What is respect, and is it easy to do?
Let’s look at what the Bible says about respect!
Backstory information: Israel begged for a king, so God gave them King Saul. The situation was not great, so God appointed David-a shepherd boy, as the new heir. Saul was David’s keeper, but He became jealous of David and sought to kill him. Because of this, David had to stay on the move, but one day Saul entered the cave where David was hiding. David had the perfect chance to kill Saul and become king. However, David decided not to, even though his friend urged him to do so. So, why did David choose not to kill Saul?
We’ll find out in 1st Samuel 24:8-10!
“David came out (of a cave) and shouted after (Saul), “My lord the king!” When Saul looked around, David bowed low before him. Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ”I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’sLord’s anointed one.”
Saul tried to murder David and did not earn his respect. Yet, David responded respectfully by bowing before him and not harming him because he was, as David said, “the Lord’s anointed one.” This does not sound like an easy decision, but because David made this decision, he respected not only Saul but also God. David recognized that it was up to God to decide when Saul would be removed. Now that is a bold move!
Everyone makes mistakes, and even though we know this, we only sometimes respond to others’ mistakes as we are called. However, should we still respect authority figures who make mistakes? Yes. Even though it is difficult, we are called to respect, just like David. God has authority over everyone, so He chooses when to remove and place people where he wants them. When we do not take matters into our own hands, we honor God by trusting in Him and His power. David understood that respect is not earned but required! Jesus sure has a way of humbling people, huh? Following Jesus requires faith and humility, trusting He will always provide and defend us in His timing.
God clearly says in His word that we are to respect everyone. So, how do we respect…
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (Jesus time)
1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV “For you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” (Take care of yourself, loving yourself as God’s unique creation)
Philippians 2:3 ESV “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Put others before yourself. (AKA Treat others the way you want to be treated) Loving, kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, encouraging, Etc.
Gratitude, thanksgiving, and Fearing the Lord, also known as obedience, keep us from sin and motivate us to share Jesus, being kind to His creation’screation’s animals, people, Etc. (Psalm 111:10), (Exodus 20:20), (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Final Thought: None of us are perfect. So, what if we respect each other simply because we were all created by God and made in His image? When we respect each other, we honor God. It is not easy, but it is essential!
Reflection Challenge: (This is an opportunity to learn Jesus better and gauge a more Jesus-like perspective in our lives. (Feel free to close your eyes or write in your journal for this reflection) Take a minute to think about whom you can respect better and how you can do that! Think about any situations in which you felt you were not respected, bring this situation to God’s attention, and ask Him for guidance. What would Jesus do?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the people you have placed in my life! Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Please teach me how to show respect to others, even those with whom I disagree. Help me to respond with respect like David, knowing that when I respect others, I respect YOU. Forgive me for the times I have been disrespectful. Thank you for sending YOUR Son for me and always walking with me no matter where I am. In Jesus’ name AMEN!