Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Building Respect

Building Respect
Respect includes honor, consideration, caring, concern, recognition, courtesy, attention, and regard. For God, respect is worship - a 24/7 life giving in sacrifice to Him. For Christians, respect can easily be defined as the way Jesus treated others.
While the Bible is all about respect (because it's about God), my favorite illustrations of respect include: 1) David's refusal to kill Saul in the cave because he (Saul) was "God's anointed"; 2) The Centurion in Matthew 8 who showed respect for Jesus' power and authority; 3) The Prodigal son, in Luke 15, when he was back before his father.
Some helpful things to remember about respect:
1. Respect must be valued, sought after, and recognized as foundational to all of life's important qualities. It is a Christ-like quality we must want and one we need. All other qualities rest on us choosing respect (i.e. Christian Graces, Fruit of the Spirit, etc. all require it to build on).
2. Respect begins with self-respect. We are God's masterpiece and we can't begin to love Him and others until we truly love ourselves - like He wants us to. That means don't allow others to disrespect you (just deal w/ it in a Christ-like way).
3. Respect must be consistently modeled if it is going to be successfully taught. Model a person who possesses self respect. Remember what is seen is more powerful than what is said. Always show respect to and for your children. Deal w/ disrespect immediately! If you don't expect it and require it, your children won't give it to all other authority figures (i.e. police, teachers, elders, etc.). God command them to show it, that means parents MUST model and teach it!
4. Respect for others has no exceptions! It's for all (1 Pet.2:16-17) and we must have it to please God. Remember His lesson to Peter in Acts 10 = NO PARTIALITY! Don't pass on your prejudices to your children. Grow w/ them! Respect differences in personalities, interests, and opinions. Respect individuality in each child/person. Respect individual decisions.
5. Respect is not approval! Jesus showed that with every person he met - regardless of their sins - even sexual sins. But he never approved their sins! Sin does not negate respect no matter what culture has taught us about some sins ( i.e. homosexuality). Respect, but don't approve all groups, those who are different, different beliefs, and the property of others.
Conclusion: We always think about Moses having to show respect for God at the burning bush encounter. Have you ever thought about how much respect God showed for Moses? He was reluctant, unwilling, full of excuses, whining for help, and weak! What would you have said to him? God answered and dealt with every concern. Have you ever thought about how much God respects you? Especially when you consider what we really deserve?

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