It is to feel or show honor for someone or something. It is to hold that someone or thing in high regard. It is to esteem. What or who do you esteem? Some respect money, political figures, sports (and heroes in sports), Holywood figures, education, beauty and the list goes on. What should we all esteem, but we fail to do so justly?
Isaiah 53:3 says, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Christ our Lord, who gave up heaven to be nothing among the selfish and greedy beings, who gave his life for the most unworthy sinful man, deserves our respect. He teaches us to respect others. The word of God tells us to show proper respect to everyone (1 Peter 2:17). We are to respect the aged and our parents (Leviticus 19:3 & 32). We are to respect our spouses and employers (Ephesians 5:33 & 6:5). We are to respect those who serve and lead us in God's church (1 Thessalonians 5:12) We are to respect governing authorities (1 Peter 2:13).
How do you show respect? The idea of respect sounds great, but sometimes it is a bit confusing. When we say that we respect someone, yet do not show love, submission, kindness, or honor; then how is this respect? Respect isn't something we just offer with our lips. "Mom, I respect you, now get out of my life and let me live it my way." "O, darling, I respect you, but I want you to be different." "I respect the president, but he isn't my president. I didn't vote for him. He shouldn't be in office." "I respect my elders but they could have done a better job. If they had done it this way, everything would be better." No. It goes beyond our lips and must be in our actions.
I googled how to show respect and found a webpage titled 100 ways you can love your husband. Wow. Here are 100 ways I can offer my respect to Michael with my actions. After I quick glance at just a few, I felt ashamed at my lack of respect for him. Maybe I should spend the next 100 days offering him 100 ways of respect. I have noted a few and I am trying to add them to my life.
Again, I googled respect for our country. I even considered the respect we as Americans are supposed to offer to the flag. If you look while driving down any road, you will find flags that are torn, weathered, or just neglected. The American flag is disrespected regularly and mostly from negligence and possibly ignorance. Maybe we have failed to learn about respect and how to show respect.
Can you teach respect to your children just by telling them to show respect? I think not. It must be taught by example. Respect is not a concrete thing. It is an idea that helps to establish unity and comes from a heart of love.
My mom just told me about her vacation to St. Thomas. She told me how she met a woman who knew my mom was a christian just by the respect she showed by standing in honor to the national anthem. My mother loves God and loves America, she esteems God by offerring respect to those God has called her to esteem, even her country. God empowers us to respect even the least respectable.
I'm not suggesting that I know about respect. I am just beginning my journey in understanding my call to respect God, the church and its elders, my parents, my husband, my country, the authorities that govern me, and the aged. I have a lot to learn about respect. I want to become a person who offers respect and is worthy of respect as well. May you join me in this effort to give proper respect to everyone as our Mighty God has called us to do.
One last thought from the Word of God and a good reason to offer respect...........
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 says, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your won business adn to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that yo will not be dependent on anybody."