Respect is something everyone deserves. Yet right now this world feels like it’s sorely lacking in the respect department.
We’re too busy being “right” to be respectful. We’re obsessed with our own agendas and often don’t have hearts willing to listen to the other side.
But God has a lot to say about respect. He tells us to “show proper respect to everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV)
Notice this verse says, “everyone.” Not just people we like or agree with. Everyone.
Why is this so important to God?
Well, No. 1, God designed every single person on this planet with His Holy hands. He formed each one of us in His image, and He placed goodness inside all of us because He lives in each one of us. We continually make bad decisions and we rarely live up to our potential, but no matter what, we are still valuable and loved by God, our Father. ALWAYS!
I love to use a line from the movie “The Shack” to remind myself of this when I start getting frustrated with people or feel my spirit moving into that judgmental zone. The person who plays God in the movie often says, “I’m especially fond of them.” It’s a wonderful little saying that reminds me that God loves the people around me who have hurt me or are making bad decisions and messing up. It helps bring me back to the truth, that God cares for people who annoy me just as much as He cares for me.
I also have to remember that Jesus died for EVERYONE! Not just the righteous. Not just the ones doing Bible studies and attending church. Not just the ones who are out there doing good things. Jesus died for every single person walking this earth, today, yesterday and tomorrow. That’s hard for me to grasp, but it’s what His Word says is true.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
It’s also true that when we show respect to others, it lets people know where our hearts are at. I think of the old song, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” When I sit and judge and show disrespect to others, I’m definitely not modeling the life of faith Christ calls us to. Jesus’ example of perfect love demands that we treat others with respect…no matter what.
There’s also a really cool thing that happens when you show respect…you get right back what you are giving. In the song about Respect that we wrote for our Choose Love school project, there’s a line that I love that says:
Respect is our gift
We get what we give
That is the place where I want to live
The beautiful truth is, the more respect we give to others, the more we will receive in return. It’s truly a win-win.
To be honest, I have to work on this. I can tend to be judgmental. I can tend to put people in boxes based on their behavior. I can lean toward irritation rather than understanding.
But with God’s help, I can make different choices. I can learn to remember that respect and love are what God is calling me to.
And hopefully, with God’s help, I will “Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.” Romans 10:8 (TPT)
I challenge you to join me in this effort. Let’s try to outdo each other. No matter what, let’s show respect!
Hugs and love,