I want to share with you today a shorter version of the study I have prepared for the Men’s Bible Class in church tonight. The topic is “respect.” If someone were to ask you “who or what is worthy of our respect?”, after some consideration you would conclude “anything or anyone who has power and authority.” Just in weather alone, water, heat, and cold are three things many have come to respect by personal experience. Some who didn’t respect these powerful weather elements paid a heavy, sometimes fatal, price.
Respect must be shown at work, play, and in church, although it really begins at home. Because we are human, it is easy for us to get careless and not give people or things the respect they deserve. We mistakenly tend to think that it does not apply to our spouse, family, or children, but it does. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote this: “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Tim. 5:1-2) These two verses speak of respect. Whether a man or a woman, no adult appreciates being treated like a child. That is not only disrespectful, it is demeaning. And how often have we seen older parents being scolded in public by their own children? In Moses’ time, God set forth this command: “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32)
What are the consequences when we don’t show others the respect they deserve? Here’s one: In his letter to Timothy, Paul also added: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:8) Primarily, the verse refers to financial support, but “respect” is also something that needs to be provided to our family and loved ones. God says that those who fail to provide are “worse” than unbelievers. Here’s something else that can happen: Apart from God’s grace, people who have been offended by being disrespected in one way or another, are often impossible to win back. Even in those relationships that are restored, things may never be the same again. For the love of God, and for your own benefit as well, make every effort you can to not disrespect anyone, especially those in your own family.
God’s word for today: (Romans 13:7) “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”