Respect is a tricky concept. We do not need anyone to earn our respect, rather it should be freely given. We are able and empowered to respect everyone regardless of their behavior or appearance. Grace changed us and our grace will change our community.
What if Respect isn’t Earned? It makes sense that we expect everything in life to be earned. It sounds right. That is how things work on this earth. But, it’s not how things work in the Kingdom of heaven. The idea that we get what we deserve was set up by the Accuser. It is an intentionally self-defeating system. We expend so much effort to earn everything or anything. But, we are always going to fall short eventually. WHY?
Romans 3:23 (NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
What if Respect is Given? If we gave respect to those that disagree with us, that respectful attitude might be transformational in a community. Where would we begin?
Our Homes Filled With Respect
First – Paul’s ideas aren’t about ANYONE being “less than”. Respect, love, and submission are not words to place one above another. They are used to build a healthy community of honor and service in every family, church, and community.
When Paul addresses submission in the home, church, and community, he explains what the looks like for women, men, parents, children, citizens, and leaders.
Ephesians 5:21-22, 33 (NLT) And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 33 …the wife must respect her husband.
For wives, submission looks like the Church’s relationship to Jesus. The church depends upon Jesus. The church’s identity is tied to and fulfilled in the identity of Jesus.
In the question above you identified some things that are not respectful. How do you keep disrespect out of your marriage? So, are you willing to help your husband succeed out of respect? Can you tell him how God sees him? Could you bless him and build him?
Ephesians 5:25, 33 (NLT) For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her… 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself,…
For Husbands, submission looks like Jesus’ relationship to the Church. So, are you willing to help your wife succeed out of love? Could you tell her how God sees her? If you chose to bless and build her, how would your relationship change? How could you help her win? When she wins – we win. When He wins – we win. What a change we would enjoy if “He/She” could become “we”.
Ephesians 6:4 (NLT) Fathers (Parents), do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
For Parents. Our children are God’s children first and last. Yes, you will always be mom or dad, but your parenting will change. They will progress through the stages of life and so will you. Your job is to go first and prepare them for everything possible.
Parents do this with respect as they train respect. Their tools are discipline and instruction. We should note that discipline and punishment are different things. Discipline is about choices and consequences. Discipline is about victory. It makes someone better, stronger, and wiser.
Also, could you show your children how God sees them? What if you build them with God’s ideas, hopes, vision, and future for them? If we fill our homes with respect, if we teach respect, if we accept nothing less than respect, then the church and society we inhabit will reflect the respect of the individuals and families contained within it.
Romans 12:10 (NLT) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Our Church Filled With Respect
Each Other. Imagine a place, any place, where people loved to GIVE respect and honor. Could you even imagine a group of people looking for a reason to respect and honor? What an exciting idea to envision people looking for a reason to encourage others. We could build each other up with God’s ideas, visions, hopes, and dreams for each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work…
But, What About Leaders? Every church has its servants and spiritual parents. Some teach, some sing, some give, some share, and all serve. Instead of rejecting anything that remotely resembles authority, what if we worked with them?
Churches have leaders with an anointing and calling. They often know what they are supposed to be doing. They often would love to have the ministries their congregants wish they had. So, what if we encouraged our leaders? We could bless them and help them. After all, when you win, I win. When they win, we win.
1 Peter 2:17 (NLT) Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
Our Community Filled With Respect
Respect Isn’t Agreement. I don’t have to agree with you in order to respect you. I am GIVING you respect. Not because you have earned it, but because that is how it works in God’s kingdom. That is the culture of Heaven.
Respect Isn’t Compliance. You will submit to some things in your life because you have no choice. Respect is an exercise of your true freedom regardless of your reality. Jesus demonstrated that possibility quite clearly by his death at Jewish and Roman hands.
Respect Is… Respect is an acceptance that God has highly valued every person. So when we respect, we find ways to give honor, to bless, and to build up others. Because…
THEY are someone for whom Christ died for.