It’s all about respect but what is respect? It’s holding something or someone in high or special regard country legend Charlie Pride had to earn folks respect when he started in country music because he was an African American in a traditionally white industry.
Today it looks as if we have almost completely lost the concept of respect, especially for others and in many cases even for ourselves. Violence is everywhere, people are rude and disrespectful, our politicians spend more time calling each other names than they do actually working for us. It’s a mess.
How do we show respect for others? The first step is to be there for them – in the story that we know as the good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37 Jesus is answering one of his disciples who asked, who is my neighbor. “Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”” Doing something for someone we do not know is a great way to show respect for them.
Another step we can take is to think of others before ourself Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” As I said, let’s give folks respect, in Romans 12:10 we find “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”
So how do we gain the respect of others? Living a life that folks can see that we behave in a Godly manner, we find in Romans 2:10, “but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The words are people who do good, not people who lecture others on how to behave, there’s an old adage, actions speak louder than words.
We find that reinforced in Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Why is it so hard for us to simply be nice to one another? Social media has made it easier and easier for us to be snarky, to call others name, and to show no respect for others, so it stands to reason that we won’t be given respect.
Remember Luke 14:11 – if your nose is in the air you might drown when it rains. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In this day and age of 24 hour a day news coverage, where politicians are yelling at each other and threatening violence on each other, it is easy for individuals to get wrapped up in the animosity that surrounds us. It’s time to start treating people with respect and acting in a manner that makes others respect us.
It all starts in the home, parents need to teach their children how to behave, how to disagree with another person without resorting to violence. We can change society if we only take the time to understand that Jesus calls on us to love one another.