I Was Just Thinking About – RESPECT.
Our culture, society and body politic seems to have lost its way when it comes to RESPECT. Some want to be shown RESPECT because they are a minority group; or a person of color; or an immigrant; or a veteran; or a homeless person; etc. There used to be a climate for learning that if a person wanted to gain respect, he should be a person who is respectful. That’s how we were reared. After receiving my graduate degrees, it seemed strange when some of my former professors allowed that I did not need to address them by their earned degree – but – by their first name. I may be a plastic-type person. I could never get myself to feel comfortable in shifting from the formal to the informal.
I have always felt uncomfortable when church-type people would speak of God as “the man upstairs”. I have always felt uncomfortable when people have taken the liberty of referring to the servant of the Lord in their midst – the Pastor – is called or referred to as “Preacher” or some other expression. Why the discomfort? Pastor refers to the one who is shepherding and caring for the needs and best interests of the members and those within the sphere of his ministry. Obviously – “preacher” – limits their impression to the one primary task he faithfully performs. The man is more than one who merely gives a sermon. He is a person who diligently watches over the flock and earnestly cares for them.
Yesterday, Peggy Noonan posted a column: “America Needs To Rediscover Tact.” Her long article includes this interesting paragraph, “Members of Congress often go to detention centers and make it worse. They summon complaints, say people drink from the toilet, call it a concentration camp. All the border police are just good Germans following orders. The illegal aliens are victims, the guards Nazis. That goes over badly in America, which has a heart but doesn’t like being manipulated and is weary of being bullied.” It seems that we need more than tact. We desperately need integrity. More importantly, we need the return of RESPECT.
How then are the people of God to function in a deteriorating culture that is marked by its increasing disrespect? In a difficult political day, Paul wrote (Romans 13:1-2), “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” In a day of persecution, Peter wrote (First Peter 2:16-17), despite the oppression you may be experiencing, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
IF ONLY, our country and the culture of our day would implement these words of Paul and Peter.
IF ONLY, we had churches where the Spirit of God had infiltrated the lives of the people so they would (Ephesians 4:31-32), ”Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
IF ONLY, you would model what Biblical RESPECT is and means.
Prayerfully – Consider these things with me.